Being able to lift heavy weights is a strength that your body needs to protect itself and stay injury-free. It’s no surprise that strong, broad shoulders signal to the world that you lift! It is important to train your shoulders too, as they are a smaller muscle group compared to your chest and back.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top shoulder exercises you can do to achieve more power and size in your delta muscles, as well as more stability in the shoulder joint. Head to the next page for a closer look at how these exercises work.
Barbell Overhead Press
The barbell overhead press targets all three parts of the shoulder — the front (anterior), middle (lateral), and rear (posterior). If you want to get stronger, bigger, and have boulder shoulders, overhead pressing variations are a necessity. Loaded shoulder Exercises in isolation are great, but they can only take you so far.
Benefits of the Overhead Press
- Here are some things you need to know about deltoids.
- This variation is a good way to build bigger, broader shoulders.
- A better overhead press will help your bench press by working the same muscles in a different way.
How to Do The Overhead Press
The grip is one of the most important components of your bench press, because it affects how much weight you can lift. To find the perfect grip, place your hands just outside your shoulders and stack them vertically on top of each other. If your elbows are pointing outward or in splay, then you are either gripping too wide or too narrow.
Place your bar over the heel of your palm, so you can get the most use out of this powerful area. Press overhead until you’re locked out, then lower the bar all the way down to your starting position and repeat.
Half-Kneeling Landmine Press
The half-kneeling unilateral landmine press is a mix between a vertical and horizontal movement, making it good for people who lack shoulder mobility. Plus, if you’re coming back from injury, this training technique takes care of the tears and helps them to rebuild muscle fibers.
Benefits of the Landmine Press
- The half-kneeling position combined with the press will increase your core stability, hip mobility, and anti-rotational strength.
- Unilateral pressing will help reduce strength imbalances.
- Allows the lifter to get overhead if they have limited shoulder mobility
How to Do the Half-Kneeling Landmine Press
Get into a half-kneeling position facing the barbell. Place your right knee under your hip left with your right ankle under the left knee.
Starting with a barbell at shoulder height in the hand nearest your back leg, press up to about 45 degrees and lock out their arms. Slowly lower down and repeat.
The Arnold Press is a useful shoulder Exercises for training all three deltoid heads. Alongside this, the range of motion and rotational movement is greater, which offers a more diverse workout. Doing the Arnold Press regularly will increase your time under tension, which leads to more hypertrophy.It is also good for developing the deltoids and back, and requires full mobility, stability, and strength to do well.
Benefits of the Arnold Press
- Improved deltoid muscle growth is the result of increased time under tension on all three heads of the deltoid muscle.
- Arnold Presses shoulder Exercises help to target more deltoid muscle fibers by moving the weight in different planes of motion.
How to Do the Arnold Press
In a seated position, bring dumbbells up to a traditional starting position and rotate your hands until your palms are facing towards you. This is the same as doing a bicep curl on top of the ball. In one motion, press the dumbbells and rotate your palms to face forward. Slowly continue lifting until your biceps are either by or behind your ears and then pause. In an alternate motion, lower the weights slowly and repeat.
Wide-Grip Seated Row
You all know the seated row is a great shoulder Exercises for the lats and upper back. But with a wider grip, your posterior deltoid will also get more involved in shoulder extension. The posterior deltoids have a number of duties when working with the weight overhead. They stabilize it isometrically by supporting it, but you also need to work out both its concentric and eccentric strength.
Benefits of the Wide-Grip Row
- It’s important to support the body when doing any activity—and this is especially true for some activities, such as rowing and push-ups. An abdominal brace may help to keep the chest muscles from overpowering the back muscles.
- The long lever created by the wide grip on the vertical plane from the arms to the hands creates stability in the back muscles.
- Adding variety to your back training
How to Do the Wide-Grip Row
Set up for a seated row as you normally would, but use an attachment with a straight bar and take an overhand grip. Keep your torso upright and your upper arms at a 45-degree angle. as you roll the barbell to your chest and feel a strong contraction in your upper back as you go back. Repeat this motion until you hit five reps.
Leaning Lateral Raise
As you get stronger, regular raises will be too easy, so try this variation. By leaning while you perform the raise, your range of motion is increased—which increases tension in the muscle and reduces your risk of injury. When done with weights, leaning lateral lifts put an overload on the muscles at the top and bottom.
Benefits of the Leaning Lateral Raise
- Able to use more weight than the regular standing version due to improved stability of holding on to something.
- The increased range of motion and strong contraction at the top of the movement give you more muscle-building potential.
- Helps to decrease strength imbalances between sides
How to Do the Leaning Lateral Raise
Hold a power rack or a pole and bring your feet close to or under your hands. With the dumbbell resting on your outer thigh, raise the dumbbell away from you until you feel a strong contraction in your shoulders and slowly lower down and repeat.
