The list of best shoulder exercises is long and Shoulder exercises differ from person to person and their training needs. Here are 10 best shoulder exercises to include in your workout plan.
During a shoulder workout regime, you are essentially focusing on building your deltoids which are a bit time consuming and it requires you to do shoulder workouts with a set of specific goals. Keeping this in mind, it is recommended to do shoulder exercises as per your trainer’s instructions, fix a specific order and then set the reps according to your training and bodybuilding needs.
10 Best Shoulder Exercises
Barbell Shoulder Press
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Every gym goer includes the barbell (shoulder) push press in their shoulder workouts. You can take the weight (which you can lift) and do this exercise while standing and while being seated on the side end of a bench. It uses the explosive power of your body to let you focus on your core muscles, deltoids, and triceps. While performed being seated, it strengthens your middle and anterior deltoids.
How To Do:
Hold the barbell just above your chest, resting the barbell on the chest for support. Bend your knees a little to push up the weight overhead while balancing (and pressing) on your feet. You are using your whole body strength to do shoulder workouts such as barbell push press. You can start with this workout for shoulders after a good warm up. You should not do this too aggressively as it requires your whole body power. You can load up on plates (weights) according to your training needs and fitness supervision.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
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While we are at push ups and some heavy lifting, you can try shoulder exercises such as the dumbbell lateral raise, only bent over this time. Using dumbbells for shoulder workouts means better stability while performing exercises. So in this one, since you are slightly bent over and raising the dumbbells on both sides (laterally), you need weights to cover for your rear deltoids.
How To Do:
You can either be seated on the end of a bench or you can stand for this exercise. Slightly bend your knees holding dumbbells on either side. You should at all times keep your back straight and chest pumped outwards while performing this exercise. After you have taken your start position, fix your elbows in a slightly bent manner while letting the dumbbells hang on below. Your back remains parallel to the floor at this point. Slowly make an arc with your elbows on both sides. You should now raise the dumbbells (still parallel to the floor) and give it a squeeze when you pull it up. When you bring the dumbbells down, try not to hang them loose and below you. The elbow remains at arc position before you start the next raise.
Incline Dumbbell Row
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Shoulder workouts for your rear deltoids again, best suited for high-power workouts. The dumbbell incline row takes care of multiple joints. Shoulder exercises such as this score good addition points in your workout just as the dumbbell lateral raise.
How To Do:
You need a T-bar row for this exercise and you have to lie on your stomach on the incline row. You should keep your back straight and balance your feet so that you lie straight. Place dumbbells on both sides of the row. At first, allow the dumbbells to hang parallel to the ground and adjust your grip. Then bend your elbows in an arc and pull it up, give it a squeeze and bring it back down, same as you started.
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In the fitness industry upright rows are not uncommon, also using the smith-machine upright row is considered into workouts for edging those shoulder muscles. But for best shoulder workouts, you can use EZ bar, barbells or the smith-machine. You must keep a wider grip to perform this exercise than closer grip for best results. This shoulder exercise helps focus on the middle, rear and anterior deltoids.
How to do:
Stand straight and upright with your feet apart to your hip-shoulder width. You should hold the barbell on the smith machine near your thighs. Grip it outside your shoulder width to avoid inner rotation of shoulder muscles. Maintain a tight core while you bend your knees just a little while you release the weights from the smith machine. Keep the bar closer to your body and pull it up straight to your chin. Your elbows should have a pointed arch at this point and should be on your sides (holding the weight) in that position. Release slowly, still keeping your back straight while repeating it again.
Reverse Cable Fly
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The cable reverse fly shoulder exercise is best for your shoulders to build mass and appear whole. This mainly focuses on the rear deltoids while presses allow middle and front deltoids get all the attention. The benefit of using cables in shoulder workouts is that muscles are exposed to continuous tension. Unlike barbells or dumbbells, there is space to rest muscles, however, with cables, the constant inertia and external force drives muscles to better strength-building.
How To Do:
You should be able to grip the D-handles of the cable you are using for the reverse cable fly. Hold the left handle with your right hand and vice-versa. You should stand equidistant from the weights. You should be holding the cables, i.e. the weights at a neutral position from your body. Slowly bring your arms parallel to your shoulder while you pull the weights with arms wide open. Bring it back to the same crisscross start position and then open your arms again holding the handles. It does not matter however which hand is placed above another during the exercise.
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After doing heavy overhead presses often included in your shoulder workouts, you can try the Arnold press. The Arnold press allows your wrist movement and is good for anterior and rear deltoids.
How To Do:
Pick up dumbbells with your palms facing towards you. You could be seated at the side end of a bench while performing the exercise. Keep your back straight and your knees slightly apart for posture and balance. Lift the dumbbells rotating your wrist upwards so that they are directly above your head and open (facing outside) when at the top position. You should rest back again rotating your wrist facing you and lift up while opening your wrists again. You can do about 10-15 counts.
Lateral Cable Raise With One Arm
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This is ideal for your middle deltoids and shoulder exercises regime. Just like the reverse cable fly exercise this lateral raise will keep the muscle tension continuous.
How To Do
You should stand sideways with your feet shoulder-hip width apart to the pulley. You should hold the D-handle low opposite to the pulley. You could clutch your other arm on your hip or keep it on the pulley. Just like the cable fly, you should keep your back straight and chest up. Then pull the cable towards your other side with the elbow bent in an arc parallel to your shoulders. Pull as high as you can (to your shoulder level) hold it for a fraction then leave it back to the start position. You can then switch on to the other arm after finishing one set.
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The face pull is pretty useful when it comes to multi-joint exercises giving the rear deltoids a special focus. Middle trapezius and rear deltoids are target areas for face pull shoulder exercises with cables.
How To Do
Take a heavy weight to balance your own body weight at a lower pulley. You will need a rope attached to the pulley when you place your grip overhand on the handle. After grip, align elbow to the shoulder level. To help balance and gain anchor, put one leg up on the knee stand (of the pulley station). Keeping your elbows upwards, bring your body to a 45 degrees angle from the ground. Now, you should pull the rope to close up to your face so that your handle grips are behind your ears. You should not allow the weight stack to hit the ground, instead, do continuous reps.
Military Press (standing)
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Shoulder workouts including standing military press require you to use multiple joints and are preferable to do after your first warm up. You should be able to do this with a slightly challenging weight stack, however, try not load up too much in one go.
How To Do:
You need to stand straight and hold the barbell just above your upper chest. After this position, lift the bar upwards (overhead in straight fashion) stopping short of a lockout. While doing this, bend your knees slightly and keep your hips neutral. Do not lean forward with your back outwards as it might injure your spine. Seek trainer supervision.
Front Cable Raise
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Another one with the cables, suitable for rear and anterior deltoids. Shoulder workouts at the gym can comprise of front cable raise which marks shoulder strength.
How To Do:
Stand with your backside facing the low pulley. Hold the D-handle with one hand and rest the other hand on your hip while finding balance. Keep your legs shoulder width apart. Keep your chest up and back straight. While in this position, you pull the handle upwards towards your shoulder, squeeze and then go back to start position without the stacks touching the ground. Repeat sets as per requirements.
The above given, or any other shoulder exercises, are best done under a trainer’s supervision. This would not only help yield good results but also help reduce chances of or avoid any workout related injuries