Top 10 Best Shoulder Exercises.

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that allows you to perform a wide range of movements. You use these muscles for actions from throwing a ball to reaching an item on a shelf. Also called the glenohumeral joint, it has more range of motion than any other joint in your body. There are about eight muscles in your shoulder that support this joint. They give it strength, stability, and shape.

Having a broad shoulder is the ultimate goal for every gym member, a wide shoulder looks you beast and attractive. A broad shoulder looks your arms more dashing and grows a feeling like a beast in the gym. There is much feedback about people are struggling to gain shoulder mass. The simple and effective method is to observe the area of the deltoid and work on it. Use a number of different exercises and change the next session of the shoulder workout. Select 4-5 exercises to make a shoulder workout and next session choose a different exercise. These strategies help to increase hypotrophy in the muscle and result in more gain or cutting.

1. Barbell Overhead Shoulder Press.

A barbell overhead shoulder press not only works for the shoulders but also affects most parts of your body. It is a great and effective shoulders exercise with a barbell.

It is the perfect exercise to begin a shoulder workout. Barbell overhead shoulder press targets your Anterior deltoid and Lateral deltoid muscles that help build the shoulders’ size.

How to do Barbell Overhead Shoulder Press?

  1. Stand tall with a barbell across the front of your shoulders (You can also do this exercise by sitting on the bench).
  2. Grabs the barbell with your hand wider than shoulder-width.
  3. Put your legs straight and some gaps on them, and tighten your core.
  4. Next, push the bar upward and squeezes your shoulder blades together at the peak.
  5. Come back to the starting position steadily and carefully. Repeat it.
  • Sets: 3-4.
  • Reps: 16-8 or failure when heavy-weight.

2. Seated Dumbbells Shoulder Press.

It is the best shoulder workout with dumbbells because this exercise is performed by sitting on the bench which helps to isolate the shoulder motion. This shoulder exercise with dumbbells targets the Anteriorlateral, and posterior deltoid muscles. So, put a load on your delts perhaps on your feet.

How to do Seated Dumbbells Shoulder Press?

  1. For this workout sit on a low-back bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at your shoulder level, and palms facing forward. Keep your head and spine perfectly straight.
  3. Lift both dumbbells towards your overhead, and slightly touch both dumbbells at the top.
  4. Hold the position for a few seconds and carefully reverse it.
  5. Repeat it again with the same procedure.
  • Sets: 4.
  • Reps: 10-12.

3. Dumbbells Lateral Raise.

This is a perfect shoulder exercise that targets your middle deltoids, though it is the best way to add depth to your outer shoulders and really pop out of your T-shirts. You can either perform it standing or seated position. This bodybuilding staple is a perfect second or third exercise in your shoulder workout. It has to be done in a right though; doing it wrong, opens the door for shoulder injuries.

How to do Dumbbells Lateral Raise?

  1. Stand with dumbbells on each hand, and open your feet along the shoulder-width aspect, your abs should be tight, your chest up, and your head should be straight.
  2. Hold the dumbbells on each side of your hand, retaining a neutral grip.
  3. By using your shoulder and arms, raise the dumbbells a notch above your shoulder level.
  4. Hold above the arms for a few seconds and feel the intensity occur on your shoulders.
  5. Lower the shoulder back to the starting position and repeat it.
  • Sets: 3-4.
  • Reps: 16-8.

4. Reverse Cable Crossover.

The Reverse Cable Fly, also known as the cable rear delt fly, is an exercise that increases deltoid muscles and strengthens them. It is the best shoulder workout at the gym by cable machine. This exercise engages a variety of upper body muscles while honing in on your rear (posterior) deltoids.

How to do Reverse Cable Fly?

  1. Stand mid of the cable machine for reverse cable crossover.
  2. Grab the handles (use a thumbs-up grip) attached to two high pulleys (left side handle in the right hand and right side to left one), stand upright, and centrally with pulleys in front of you.
  3. Pull your hand backward and slightly down in an arc, arm nearly parallel to the floor until your hands are in line with your shoulders (form a T shape).
  4. Return the handle back to the starting position where your right hand is directly in front of the left shoulder and your left hand is in front of the right shoulder.
  5. Repeat it.
  • Sets: 3.
  • Reps: 10-12.