Incline Y Raise
With the incline Y raise, you strengthen your traps and rear deltoids while also strengthening all four rotator cuff muscles. This move is also great for targeting different muscle groups. If you’re an overhead athlete or one who throws often, these shoulder Exercises should be included in your routine.
Benefits of the Incline Y Raise
- Strengthening the back of your shoulders is a great way to add balance to all the pulling in your shoulder Exercises. When you strengthen these muscles, they help support other weight training or fitness activities that require overhead motions like pushups, overhead presses and military presses.
- The incline Y raise has a lot of benefits. Firstly, it can help promote shoulder health, which is useful for professional athletes. Beyond just this benefit, though, it can also serve as an excellent pre-workout warmup stretch or cooldown.
- To improve your posture, focus on the muscles in your upper back and mid-back. This helps strengthen your posterior deltoids and increase the height of your shoulder blades.
How to do The Incline Y Raise
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 while activating your posterior delts. 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.
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
You often perform the dumbbell shoulder press standing, but you can also do this move seated if you want to emphasize your shoulder muscles even more. With your back and lower body stabilized, you can adjust the angle of your arm (narrow for more deltoid and triceps activity; wide for more shoulder activity).
The beauty of all overhead press variations is that they train all three heads of your deltoids: the anterior, the posterior, and the medial. The posterior deltoid stabilizes the weight when you’re overhead, which means that with just one move, you can advance your shoulder development and have better control over limiting risk for injuries.
Benefits of the Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- This move trains all three heads of the deltoids.
- Dumbbells allow for a wider range of motion than barbells, which is easier on your joints-especially during heavy lifting.
- One of the great things about lifting weights unilaterally is that it targets the specific muscles you want to work. This means you’ll train one side of your body more than the other, helping prevent imbalances in strength and muscle mass.
How to Do the Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Ensure the dumbbells you will be pressing are resting on your shoulders. Sit upright on an incline bench, shoulder blades out from your ear. Keep a neutral pelvis position and tuck in your abdominals. Select a desired angle for the press according to what feels comfortable for your shoulder joint. Press both dumbbells overhead until your elbows lock. Carefully lower the dumbbells, reset and repeat.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise Pause Set
To isolate a specific muscle group like the lateral raise, it’s important to maintain tension. To achieve this, don’t use heavy weights. Adding more weight to your lifts is often not a bad thing, but adding weight without proper form will lead to injury fast. One way to maintain tension in your lifts is by pausing in the contracted position.
You will perform 6 reps, then pause for 6 seconds at the end of the set. You will rest for between six and 12 seconds in between each set. The time under tension will allow your lateral deltoid to be thoroughly stimulated.
Benefits of the Dumbbell Lateral Raise Pause Set
- This exercise increases the time that your muscles are under tension, which can lead to greater muscle development and strength.
- Isolation exercises target specific muscles and enable you to focus on them rather than neglecting them. When done right, they can have a greater impact on muscle growth than compound lifts do.
- Since weightlifting isn’t required in boxing, you can add a lot of training without experiencing mechanical stress.
How to Do the Dumbbell Lateral Raise Pause Set
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell on each side. Keep the weights near your body and your shoulders down, not raising them above shoulder height. Perform six lateral raises (moving from side to side) that are done slowly, taking about two seconds per raise. On the sixth rep, hold the weights in the contracted position for six seconds. Continue this rep/pause sequence down to one rep and one second.
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Single-Arm Push Press
Push presses are a great full-body move. They work your triceps and shoulders, but also engage other muscle groups due to its movement pattern. An aggressive lower-half dip like the one in a quarter squat helps build momentum that you can use to press the weight overhead.
Pushing through unilaterally and balancing workloads leads to better muscle development. We can all agree that balancing workloads is important for any company, so a move like this will train all three heads of the deltoids and result in a powerful shoulder.
Benefits of the Single-Arm Push Press
- The unilateral nature of this move can help to balance out your shoulders and offer better shoulder health.
- This move is ideal for your core because you will be using the entire body for a one-sided movement and involving many muscles.
- Dumbbells provide a freedom of movement that is easier on your joints than a barbell.
How to Do the Single-Arm Push Press
When cleaning one dumbbell to the top of your shoulder, pack your shoulders down and away from your ears and brace your core. Your goal is to drop about four-six inches; you should feel a stretch in the middle of the abs. With a slight lean inward, track your knees over your toes. Use this momentum to press the dumbbell overhead in a seamless movement. Lock out the dumbbell overhead and lower with control before re-positioning yourself.
