Build Strong, Stable Shoulders with Help from Sheppard Method Pilates

Building your shoulder muscles can help with range of motion, movement, posture, and creating a gorgeous shoulder silhouette. Pilates is a great choice for sculpting long, lean muscles, in class on the Reformer and on the mat.

Most Pilates moves target multiple muscle groups at once, but some exercises are targeted directly at the shoulders. Stabilizing the muscles in the shoulders is crucial to the health of the rotator cuff while supporting muscles like the pecs and lats help the shoulder overall.

At Sheppard Method Pilates we are happy to help you discover Pilates moves for all your muscle-sculpting goals. Call the Westwood Pilates instructors at Sheppard Method Pilates to schedule your Pilates class!

Mat Pilates Moves that Build Shoulders

  1. Shoulder Bridge: This move starts with lying down on your back, with feet planted on the floor and knees bent. Press the palms, arms, and shoulder blades into the mat and lift the hips off the floor into a bridge. Pressing the arms down engages the triceps, rear deltoids, and latissimus dorsi (the back of the arms and shoulders, all the way through the mid-back.) You can lift a single leg while keeping the shoulders equally engaged to add variation and challenge yourself, making sure to do each side.
  2. One Leg Kick: Starting at tabletop, or kneeling plank position, place forearms on the floor. The shoulders, hips, and knees should align in a straight, slightly diagonal line. Use the arms and shoulders to support the body, then bend and pulse one knee. Keep the shoulder blades wide and collar bones pressed back and down, this strengthens the shoulder girdle.
  3. Breaststroke: Lay face down with legs extended and arms reaching out past the ears. Lift the chest and sweep the arms down the body into the thighs, palms facing in. Reach the fingertips down and back, toward the toes, engage the underarms, and lift the chest higher. This move strengthens the delts, rotator cuff, and entire posterior of the body.
  4. Leg Pull: Sit on the mat with legs straight and together, hands on the floor, with fingertips facing forward. Lift your seat and thighs off the mat, pressing your hips into a reverse or upward-facing plank. Hold the knees together and straight and press through the shoulders evenly to strengthen the shoulders, back, and core.
  5. Pilates Push Ups: From a standing position, roll down to a forward fold and walk the hands forward on the mat into a plank. Stay in a full plank (or plant the knees for a modified plank). Bend the elbows and slightly lower the chest, pausing for a breath, then lower the same way two more times until the body is at the lowest pushup point. Push back to the plank in one smooth movement. This move builds the pecs and scapular stabilizers along with the stabilizing muscles in the entire shoulder.

Try Pilates in Westwood at Sheppard Method Pilates

When you are ready to elevate your strength exercises, try Pilates at Sheppard Method Pilates in Westwood. Our expert Pilates instructors can help you determine if you want to take a Reformer class, a mat Pilates class, one-on-one, or group classes. We are happy to discuss your strength and fitness goals and find the moves that work for you.

Call the Westwood Pilates team at Sheppard Method Pilates and schedule your class today!