5. Front Raise.

Front dumbbell raises primarily target the front of the shoulders, known as the anterior deltoid. This muscle is used in shoulder flexion. To do this shoulder workout you can use either barbell or a plate. No matter what you decide to use, prepare for a seriously intense workout on your shoulders that brings no shortage of healthy pain. For that reason, don’t max out the weight, as it will quickly turn healthy pain into unhealthy injury.

How to do Front Raise?

  1. Keep your hands at hip height as you hold the weight side of the body.
  2. Your feet should be even with your shoulder’s width and your core should be tight.
  3. Lift the weight towards your face with straight arms and back.
  4. Hold it for a second on your shoulder level. Breathe steadily and lower the weight carefully.
  5. Repeat it.
  • Sets: 3.
  • Reps: 12-8.

6. Dumbbell Shrugs.

The ended with Dumbbell shrugs are the best exercise to target the trapezius and rhomboids muscles that are located in the upper back of our body. This shoulder exercise plays an important role in supporting your posture and upper body training. The dumbbell shrug is one of the best shoulder exercises to build bigger, stronger trapezius muscles.

How to do a Dumbbell shrug?

  1. Stand with dumbbells on each of your hands in a straight posture along shoulders-width.
  2. Relax your arms towards a gravity that stretches your shoulder and make extra pressure on it.
  3. Lift both dumbbells and shoulder upward, and hold it for a few seconds.
  4. Come back to the starting position and repeat it again.
  • Sets: 5.
  • Reps: 10.

7. Reverse Pec Deck Fly

This shoulder exercise targets your posterior delts and requires a pec deck machine. It’s also the perfect chest, back, and shoulder workout for building mass.

reverse pec deck fly
  1. Face the machine, and position the seat so that the handles are at shoulder level on either side.
  2. Next, hold the handles with your palms facing inward.
  3. Tighten your torso and extend your arms out to the side, pushing through all the way.
  4. Responsibly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat.

8. Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

This wildly effective full shoulder workout targets your middle deltoids, though it also builds upon your overall physique. You can perform it in either a standing (bent-over) or seated position.

Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  1. Start with a dumbbell in each hand (not so heavy you can’t control the weight during the movement), keeping your chest up, your back flat, your knees slightly bent, and your eyes focussed toward a fixed point on the floor.
  2. Now, bend over until your core is basically parallel with the ground, and hang the dumbbells directly underneath you, all while keeping your elbows in a slightly bent position.
  3. Next, raise both dumbbells up and out to your sides, forming an arc until your upper arms are even with your torso.
  4. Take a brief pause at the top before lowering the dumbbells back into starting position.
  5. Repeat.

9. One-Arm Cable Lateral Raise

Similar to the reverse cable crossover, this shoulder exercise targets the middle deltoid muscles and delivers ample tension. To start,

One-Arm Cable Lateral Raise
  1. Stand sideways to the cable machine, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Using the hand that’s opposite the pulley, grab the D-handle.
  2. With your abs tight and your shoulders back, raise the cable using just the motion of your arms and shoulders.
  3. Take your arm just past shoulder level and hold for a few seconds before slowly returning to the original position.
  4. Repeat as necessary and then switch sides. Your hand and elbow should move in conjunction with one another the entire time.

10. Incline Y Raise

Incline Y Raise

How to do Incline Y-Raises

Set up the bench at a 45-degree incline. Lie face down with your knees slightly bent. Hold the weights with an overhand grip. Extend your arms to hang straight under your shoulders. Keep your shoulders down and chest up. Activate your posterior delts to raise the weights up and out. Keep your arms straight until they are fully extended. A soft bend in your elbows is okay. Slowly lower back to the starting position. Reset and repeat.

