If you want lovely looking arms we need to start at the top and work down. Therefore it is vital to concentrate on the shoulders.

With halter neck tops and sleeveless dresses heading back into season in a few months, now is a great time to tune those shoulders and get that great looking upper body shape for the Spring and Summer seasons!

Over all my years as a fitness professional, competing the international fitness events and training as a ballet dancer, I’ve observed shoulders that grow the moment they are appropriately targeted whilst others can be slow to respond under event the most scientific training programmes.


However results can be achieved!

You might not want the wide powerful shoulders of an Olympic butterfly swimmer, more likely you are after lean, athletic and feminine looking.

Plenty of girls have developed shoulders but it is the shape of the cap and the balance between the three muscles that show your shoulder assets to their best advantage. A great set of shoulders will make a waist line look smaller, hips slighter and above all, enhance the overall shape of the arm.

Due to everyday activities, the front part of the shoulder – the anterior deltoid – is employed constantly; closing doors, pushing things, scooping things up. In fact every time the chest muscle gets a workout, so does the front of the shoulder.

Whereas the middle and rear part rarely gets a look in. Unless you go around closing heavy doors with your back to them it is quite likely the rear deltoid doesn’t even know its potential.

Obviously cutting down on anything that involves the front of the shoulder is impractical and nor should you. But what we need to do is get all three parts working evenly as much as possible and improved postural alignment will follow.

But as far as weights go, don’t expect any evenness here. You will soon discover the rear deltoid has the strength of a kitten in comparison to every other muscle in your body. But all the more reason to make sure it gets its quota of resistance training!

How would you know if the shoulder didn’t have perfect symmetry? Stand sideways on to a mirror and take a look. Does that shoulder seem to be heavily weighted forwards? Can you see a cap shape or is there a void to the rear of the shoulder?

Now look front on, how developed, toned or obvious is the medial / middle deltoid?

Bringing a little volume to this part of the shoulder will change the illusion of the whole body shape, it’s a big claim but a true one! It will also create separation, more of a lean look rather than bulky and rounded.

So how would you get on with the rebalancing act? These few tips may help you.

Start with rear deltoids:

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Find a light set of dumbbells, 2kg in each hand is ample. As if in a squat position, bend forward from the hips, keep the back super straight and long and raise the arms upwards and slightly forwards, as if to the corners of the room in a wide V shape.

Lower them back down to knee level and repeat.

Keep the arms soft and slightly bent. Make sure the whole of the body is fixed and motionless other than the arms. It is very tempting to give a little upper body sway to help yourself out here, but don’t!

Make it a pure movement to really recruit the rear delts alone. Keep repeating until fatigue. It won’t be long. Go for 2 / 3 sets, three times a week to get going.

Also check this dumbbells upper body workout

Next hit the middle deltoid.

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This is usually involved in the shoulder press action but for fine shape, it needs work alone. Side raises are best for this but take note of these tips to make them worthwhile.

Choose weight you can work well with for 12 repetitions or thereabouts. Start with a slightly monkey stance with the arms low in front of the pelvis and rounded at the elbows.

Raise them upwards to be parallel to the floor as with a standard raise, it is important to keep the palms facing downwards to emphasise the medial deltoid’s action.

Raise up and down about 8 times then hold them out to the side,making a little movement lowering and raising them slightly, no more than a 4 cm action for about 6 times, bring them back to start and repeat the larger raises again until fatigue. Repeat this for 2 / 3 sets.

Finish with the Shoulder Press.

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By now the smaller muscles will be weak and we can finish them off with the press.

However, ditch the seated or standing press and opt for a kneeling press. Sitting up on the knees holding the weights, position the elbows level to the shoulders, out to the side very squarely at 90 degrees with the weights upwards and palms facing forward.

Press the weights up above your head until they meet in as if making a pyramid shape. The kneeling will make sure you can’t cheat and use to momentum to push those weights. You may also find that slightly weaker spots like the mid section or lower back will have to work during this exercise.

Try that for 2 or 3 sets with 10 to 15 reps. Just as you think it is all over and your shoulders are drawing hard on the circulatory system, pick up a medicine ball or Powerbag – around 3 to 5kg will feel fine. Sitting on a bench or in that same kneeling position throw the bag or ball upwards with power!

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Throw and catch until the shoulders surrender.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans