Best Shoulder Exercises

best shoulder exercises

Have you ever seen the shoulders of bodybuilders? Were you always dreaming about round and big shoulders? People who are less sophisticated in fitness continue to search for magical exercises, magic powders and pills that will help quickly achieve results. Unfortunately, there are none. There are more effective and less effective movements, but the most important thing is how to combine it with others exercises within the weekly workout plan. On the other hand, if there is a reasonable  approach, it is possible to actually improve the shape of the deltoids and achieve a significant increase in their volume over a very short period. Below we will tell you principles that will help to create an effective a workout program with an emphasis on shoulder development. And, of course, we’ll show you the best shoulder exercises.

Shoulder structure

First what you need to know is a structure and the anatomy of the shoulder. You need to know that just because the shoulder has very multifunctional joint and there is a huge risk of injury. So you have to be extra careful when we speak about shoulder exercises. The function of the shoulder is to  move and hold your arms. Also, the shoulder girdle is formed by 2 bones – the clavicle and scapula. Shoulder comparing to most other joints can move in all the ways. 

The muscle of the shoulder is a deltoid, it is separated to three parts. There are so called three heads of deltoid, the anterior, lateral, and also posterior deltoid. Possibly you already understand where every head of the deltoid is by name. An anterior part is located at the front of the shoulder, the lateral runs along the top/middle of the shoulder, while the posterior is the rear part of the deltoid. So, we want to talk about the mistakes now and after, we promise we will start with the best shoulder exercises. 

Common mistakes

Mistake number one in shoulder exercises is the technique. So, because of bad technique people will feel everything, but not their shoulders. They will do trapeze, back, arms or even overload joints. In the first three cases, the load is ineffective. And also, the result of the last case will be an injury.

Mistake number two, too heavy weights, you will not be able to recover soon enough. After all, these are small muscle groups that work in almost all traction and pushing movements during training of the chest and back. So, during chest training, you have so well loaded the front part of deltoids. And working on the back, they additionally rocked the rear  deltoids.

Shoulder workout

  1. Barbell Push Press 

It is heavy-compound-exercise which develops the front delta, and it also partly involves the middle part as well. This exercise are considered more of a strength movement, but it also gives you building more strength. Moreover, doing movements that engage a great deal of muscle mass boost muscle-building hormones better than movements that don’t.

Shoulder exercises
2. Dumbbell lateral raise

A great option for additional load for the middle part of deltas, but subject to the correct execution of the exercise. Also, this is a great single-joint movement for the middle delts. Beginners often have trouble learning how to lead with their elbows. 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest up and shoulders back. Also, hold your head straight and  the dumbbells at your sides with a neutral grip. Slowly, raise the dumbbells out to your sides, keeping your elbows and hands moving together in the same level. So, raise the dumbbells just above you  shoulders and hold for a moment in that position. Slowly lower the dumbbells down to the starting position.

shoulder workout

3. Seated dumbbell shoulder press

An alternative to the army bench press, you can do a dumbbell bench press. In the case when there is difficulty with the lower back, you can do a dumbbell bench press sitting with a slight tilt of the bench.

To feel more stable you can sit on a low-back bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand above shoulder level. Also, keep your head straight, spine aligned, shift back as you press the dumbbells overhead. Don’t let them touch at the top. After you can move to the start position and repeat.

best shoulder exercises
4. Dumbbell Incline Row (or in butterfly machine) 
Lifting dumbbells to the sides in an incline is an exercise that makes sense to do the last in training. Even though it is intended for the shoulders, it is usually performed on the day of the back, since in an independent version it loses some meaning.

Take your shoulders forward, “smear” the trapezoid along the back, work inside the amplitude (do not rise the elbows above the level of the deltas). 
shoulder exercises
5. Front dumbbell raise 

Firstly, the front dumbbell raises develop the front part of the shoulders. 

Take dumbbells in your hands and place them in front of you at the level of your hips. Raise your hands slowly with dumbbells to the level of your chin. Hands during movement remain slightly bent at the elbows and do not straighten to the end. So, the peak point of the movement is at the level of your chin. Having reached it, hold your hands for a couple of seconds, maximize strain on the deltas and slowly return to the starting position. Make 10-15 reps.

shoulder exercises


Possibly, we could even put this part before exercises, but the topic of this article is shoulder exercises. Diet is the same important as exercise for you if you want to gain muscle. Of course, one can’t exist without others. To build muscle, you need to have building material. Also, it is much more challenging to stick to the diet than to the gym regime. So, we want to give you at least minimal knowledge about the diet, to make you understand how to organize it. 

You need to know is that your body needs fuel (all nutrients) and building material to work properly and to be able to regenerate new muscles. So, 3 main nutrients you need are Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats.

Proteins: with the protein your body is building muscle it is a kind of construction material and the proper amount for building muscles is about 1.5 g of protein per 1 kg of your body weight, or 0.7 g for 1 lb.

Carbohydrates: Carbs, are giving you energy, this is what basically allows you to raise heavier weights. We can call it fuel for your body. For muscle growth, you need about 5g of carbohydrates per 1 kg or about 2.3 g per 1 lb of your body weight.

Fats: Don’t avoid the fats, they are responsible for a lot of valuable processes in your body (1), just limit the intake of fats per day. Also, fats are quite high in calories so, be careful. We recommend you to try to stay in the range of 1 g for 1 kg, or 0.5 g for 1 lb of your body weight when you are trying to gain muscle. Here you can find more details about the diet for muscle gain here.


So, supplements are not a substitution for your nutrition, but they also are good support and help you to move forward faster. Also, you have to eat the proper amount of food to make your body grow. So, supplements will make things easier for you, if you have some problem to eat more. 

Check out our article about Diet, here you will figure out all necessary details about how to eat properly to grow your muscles. Whey protein is a nice supplement if you are eating enough amount of carbohydrates, or you are gaining fat faster than usual people. Also, if you can’t eat enough carbs, the mass gainer is a better solution for you. 

So, if you want to get stronger faster and increase your working weight  creatine monohydrate is the only one supplement for increasing your strength and stamina. 

Bottom line

So, this is everything we wanted to tell you about the best shoulders exercises. We also mentioned the main mistakes, techniques, exercises, diet, and even supplements. We could write many more exercises, there are plenty of them, but we mentioned the most effective one you need to know. Of course, you can add some different exercises, and we want to say that you even need to add them with time or change exercises, to shock your muscles. But this is the main fundamental details you need to know, to progress correctly. If you want us to add more information about the exercises, let us know by comments, and we will try to provide you more details!

Vitalij Kacanovskij

Vitalij Kacanovskij

I am a personal trainer, expert in dietology and ex men's physique participant. I am in love with everything related to fitness. I will try to provide the best possible information into my Blog and for this website visitors!

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