How to Train your Pectoral Muscles and Deltoid Muscles

Men display their muscled chests as a sign of strength and vital­ity. Strong chest muscles are primarily associated with hard work—sometimes at the gym. For women, toned chest muscles add contour to the chest, as well as underlying support for the breasts. However, the most compelling reason to develop your pecs is to have increased upper-body strength to live your life with independence and youthful energy.

Your chest muscles, located between your breasts and ribs, connect your chest to your arms. There is no actual muscle in breast tissue, but your underlying pectoral muscles will put up a good front. Corny comments aside, the reality is that after about age forty, your skin becomes more lax (particularly with sun damage), your milk ducts shrink, and your body fat increases. Building up your pectoral muscles will add support but won't restore your breasts to their formerly firm, round contours. For that, you need a well-fitting bra or a certified plastic surgeon.
Strong pectoral muscles arc desirable—tight ones that pull the shoulder blades, collarbones, and arms forward obviously arc not. Most of us engage in activities (such as working at the computer or even cooking) that cause us to hunch forward. Poor posture is also to blame. Continuously being in this posi­tion without stretching to open your chest muscles eventually results in consequences such as limited arm movement. Here is an effective stretch you can perform anytime to lengthen your chest muscles. All you need is a doorway.
Stand in the middle of an open doorway, placing one foot in front of the other. Bend your elbows at right angles and position your forearms on each side of the doorway. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your chest muscles. Hold for about fifteen seconds while you breathe normally. Relax and repeat several limes.
Broad shoulders have always been a metaphor for physical and emotional strength. Like Atlas, you may have carried the weight of the world on yours. The irony is that the ball-and-socket joints that form your shoulders are also the most unstable and prone to injury. One of the best ways to protect and support your shoulder joints is by strengthening the surrounding mus­cles—the deltoids and the rotator cuffs.
Your shoulder muscles, or deltoids, form a triangle of three "heads" (front, middle, and rear), which are the most movable joints in your body. They can be used together or separately to move your arms. Your rotator cuffs, which arc made up of four muscles and their tendons, stabilize your shoulders and assist in rotation and overhead movements. Athletes who play sports that use overhead motions (such as baseball, softball, swimming and tennis) benefit from their shoulders' wide range of motion but are plagued by overuse injuries that damage and inflame the muscles and tendons. And you don't have to be an athlete to be vulnerable. Any repetitive movement, such as house painting or window cleaning, can cause rotator cuff fatigue—the best excuse yet for not doing windows.
Toned, nicely rounded shoulders enhance your body's sym­metry by being in better balance with your hips. However, the most important reason to develop your deltoid muscles is for the added strength needed to perform everyday tasks, such as car­rying a tray if you're a waiter or stowing your carry-on luggage in the plane's overhead compartment when you travel.
It is very important that you maintain all the parts of your shoulders in good working order. Exercising with weights keeps your shoulders strong, and stretching aids in flexibility. A youthful body exudes fluid, flexible movements and toned muscles. Does age rob you of strength and grace? The answer is a resounding no! Your participation in the Body Electric weight- resistance exercises that follow will make all the difference.
Well-conditioned back muscles and ligaments provide sup­port for your spine. Your ligaments hold your bones together, allowing you to perform movements such as bending and twist­ing within a safe range of motion. Your muscles, like your liga­ments, can stretch, plus they have the added ability to contract to coordinate the movement of your bones. And if you need yet another reason to exercise your back muscles, the experts’ study confirms that stronger back muscles reduce spinal frac­tures in postmenopausal women.

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