The more you do resistance training the more you learn that muscle groups are exactly that–groups of muscles combining to anchor and support an area of your body. Your shoulders, for example, have several different muscles, tendons and ligaments supporting three bones–the shoulder blade, collarbone and upper arm bone.
Ideally, your shoulder regimen should work each of those muscles. However, must of us focus on the traps (extending from the middle of the back to the top of the shoulders) and deltoids (at the rounded portion of the shoulder). And in so doing we usually only work the muscles in two dimensions, i.e. lifting weights straight up and down (shoulder press, or shoulder raise, for instance) or directly to the side (lateral raises).
Next time you train your shoulders, think about the muscle as multi-dimensional and try to work it at various angles to work the full range of the muscle.
For instance, when doing shoulder raises, you typically lift the weights (dumbbells or kettlebells) straight in front of you or out to the side.
Think about the area in between those two moves, and alternate by bringing the weight upward at a 45-degree angle to your body (essentially splitting the difference between your two primary angles: two the front and side.
You may even get finer and work your way “halfway around the world” with the move by lifting the weight straight ahead then down, the slightly more open on the next lift, moving wider with each lift until your arms are straight out at your sides.
There are myriad great shoulder exercises you should utilize. But using this “wing” strategy will not only strengthen and shape your shoulders but will work the entire muscle, offering a more solid foundation – and even better looking shoulders!