Benefits of Training Your Deltoids
Shoulders, the often-forgotten, underrated body part, are hugely important for muscle balancing. Guitarists are prime examples of people who need shoulder training, as they perform many up-and-down movements when playing their instrument. When doing heavy presses and pushing movements, you must squeeze your shoulder blades in order to protect your neck from discomfort.
When lifting weights, the most important thing is to maintain proper form. The general lifter is the most common form of weightlifting and it can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells.
Generally speaking, lifters should use their legs to support themselves, not their back. It is also important to keep a straight back and chest up during the entire lift. This will help maintain good form and prevent injury from occurring.
Besides the aesthetics of great-looking shoulders, shoulder training improves your posture (particularly if you spend a lot of time sitting down), strengthens the muscles surrounding your shoulder joint, and prevents injury.
All the shoulder Exercises mobility you need to squat, deadlift, bench, snatch, and clean and jerk should be matched by stability too. Balanced shoulder training that focuses on all three delts will improve your stability, improve performance, and help prevent injuries.
Building strong and defined shoulders is crucial when it comes to the balance of your physique and the prevention of injuries that may come with muscle training. When you have a good and well-defined shoulder, you’ll be able to perform better in competitions.
Anatomy of the Deltoids
The three heads of the deltoid muscle, the front, lateral, and posterior deltoid, all attach to the humerus and originate from the clavicle and scapula. All three are large, triangular-shaped muscles. We often call them biceps, but they are officially the deltoids. They attach at the top of your shoulder blade and when you use them, they make your shoulder appear higher. Out of three shoulder Exercises muscles, two come from somewhere else on your body and only one is actually in your arm. They all want to go to the same place though – the bump at the end.
The front deltoid muscle is mainly located in the anterior chest. It originates from the top of your clavicle, as well as the arc over your shoulder and front of your armpit. Its main function is supporting all of your arm’s flexion movements like raising it in front or pressing it up or down
The lateral deltoid originates from the lateral margin and superior surface of the acromion of the scapula. It is involved in shoulder abduction, starting at 15 degrees of abduction. If this is the case, your lateral delts are working with exercises like lateral raises and overhead presses, which develop your arm away from your body’s midline. Using a wider grip can also target your lateral delts.
The posterior deltoid originates from the top of your shoulder blades and is used for shoulder extension and external rotation. It’s trained any time you do these actions, for example by raising your arm up or rotating it away from the body. Examples of these moves include bent-over reverse flyes, bent-over row variations, lat pulldowns, and chin-ups. The overhead lockout position trains the posterior deltoids, too.
How to Program Shoulder Training
If you want great shoulder muscles, emphasize strength and size in your shoulder exercises. The best tool for this is the barbell. Because you can load the most weight, use a combination of shoulder presses, rows, and dead-lifts.
Since barbells recruit more muscle groups, they’re better for hypertrophy. Dumbbell shoulder workouts will help you build up the muscles in your shoulders and arms. Other tools like kettle bells are good for getting stronger, but only work a few muscles at a time. Shoulder strength is an important part of having a healthy and diverse body., But many people don’t put in the time to properly develop their shoulders. They’re made up of multiple muscles, and need different exercises to grow strong in each area.
Strength Sets & Reps
If you want to maximize the size of your delts, lift heavier weights. It’s hard to recommend a perfect weight because this depends on your personal strength level. Your intensity should always be at 85% of 1-RM (1-Repetition Max). Keep the total number of repetitions between 10 and 25 per set.
If you can’t do more than 10 reps, the weight is too heavy. If you can do more than 25 reps, it means that the weight is too light for muscle building. These numbers can be broken up into various sets and reps: for example, three sets of five reps, four sets of six, or five sets of two.
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 for building up your delts.
There are various weight, set, and rep combinations you can use to build muscle. For maximum hypertrophy, try doing between 6-15 reps per set with a weight that you feel is challenging but which you’re still able to finish. A good rule of thumb is that, if you are performing fewer reps, you should use a heavier load and more sets. If you are performing more reps, use a lighter load and fewer sets. For example, three to four sets of eight to 12 reps or four to five sets of six may work well for you.
How to Warm-Up Your Deltoids Before Training
Don’t be the person who walks into the gym and starts bench-pressing without warming up. Bench-pressing is bad for your shoulder joints, which are very sensitive and prone to injury. For starters, you should gradually warm up your shoulder with a few exercises that rotate, raise, and abduct it. These not only wake up the muscles but also do a good job of preparing them for heavy loads.
We suggest you perform a couple exercises, such as I-Y-Ts and slow and controlled shoulder circles. Afterwards, perform whichever pressing exercise you’re training that day for a handful of light sets (e.g. 5 reps)