Yes, you want strong, powerful, boulder-like shoulders. But your shoulders need more than mere strength. They need stability and balance, too.
Shoulder stability and shoulder strength work in tandem. Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, and without proper stability, you won't be able to showcase your strength and power (and you just may battle bouts of shoulder pain and soreness too). Rotator cuff tendons and midback muscles play key roles in that stability, and they need to be tested and trained. And you'll get to attack those, while getting a little extra core work too, with the half-kneeling press to windmill from Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
"This is a mainstay move in my shoulder training routine," says Samuel. "Sometimes I'll do this instead of doing any traditional shoulder presses at all."
The half-kneeling press to windmill starts like a single-arm shoulder press from a half-kneeling stance. But after pressing up (and challenging classic shoulder overhead pressing strength), you build shoulder stability, shifting your torso position while still holding your kettlebell or dumbbell directly overhead.
This challenges your core while also building time-under-tension for your shoulder muscles. And your smaller shoulder stabilizing muscles must continually fire to hold the bell overhead regardless of situation.
It's a shoulder workout in multiple ways, and, perhaps best of all, it gets it done without pushing you to use massive weights. "I can do standard overhead presses with much heavier loads," says Samuel, "but here I generally use half the weight but still get plenty of shoulder burn and quality work."
You can use either dumbbells or kettlebells for the move.
Start in a half-kneeling stance, foot set slightly wide, glutes squeezed and core tight, dumbbell or kettlebell held at your shoulder.
Tighten your core and press the weight overhead.
Keeping your core tight, hinge forward, lowering your free elbow to the ground. Keep watching the kettlebell as you do so; your chest will open to one side as you do this.
Explosively press back up, lower the bell to your shoulder, then repeat.
Do 5-8 reps. Do 3 sets per side.
You can use the half-kneeling press to windmill in a variety of ways. It can be the lead movement in a shoulder workout, coming ahead of smaller, more detail-focused exercises. Or it can be a movement in a full-body or upper-body circuit. "It's a perfect way to fire up your shoulders, no matter the situation," says Samuel.
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