Do you have trouble winning in the post? Are you get dominated by opponents down there? Well, a solution would be to strengthen your shoulders.
In Dwight Howard’s sophomore season, his game immensely benefited from an increase in upper-body strength.
Though he wasn’t small and frail, he did need more heft to prevent getting bullied down low by the stronger and more experienced centers and power forwards.
So, he started weight training in the off-season.
Via NBA Fit:
“First year, that’s when everybody knew I was young. I took that time to get accustomed to playing against the bigger bodies. And after that, I was like I’m not going to get pushed around no more. I started lifting, started trying to get big.”
He entered the 2005-06 season with roughly an additional 20 pounds. His chest and back were bigger and his shoulders were massive.
Howard started playing more center this season (because of the physical gains) and his numbers didn’t falter.
He actually averaged more rebounds and points than his rookie year.
In his third NBA season, he became the Orlando Magic’s full-time center, which suited his skillset better.
Howard dominated the post and was a force to be reckoned with. He protected the paint on defence and dunked on everyone on offence.
He continued to improve his skills and his strength this season, which led him to become an NBA All-Star for the first time. He also made his first playoff appearance.
Howard continued to blossom and just received more and more accolades as his career went on (Defensive Player of the Year, rebound leader, and blocks leader).
However, none of this would’ve been possible for him if he hadn’t strengthened himself, specifically his shoulders.
Benefits of Strong Shoulders
“Hold up! Why ‘specifically his shoulders’?” you may be wondering.
Well, because if he didn’t broaden his shoulders, he wouldn’t look as intimidating as he does.
Remember that one rumour claiming that LeBron James was scared of driving on him during the 2009 playoffs?
Okay, clearly I’m joking (about the looking intimidating thing). But there are many real benefits of having strong shoulders that Howard benefitted from (and that you can too).
It can help you with winning position battles when you fight for rebounds. It can help you get through screens. And stronger shoulders can help you finish in congested lanes.
“I remember when I used to be really skinny,” Dwight says. “And because of that, I’ve always wanted to have nice arms with big triceps and big biceps. I want to continue to make my chest real big and get my abs nice. This helps me as a basketball player, too; because when I’m like this and in tip-top shape, it helps me avoid injuries. I plan on spending a lot of time in the weight room lifting, so I can play for a very long time.”
Additionally, stronger shoulders don’t just benefit you on the court -it also serves you off-court.
In your everyday life, healthy shoulders can prevent a lot of negative things.
It improves your posture and arm strength, which aids you when you lift heavy objects. It also protects your neck, which can prevent neck pain, injuries, and concussions (which is also useful for basketball).
How You Can Get Stronger Shoulders like Dwight Howard
Now that you’ve read the benefits of healthy shoulders and have decided to work on it, here are some exercises you can do:
Equipment Needed For Exercises (Affiliate Links)
For each exercise, do 3 sets of 10 reps once or twice a week:
- Front Raise
- Lateral Raise
- Overhead Press
- Back Rows
For each of the movements, I suggest you use a weight that is not heavy, but also not too light.
The goal is to be able to lift it for a lot of reps so that you build muscle stamina. You want your upper body to burn after your last set.
I also recommend you use a resistance band instead of free weights to do these exercises because it will allow you to increase your range of motion while decreasing the chances of injury.
You can read the reasoning here.
They’re also portable and you can get a set of various weights (or resistance) for pretty cheap.
And in addition to strengthening your upper body, conditioning your lower body will aid you in becoming dominant in the post.
You’ll be able to fight for position and hold it.
Thus, you should also add sprinting to your workout. You can click here to learn how to do it.
Dwight Howard was a force to be reckoned with in his prime (actually, he’s still pretty scary now).
He was strong, explosive, and skilled. And one of the reasons why was because of his strong upper body.
So, if you want to improve your post presence, while also improving your daily life, start developing your shoulders.