Shoulder Exercises and Workout

10 Best Shoulder Exercises and Workout

The shoulder is a “ball-and-socket” joint between the humerus bone of the upper arm and the scapula bone (shoulder blade). Six main movements that occur at the shoulder are flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, and external rotation.

The deltoid muscle of the shoulder consists of three separate sections or heads. The anterior deltoid (In front), lateral deltoid (at the side), and posterior deltoid (behind), and you need to work all three of them, along with the trapezius muscle in the upper back, to build an impressive shoulder.

Shoulder Exercises and Workout

There are two basic kinds of shoulder exercises—Presses and Arm Raise.

In Shoulder Presses Exercises, you begin with your arms bent, the weight about shoulder height, and lift the barbell or dumbbells straight up over your head. Because you are straightening your arms as well as lifting upward. Presses involve both the deltoids and the triceps. You can vary the stress on your shoulders, to a slight degree, to direct it toward the different deltoid heads by doing different kinds of Presses—to the front or rear, using a barbell, dumbbells, or various machines.

Shoulder raises Exercises are used to involve lifting your extended arm upward in a wide arc, which better isolates the heads. You need to do raises to the front, to the side, and to the rear. When you do raises, you do not involve the triceps. But almost completely isolate the various heads of the deltoids. However, because you are isolating the deltoids, you cannot lift as much weight as with pressing movements because you keep your arm virtually straight throughout.

These 10 Best shoulder Exercises guide covers everything you need to start sculpting a more refined and impressive shoulder.
1. Barbell Overhead Press

Shoulder Press Exercise is the best shoulder muscle mass builder exercise. Shoulder Press remains the grand-daddy of all shoulder exercises to build big, round shoulder muscles. Seated shoulder press has been the favorite shoulder exercise with bodybuilders as it builds muscle fast and is a power move. Performing the exercise while seated upright is a stricter version than standing and prevents cheating the weight upward using momentum generated by the legs.

Barbell Shoulder Press
Muscles Involved

Primary: Anterior deltoid.

Secondary: lateral deltoid, triceps, and upper pectoralis.

Execution Technique
  1. Sit on an exercise bench and grab a bar with an overhand grip.
  2. Bring the bar over and in front of your head, under your chin, and just above your upper chest.
  3. Now Press the bar straight up overhead until your arms are fully extended but not locked out.
  4. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
Tips
  • Perform a warm-up with 50% weight for 1-2 sets.
  • Always perform the Shoulder Exercises before you perform triceps.
2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Dumbbell Shoulder Press is an excellent variation to the Barbell Shoulder Press exercises. Dumbbells allow a full range of motion and also helps your shoulders move freely. This exercise helps to build muscle mass in the front and side of the deltoids. Whenever you want to add more sets to Shoulder exercises, do it with this exercise. Performing the exercise while seated upright is a stricter version than standing and prevents cheating the weight upward using momentum generated by the legs.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Muscles Involved

Primary: Anterior deltoid.

Secondary: Lateral deltoid, triceps, traps, upper pectoralis.

Execution Technique
  1. Sit at the end of a flat bench holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing forward.
  2. Lift the dumbbells overhead until they nearly touch at the top and then lower them as low as possible.
  3. Feel a good stretch at the bottom, and then continue with the next rep.
Tips
  • Exhale during effort, inhale during rest.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements
  • Go as heavy as possible.
3. Arnold Shoulder Press

Arnold Shoulder Press is an excellent Shoulder exercise for muscle building. When it comes to the best exercise with the best range of motion for Shoulder muscles, Arnold’s press stands out from the crowd. It gives a wide range of motion as you lower the dumbbells well down in front giving that maximum stretch that other shoulder exercises lack. Performing the exercise while seated upright is a stricter version than standing and prevents cheating the weight upward using momentum generated by the legs.

Arnold Press
Muscles Involved

Primary: Anterior deltoid.

Secondary: Lateral deltoid, triceps, traps.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand straight by holding a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder position with palms facing you.
  2. Now press the dumbbells overhead just like dumbbell presses but twisting them so that palms face forwards at the top of the movement.
  3. Now lower the dumbbells in a reverse movement.
Tips
  • Inhale when you lower the weight and exhale when you lift.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Keep a strict form.
  • Do not lock your arms overhead.
4. Machine Presses

Shoulder Machine Presses is an excellent exercise to build the front and the side deltoid muscles. Machine Presses has advantages over free weight presses. Machines provide better stability and safety and also offer a choice of handgrips. A neutral grip (palms facing together) targets the anterior deltoid better than a pronated grip (palms forward).  This exercise demands a very strict movement as the bar is fixed to the rack and also allows the weights to go much lower, providing a good stretch to front deltoid muscles.  

Machine Press
Muscles Involved

Primary: Anterior deltoid.

Secondary: lateral deltoid, triceps, trapezius, and upper pectoralis.

Execution Technique
  1. Grasp the bar on the shoulder machine at shoulder levels.
  2. Now press the bar overhead until your arms are nearly locked out.
  3. Lower the bar back to the starting position under controlled motion.
Tips
  • Exhale while you exert
  • Keep motion-controlled.
5. Lateral Raise

Lateral Raise is the best exercise to build side deltoids. To build the middle head of the deltoid muscle, make Lateral raises a regular part of your shoulder workout. It’s a must-do exercise.

Lateral Raise
Muscles Involved

Primary: Lateral deltoid.

Secondary: Anterior deltoid, posterior deltoid, trapezius, supraspinatus.

