Shoulder Press: For a toned upper body

The shoulder press, also known as the overhead press, is a weight training exercise for the upper body.

This exercise helps in gaining muscular arms and also, strengthens the core. It usually requires a dumbbell, barbell or any other form of weight.

Description

The muscles of your upper body, especially those on your back, help you do several daily activities and bear a lot of loads. Hence, irrespective of whether you are working on a weight-lifting program or not, it becomes imperative to keep your upper body muscles conditioned. One way of doing so is to do the shoulder press.

While doing the shoulder press from a standing position, several muscles are put to work including the pectorals (chest muscles), deltoids (shoulder muscles), triceps (arms), trapezius (upper back). Besides these muscles, as standing upright requires balance, the abdominal and lower back muscles are also recruited.

Categorization of the exercise

The shoulder press falls under the weight training exercise category for the upper body.

Preparation for the exercise

Like all other exercises involving weights, shoulder press also requires the athlete to take some safety measures to avoid injury.

According to many fitness coaches, a shoulder mobility check should be performed before doing the shoulder press. The check involves a simple process. The athlete should try to raise his hand above his head. If he can successfully align his hands with his ears, then he can safely proceed to the exercise. Otherwise, the exercise might not be safe, and it is advisable not to do the exercise.

How to do a shoulder press

Given below is a step by step guide for doing the exercise:

1. You should stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the bar with your arms slightly wider apart than shoulder-width. Then you can either heave the weight into position or simply load them on supports, raised to chin height. 

2. After the weights have been installed in their proper position, you should squeeze your shoulder blades together, push your chest out, and stabilize your core.

3. After following the above two steps, you would be in a proper posture to do the exercise. Begin pressing the bar overhead. You should tilt your head back while the bar is passing in front of your face. Once the bar has passed your face, press it up as long as your arms are not locked overhead. Make it a point to tilt back the weight slightly to vertically align it with the back of your head.

Benefits of doing the shoulder press

Shoulder press, when included in the workout routine, brings a lot to the table. Some of the benefits that it offers are:

1.     Shoulder press increases the strength and size of your triceps’ muscles. You can obtain bigger and stronger arms.

2.     It increases the strength of the muscles of the upper back and conditions them.

3.     It increases the strength and size of the shoulder muscles.

4.     When formed from a standing position, the exercise also builds core strength by strengthening the obliques, transverse abdominal muscles, and spinal stabilizers.

Variations of the exercise

Push Press: Starting from a standing position, bend the knees and hips slightly to take up a position as if you are about to jump. Press the bar overhead while bouncing back to the standing position by straightening your hips and knees.

Bradford Press: The starting position is the same as that of the standard shoulder press. The only difference is that you need to lower the weight behind your head instead of lowering it in front of your head. This variation should be done with lighter weights to avoid the risk of injuries.

All you need to know about deadlift workout

Apart from eating healthy, and getting ample amount of sleep, a proper fitness regime is also necessary to stay fit and active.

You can either take up any sport, hit the gym, or join yoga classes. If you want to customize your workout routine, you should consider taking up an exercise to warm up first.

What is deadlift exercise and when was it first done?

Deadlift comes under compound exercise. Deadlift workout was found and carried out in the early 17th century. The exercise helps the spine from rounding and aids in the extension of the hip joint.

Preparation for this exercise

If you are a healthy person, you can do compound exercises at least thrice a week. Do not overstrain your muscles. Take small breaks between your workout to stabilize your breathing. Do not forget to consume liquids frequently which will help you in staying hydrated. 

Steps to follow 

If you are beginner, follow these steps properly:

1. Stand at the center of the barbell and place your feet under the gap present between bar and floor.

2. Bend and hold the bar with both your arms. Provide shoulder-width distance between your arms. 

3. Bend the knees and let your shin touch the bar. 

4. Then, gradually lift your chest and straighten the lower back.

5. Stand straight and hold the weight with you.

Take a look these tutorial videos

Benefits of this exercise

Deadlift exercise is generally done to strengthen the body muscles. It is considered to be one of the best exercises as it benefits both lower and upper body. They improve lower back, upper-middle back, hamstrings, thigh muscles, and chest. They also help in burning excess fat. 

Similar exercises 

If you are not comfortable doing deadlift or need to try other options, it is fine. Some of the exercises which are similar to a deadlift include dumbbell lift, bent over rows, Kettlebell swing, and pistol squats. 

Wall Sits: The Lower body fitness Mantra

Introduction

Wall sit is a simple exercise which can be done to tone your thighs, strengthen your legs, and lose belly fat.

This exercise can be easily done at your home as it requires nothing but a wall. It is done by many athletes around the world to strengthen their quadriceps muscles.

Description

If you are suffering from lower back pain, doing the squats might prove to be difficult for you. In this scenario, wall sits, or static squats will help you strengthen your legs, more specifically, your quadricep muscles without putting a strain on your back. Wall sit can be done by placing your back against the wall and bending your knees until they form right angles with your hips. You should hold this position as long as possible. However, people suffering from knee problems should avoid doing this exercise because the excess load on the knees could aggravate their existing injury.

Variations from existing exercises

Wall sit can be categorized under free-hand lower body exercises.

Though wall sit does not fall under the category of Yoga, there is an asana called Utkatasana, which closely resembles wall sit. The two differ in the aspect that in Utkatasana, there is no wall support involved, and the hands are raised above the head.

How to do wall sits

Wall sits does not require any prior preparation as such. It also does not require any special equipment and can be done at home.

The step-by-step guide to doing the exercise correctly is as follows:

1. You should stand with your feet at a distance of about two feet from the wall. Your feet should be shoulder’s width apart.

2. You should then lean against the wall in such a way that your back is flat against the wall. 

3. Then, slowly slide your back down the wall until your knees are in straight alignment with your ankles. At this position, your knees will be making a right angle with your hips. 

4. You should make sure that your weight is evenly distributed on both your feet as unequal weight distribution may lead to injuries. You should also make sure that your torso stays upright against the wall and your abdominal muscles are sucked in.

5. This position should be held as long as possible. With practice, the time will gradually increase, and so will your quadriceps’ strength. 

6. If the exercise is done correctly, you would feel a stinging sensation in your quadriceps muscles. However, if you feel any pain around your knees, you should immediately stop doing the exercise.

YouTube Video link:

Benefits of wall sit

Wall sits increase lower body strength, especially the strength of the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. In sports like fencing, skiing which require strong quadriceps, wall sits are regarded as a primary strengthening exercise. The exercise can also be used to measure the endurance of the lower body. Wall sits reduce belly fat and also helps you get toned legs and thighs.

Variations of wall sit

Though wall sit in its standard form has numerous benefits to the body, it can be supplemented with simultaneous exercises to add to its existing benefits. Some of these variations are:

1.     Wall sit with bicep curl: First, you should do the standard wall sit. After you have taken up the pose, raise your arms at shoulder level and stretch them so that they are parallel to the ground. Then curl your palms and contract your biceps. Repeat the contraction slowly for maximum result.

2.     Single-leg wall sits: This is an advanced form of wall sit. Instead of resting your body weight on two legs, you rest it on one leg. The other leg is raised in front of you and stretched parallel to the ground.