Strong Shoulders, Strong Body
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Strong Shoulders, Strong Body

Summer and tank top season will soon be upon us. So will weddings. This means a lot of shoulders will be seen. Does that make you cringe? If so, you might be considering exercises to make your shoulders look nice. What if I told you that you can have better than nice? There is far more to consider than simply being physically attractive.

Allow me to share a story about two men from my previous work. Both very functionally fit, who came to help rearrange furniture for me when my first husband was bed ridden from cancer. I told them I needed some heavy furniture swapped from upstairs to downstairs. It took strong everything to do it! Their functional fitness served a greater good beyond themselves.They helped my husband who had to live downstairs and be as comfortable as possible in his last days. These two men also had the attention of a lot of pretty women anywhere they went.

Basic Backbone Thought

Here at Totally Fit 4 Life we believe that a healthy body is an attractive body. Even better, we believe in the message of Ephesians 2:10 NIV, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." All that we do, including our health and fitness is for the Lord and His good purposes. If God called you to scale tall rock surfaces to take medicine to a village in South Africa, could you do it? You would need strong shoulders and a strong body. What if you had to carry injured people to medics in a disaster situation, could you do it? It takes strong shoulders, and a very strong back. How about physically helping to build houses for Habitat for Humanity? It takes a lot of strength and endurance. So when you see people like athletes, construction workers, and soldiers in the military, you see strong shoulders, but you also see strong bodies. Strong bodies are attractive bodies.  Think beyond yourself. Think functionally fit to fulfill anything God brings your way. You can merge the two.They naturally occur together.

Think Functional

Being functionally fit serves many purposes:

  1. You would be able to do a lot more for God and others.
  2. You would protect your body from possible damage.
  3. You would look very strong.

Strong shoulders don't come easy. They needs good support for a complex muscle structure which is why I am pointing you to functional fitness rather than just lifting weights. The shoulder joint is capable of abduction, adduction, flexion, extension, circumduction, internal and external rotation, and combinations of those movements. They have layers of muscle that support movement and lift of heavy objects. But the back and core also support the work of the shoulders. So do the muscles of the arms and chest. If they aren't built up in a synergistic method, it would be easy to injure your back, legs, arms, and fine muscles of the shoulders like the rotator cuff muscles. They don't work alone.

Structure Serves Function

If you look at the structure of the shoulders, you will find a host of muscles besides the trapezius, deltoids, and rhomboids. There are so many, it would take a lot of space just to list them, so here is a diagram from eHealth Star.  If you look at the rib cage, there are no labels. The tiny muscles of the rib cage, the internal and external intercostals, are instrumental in supporting shoulder movement. The muscles of the core, from last week, also support the movement and load of the shoulders. Interestingly, they show part of the triceps, but the biceps are important as well. I'm glad to see the muscles of the shoulders where they connect into the back of the neck and head. These are easily injured with overhead movement and load. Then consider the muscles of the chest on the other side of the shoulders which are the opposing muscle group, which are often overworked. This is why you should train them functionally.

Functional exercises for the shoulders include:
  • Chin-ups (even the assisted)
  • Bear and marine crawls
  • Duffle bag carry
  • Duffle bag clean and press
  • TRX row
  • TRX Y-flies
  • Front plank to side plank
  • Side plank reverse fly
  • Rock climbing
  • All swim strokes
  • Kettlebell work (specifically clean and press, circles around head)
  • Tire tosses
  • Sledge hammer on the tire
  • Tractor tire flips
  • Woodchoppers
  • Battle ropes

and many, many more.

Shoulder work when done in combination with other muscle groups brings greater strength to your entire body. You can do more physically while looking better with bared shoulders. Best of all, they will be of greater service to God, others, and you.

May God bless you!

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