This article was originally published on May 22, 2017.
Summer’s just around the corner and there’s no better way to show off those cute tanks than with sexy, defined shoulders. The shoulders are made up of a lot of different muscle groups, but the deltoid, the triangular muscle at the top of our shoulders, is what gives us that toned, shapely shoulder look. You can easily work on your shoulder muscles at home with no equipment or weights using your own body weight. Get ready to bare those defined shoulders with these 4 exercises.
1. Elbow Raises– There are two parts to this basic exercise. For the first part, squeeze your elbows together in front of your chest. The palms of your hands will be pressed together. Keeping your elbows glued together, lift the elbows up without letting your shoulders raise and then lower them back down. Do this 25 times at a fast pace. For the second part, open your elbows out to the sides with your arms still bent. Lift your arms up so that one hand crosses in front of the other above your head. Use your shoulder muscles to resist your elbows back down and then repeat the move, alternating crossing each hand in front. Do a set of 25 at a fast pace.
2. Pike Press– A great way to prep for handstand pushups, the ultimate shoulder strengthening move, without having to press all your body weight. Stand with your legs apart slightly wider than your shoulders. Bend over with your legs straight, placing your hands flat on the ground in front of you wider than shoulder width apart. Walk your hands out so that your back is flat, similar to a downward dog. Keep your neck in line with your spine and your head centered between your hands. Bend your elbows, allowing your body to drop straight down and your heels to lift off. Press up, straightening your arms and letting the heels drop back down. This is one rep. Do 2 sets of 15.
3. Bear Crawl– Strengthen your core along with your shoulders in this exercise. Get onto all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Pull your shoulder blades down and keep your abs pulled in as you lift your knees off the ground. The lower your knees are to the ground, the more challenging on your core. Alternate bringing one arm and the opposite foot forward to crawl forward 4 times and then back 4 times. This is one set. Do 5 sets.
4. Leg Pull Combo– This traditional Pilates move has two parts. First get into a plank position on your hands. Keeping your core tight and legs together, point and flex the feet to rock your entire plank forward and back 5 times. Once you have returned to the original position, lift one leg up, perform three pushups and then switch legs. Do this combo 3 times.
Build your sexy, defined summer shoulders by doing this workout 3-4 times a week!
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Video: Crystal Chin