Shoulder anatomy and the best exercise you aren’t doing

The shoulder, or Deltoid, is a complex muscle group that surrounds the shoulder joint. Many people train their shoulders incorrectly and suffer from shoulder injuries. We take a look at the shoulder, the muscles that comprise it, and the one exercise you need to be doing right now.

The shoulder is ball-and-socket joint, meaning it is highly mobile and capable of moving in a huge range of motion.

The muscles of the shoulder

The Rotator Cuff muscles 

These are four small muscles deep inside:

  • Supraspinatus
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres Minor
  • Subscapularis

These are primarily used to secure the joint, and to stabilise and rotate the shoulder.

The Deltoid muscles

These are three bigger muscles on the outside:

These are primarily used to elevate, abduct and flex.


Many exercises we do focus on the anterior, or front, muscles. For example: throwing, punching, bench pressing, are all frontal movements. For this reason many people suffer from shoulder injuries due to muscular imbalances and internal impingements as they overtrain their anterior muscles.

X-Raises are one of the best exercises to target all the muscles of the shoulder that you need to focus on.

Demonstrated here by top London PT Lewis Paris Fitness

Start Position:

Finish Position:

Loop the Dynamic Bands under each foot and grab the end of the opposite side with thumbs facing down. Now simply raise the bands to each side, rotating the hands till your palms face forwards. The initial part of the movement targets the Rear Delts, with the external rotation targeting the Side Delts.

The combination of raise, external rotation and scapula retraction means all the posterior muscles are focused on. Helping to blast the shoulders to reduce imbalance and increase stability. As the Dynamic Bands provide the most resistance at full extension, this maximises the focus on shoulder retraction. This helps to pull those hunched shoulders back and improve shoulder health.


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