Anatomy of the Deltoids

The deltoids are large triangular-shaped muscles made up of three heads — the front, lateral and posterior deltoid. They insert on the humerus and originate from the clavicle and scapula. The deltoids lie over the shoulder joint, which gives you that boulder shoulder look. The three deltoid muscles each come from a different origin in the body, but they are all inserted into the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus.

anatomy of the deltoids

Anterior Deltoid

The front deltoid originates from the superior surface and the anterior border of the lateral third of the clavicle. This muscle is involved in all shoulder flexion movements like front raises and all vertical and horizontal pressing exercises (think: overhead presses, bench presses, and push-ups).

Lateral Deltoid

The lateral deltoid originates from the lateral margin and superior surface of the acromion of the scapula. It’s involved in shoulder abduction of your arm beyond the first 15 degrees of movement. In other words, your lateral delts help with exercises like lateral raises and overhead presses that take your shoulder away from your body’s midline. You can also target your lateral delts by using a wider grip during these movements.

Posterior Deltoid

The posterior deltoid originates from the lateral third of the spine of the scapula, on the crest. All movements that involve shoulder extension and external rotation train the posterior deltoid. Examples of these moves include bent-over reverse flyes, bent-over row variations, lat pulldowns, and chin-up and pull-up variations. The overhead lockout position trains the posterior deltoids, too.

How to Program Shoulder Training

When you want a great pair of delts, you definitely want to train your shoulders for both strength and hypertrophy. The best tool for gain shoulder strength work is the barbell because you can load the most weight. For this goal, use a combination of shoulder presses, rows, and raises that make a perfect shoulder workout. 

The barbell is great for hypertrophy, too — along with dumbbell shoulder exercises. Dumbbells, bands, and other tools like kettlebells are better for building muscle — but not necessarily absolute strength. Why? You wouldn’t want to program a lateral raise one-rep max, but you probably do want to use that move to help broaden your shoulders. Here are some general programming recommendations for shoulder strength and muscle.

Strength Sets & Reps

Shoulder muscle and strength are built in a variety of sets and rep ranges. When you’re focused on building up absolute strength in your delts, working with a load of 85 percent of your 1-RM works best. Keep the total reps performed between 10 and 25 reps.

If you can’t perform more than 10 total reps, the load is too heavy. But if you can do more than 25 reps, the load is probably too light for strength-building. These numbers can be broken up into various set and rep schemes: think three sets of five reps, five sets of five reps, four sets of six reps, or five sets of two reps.

Muscle Sets & Reps

Most of your shoulder isolation accessory training falls under hypertrophy and endurance training. The focus here is on volume and increasing time under tension to provide the right stimulus to build up your delts. 

As with strength, you can build muscle with a variety of loads, sets, and reps. For maximum hypertrophy, try working in the six to 15 rep range with a weight that makes you approach failure at the end of your set. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re performing fewer reps, use a heavier load and more sets. If you’re doing more reps, use a lighter load and fewer sets. Set and rep schemes like three to four sets of eight to 12 reps or four to five sets of six to eight reps are good places to start.

How to Warm Up Your Deltoids Before Training

Don’t be the guy who walks into the gym, slaps a plate or two onto the barbell, and starts bench-pressing. Your shoulder joints are sensitive and prone to injury. You need to take the time to warm it up with a few movements that rotate, raise, and abduct the shoulder. A few low-intensity exercises which target the shoulder area will get you ready for action. 

Try performing a few exercises such as I-Y-Ts, dead bugs, and slow and controlled shoulder circles. Then, be sure to perform whatever pressing exercise you’re training that day for a handful of light sets and reps.

The Bottom line

This shoulder workout adjusting reps or sets are perfect for advanced or intermediate levels of gym-goers. Nor recommended for beginners. The reps play a very tough role when weight or sets increase simultaneously. So, as a bodybuilder guide, for the last two sets (when sets are more than 3) you can need to do only a few reps like between 5-1 reps, if only when the weight is too heavy.

Beginners are not able to take a serious step for shoulder exercise and avoid it. They do less exercise a week because not having full knowledge or shoulder day is tougher than other workout days.

If you want to become a perfect muscular posture, then all the exercise is important for you, especially the shoulders. Don’t avoid it for pain or not abling to lift the load. You can take help from your partners and trainers to lift it with a slight push.

Related: 6 Best Shoulder Exercises For Boulder or 3D Shoulder.