Execution Technique
  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bring the weights together in front of you. The palms should be facing each other.
  2. Now bend your elbows and raise the dumbbells to your sides.
  3. Lift them to a point slightly higher than your shoulders.
  4. Now lower the dumbbells in a controlled manner back to the starting position.
Tips
  • Remember to exhale while you exert.
  • The form is a very important part of this exercise.
  • Don’t just swing your arms. Keep motion-controlled throughout the exercise.
  • Perform a warm-up with 50% weight for 1-2 sets.
  • Always use weights that you can handle comfortably.
6. Dumbbell Front Raise

Dumbbell Front Raise is an excellent exercise to isolate the front deltoid Muscle and Helps to Build Muscle Mass in the front head of the deltoids. This exercise can be done in the standing position or in the sitting position, with a pair of dumbbells. The seated version calls for strict form and prevents cheating. This exercise can be done in an alternating movement or both hands together.

Front Raise
Muscles Involved

Primary: Anterior deltoid.

Secondary: Upper pectoralis, trapezius.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand holding a pair of dumbbells across the front of your thighs. Your feet are shoulder-width apart, and your knees are slightly bent.
  2. Raise one dumbbell (say right hand) in front of you till it reaches just above shoulder level.
  3. Now lower the weight (of right hand) while raising the left in front of you.
  4. Perform this exercise in this alternating manner.
Tips
  • Pause for a moment at the top, then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Avoid arching of the lower back.
  • Concentrate on training the front delts and raise dumbbells in front of you, and do not raise outside the body.
7. Upright Row

The upright row is an excellent exercise to build huge Trapezius muscle and create that deltopectoral separation. Heavy Upright Rows along with Shrugs build massive traps. You can use either a barbell, dumbbells, Cable, and Smith Machine to perform Upright Rows. Upright Rows can be done with both the narrow grips and the wider ones. The narrow grip focuses on Trapezius and wider focuses on the entire shoulder girdle. Also, the wider grip allows some cheating movement, thereby allowing you to lift more weight.

Upright Row
Muscles Involved

Primary: Lateral deltoid, trapezius.

Secondary: Anterior deltoid, supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, teres minor.

Execution Technique
  1. Hold a bar with a narrow overhand grip and let it hang in front of you.
  2. Lift the bar and get it as close as possible to the chin using your arms and elevating your shoulders to squeeze your trapezius muscles.
  3. Now lower the bar under controlled motion until it comes back to its starting position.
Tips
  • Remember to exhale while you exert.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Keep your back straight.
8. Bent over Raise

Bent Over raise is an excellent exercise to isolate and works specifically on rear deltoid muscles. For complete shoulder muscle development, bent over raise is a must-do exercise. Thus, exercise hits specifically the rear deltoid head by isolating it better than any other shoulder exercise. This exercise can be performed in both standing and seated. Prefer the seated version, as it calls for strict movement.

Lateral Bent over row
Muscles Involved

Primary: Posterior deltoid.

Secondary: Lateral deltoid, trapezius, rhomboids, infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major.

Execution Technique
  1. Sit at the end of a bench with a pair of dumbbells.
  2. Bend forward and let the dumbbells hang on your sides.
  3. Lift the dumbbells raising them on your sides to a level slightly upper than your shoulders.
  4. Now lower the dumbbells back to your sides.
Tips
  • Keep your arms parallel to your shoulders.
  • Do not lift backward or forward.
  • Keep form strict to isolate the rear delts.
9. Machine Rear Deltoid Fly

Machine Rear Deltoid Fly is an excellent exercise for the rear deltoid. The rear deltoid fly machine provides a uniform resistance throughout the range of motion. This machine also offers several technical adjustments to grip. Trajectory and range of motion are used to isolate the posterior deltoid.

How you hold the handles affects the degree of rotation at the shoulder joint. Using the horizontal handles with a pronated grip (palms down) is the best method of isolating the posterior deltoid because the shoulder is internally rotated. A neutral grip (thumbs up) using the vertical handles allows the lateral deltoid to participate because the shoulder is externally rotated.

reverse pec deck fly
Muscles Involved

Primary: Posterior deltoid.

Secondary: Trapezius, rhomboids, lateral deltoid, infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major.

Execution Technique
  1. Sit facing the rear deltoid machine with your chest against the backrest, and grasp the handles directly in front with arms outstretched at shoulder level.
  2. Pull the handles back in an arc as far as possible, keeping your elbows high and arms parallel to the floor.
  3. Return the handles to the start position directly in front.
Tips
  • Do not use very heavyweight for this exercise.
  • Exhale during effort, inhale during rest.
  • Maintain tension on the rear deltoids.
10. Dumbbell Shrug

The dumbbell shrug is a variation and one of the best exercises to build bigger, stronger trapezius muscles. This exercise can be done heavily to thicken the traps, which really helps you in doing a deadlift and a squat. The dumbbell shrug is one of the best isolation exercises for trapezius muscles. Traps is a stubborn muscle group for many, can be trained with a fairly high frequency during the week.

Dumbbell Shrugs
Muscles Involved

Primary: Trapezius.

Secondary: Posterior deltoid, Anterior deltoid, supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, teres minor.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand upright with arms at sides and by keeping a heavy dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Raise your shoulders up as high as you can and try to touch them to your ears.
  3. Hold at the top for a moment, then release and return to the starting position.
Tips
  • Try not to move anything but your shoulders.
  • Inhale when you lower the weight and exhale when you lift.
  • Adding a pause at the top of the movement can help to enhance the mind and muscle connection.
  • Limit momentum and excessive jerking or bouncing of the weight.

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