How to Do Barbell Shoulder Raise Properly

The barbell shoulder raise exercise is tailored to work your shoulders as the name suggests. However, a well-done shoulder raise has a trickle-down effect on surrounding areas i.e., the core and back.

The barbell raise is a high impact exercise best done in short bursts of effective reps. As such you can incorporate it into your HIIT (High-intensity interval training) workout routine.

This means you get to the most intensive variation of the exercise for short periods of time at a specific interval.

The barbell raise is also used in bodybuilding and conditioning exercises.

WHAT TO DO:

To do the exercise:

  • Place the barbell on a power rack so it is in front of your shoulders. You should be able to take the bar off of the rack without standing on your tip-toes or bending down too low.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hips and knees fully extended, but don’t lock the knees.
  • Hold the barbell that should be resting in front of your shoulders with your elbows pointing forward and hands shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  • Tighten your core, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and press the barbell overhead as you exhale.
  • Continue to raise the barbell until your arms are locked out. This movement should feel like you are pressing your head through the “window” made by your arms.
  • Engage your back muscles and, with control, return the barbell to the front-rack position while inhaling.

Repeat these steps to do more reps or place the bar back on the power rack to end this exercise.

WHAT MUSCLES DO THE BARBELL SHOULDER RAISE WORK?

SHOULDERS

The starting position of the barbell shoulder raise makes it so that the shoulders are engaged.

Although the barbell could’ve been placed at a lower point, its position ensures that the shoulders work their hardest.

This is because the distance between the barbell and shoulders ensure that they are the first point of engagement. They also carry on getting worked throughout each intense move.

This is particularly the case for the medial and anterior parts of the deltoids. The anterior part is used in making shoulder movements at the joint.

On the other hand, the medial part caters to the movements made away from the central body line.

UPPER TRAPS

The upper trapezius muscle is primarily what enables some of the complex movements seen while doing the barbell shoulder raise.

This is because you use this muscle to twist your arms and steady your shoulders. Upper traps are most useful when lifting, distributing weight and putting down the barbell as you do the exercise.

CHEST (UPPER PECS)

The chest and shoulders are intermittently linked to one another by virtue of proximity and role.

When the medial and anterior parts of the shoulder are engaged chances are that the chest specifically the upper pecs are not too far along.

The upper pecs provide the thrusting power whilst the shoulders provide the support to actualize the potential energy into movement.

CORE

You have to engage the core when lifting the barbell from such a high starting position

This is because the core acts as the upper body base. Failure to engage the core can lead to injuries and inability to do the exercise

Look at it this way, to stand you need legs, to sit you need a seat. All these things have one thing in common with the core – they are a base

Therefore, without engaging the core you lack the support and power to perform the necessary movements.

It also hinders your ability to produce the necessary power to effectively do the exercise. That said when you actually do properly engage the core it leads to a stronger core.

A strong core leads to improved bodily strength.

BARBELL SHOULDER RAISE BENEFITS

ITS ACCOMODATING

In spite of the intensity, it can be tailored to suit everyone regardless of their fitness levels. This is especially so for female participants

It is widely believed that doing this exercise massively improves the trunk and spinal movement of the women who do this exercise.

IMPROVES YOUR ABILITY TO DO DAY TO DAY ACTIVITIES

The constant repetition of certain movements leaves a lasting impression on the target areas. This means better balance, increased strength, flexibility etc.

As such, this translates into your day-to-day life i.e., it makes it easier to carry heavy things overhead.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE BARBELL SHOULDER RAISE

DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS

To do this exercise, first choose suitable weights:

  • Hold the dumbbells by your shoulders with your palms facing forwards and your elbows out to the sides and bent at a 90° angle.
  • Without leaning back, extend through your elbows to press the weights above your head.
  • Then slowly return to the starting position.

DECLINE DUMBBELL FLYE

To do this exercise:

  • Lie down on a decline bench and secure your legs at the end. Grasp a dumbbell with each hand. The palms of your hand should be facing each other.
  • Move the dumbbells in front of you, shoulder width apart. The palms of your hands should be facing each other and your arms should be perpendicular to the floor and fully extended. This is the starting position.
  • Bend your elbows slightly and lower your arms at both sides in a wide arc until your feel the stretch in your chest. Inhale as you do so.
  • Move your arms back to the starting position and squeeze your chest muscles and breathe out.
  • Hold for a second and repeat the movement for the desired number of reps.

KNEELING UNDERHAND-GRIP LAT PULLDOWN

To do this exercise:

  • Position yourself on your knees in front of an adjustable cable machine with a lat pulldown bar positioned at the high setting.
  • Grab the bar with a close grip, your palms facing your body and your arms fully extended.
  • Without moving your torso, pull the bar down until it touches your chest.
  • Pause, then slowly return bar to the starting position.

BARBELL SHOULDER RAISE MISTAKES TO AVOID

LACK OF CORE ENGAGEMENT

As mentioned above, engaging your core is an absolutely critical part of doing the barbell shoulder raise.

Lack of core engagement leads to ineffectiveness of the exercise and can cause lower back injuries

INCOMPLETE LIFTS

When lifting the barbell, you’re supposed to extensively stretch your arms outwards. Failure to do this, waters down the full strain you should be experiencing thus leading to ineffectiveness

CONCLUSION

The barbell shoulder raise is a thoroughly engaging and intense exercise that caters to detail. That said, these results can only be experienced when proper form is observed.

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