Depending on who you ask, you’ll find that the best shoulder exercises for any one person may not match up to what you’re looking for. After all, some people are simply looking to improve the appearance of their shoulders, while others are looking to bulk up for the Olympics or general Powerlifting. It’s important to understand that shoulders can be a very tricky area to work, because they can be strained and injured very easily. Because of this, you need to ensure you’re doing what you can to keep them safe.
One of the most common areas that you may experience injury is the rotator cuff. To avoid this, try to avoid weights and exercises that require you to use momentum of any kind. You should only be focusing on weights and routines that allow you to comfortably lift a weight for about 7 – 15 reps.
The lateral raise is great for developing the outside of the deltoid and when you bend over or do it lying on your stomach, it’s great for rear deltoid development as well.
Start with the weights together in front of you at arms length. Be sure to start each rep from a dead stop to prevent yourself from swinging the weight up.
Lift the weights out and up to either side turning your wrists in slightly so that the rear of the dumbbell is higher than the front(this involves the rear delt). Lower slowly and repeat.
One of the best shoulder exercises that people often suggest is the military press. When you need to bulk up your deltoids, this will prove to be an important exercise to incorporate.
You’ll want to begin by placing your hands on the barbell even with your feet. When you’re ready, begin by lifting the barbell up in the air for a count of five and then lowering it in the same count. Keep doing this until you’ve hit your desired number of reps.
Note: Most pressing movements involve the delts so be aware of this and don’t over do it.
Standing Barbell Upright Row aka High Pulls
When you have a need to develop side and rear deltoids, you’ll find that this can be a great exercise to focus on.
For this, you’d begin in the same manner that an upright barbell row would begin. That’s where your arms hang freely in front of you. Next, you bend forward slightly, until your back becomes arched. Now, allow the bar to move forward slightly and then stand tall, pulling the barbells up. Lower slowly and repeat.
Hang Clean & Press
The hang clean and press is a beast among shoulder exercises. It’s really a full body exercise that emphasizes the shoulders.
In fact, it works the shoulder muscles at two different points in your lift. You hit them when you press the weight overhead. But you also hit them during the clean, when you pull the bar up to your shoulders.
Note: These are great for trapezius development as well.
Place a barbell on the floor and make sure there’s plenty of room on either side of the bar. Load the bar with the appropriate poundage, place your feet approximately shoulder width apart, and make sure the bar is over the tops of your feet.
Bend down and grasp the bar with an overhand grip. Making sure that your knee’s do not shoot out over your toe’s, lower your butt until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
It’s of major importance that your lower back does not become arched during any point of this movement. If, during this movement, your lower back becomes arched, you dramatically increase the chances of sustaining a serious lower back injury.
Contract your shoulder blades, look straight ahead and explode upward from the bottom of the movement. Using a quick movement, snap the weight up to chest level and then, using your shoulders, triceps and trapezius, push the weight toward the ceiling in a straight line. Then, under control, lower the weight back down to its original position. Repeat.
This is a slightly awkward exercise that’s very beneficial because it hits the front and side heads of your delts. Don’t plan on using super heavy weight though, as this is definitely more difficult than regular dumbbell or barbell presses.
Start just like a seated dumbbell press, but start with the dumbbells in front of your face, palms facing towards you, the sides of the dumbbells will probably be touching.
Press up and simultaneously rotate the dumbbells externally. By the time you reach full extension your palms should be facing away from you and you’ll have rotated the dumbbells 180 degrees. Return the weights to the front of your face to complete the rep.
Couple of Awesome Shoulder Workouts
Side (lateral) Raises 3 x 8-12
Barbell Upright Row (high pull) 3 x 8-12
Seated Arnold Press Â 4 x 8-12
Hang Clean & Press 4 x 8 -12
Squatted Dumbbell Military Press 3 x 8-12
Dumbbell Shrugs 3 x 8-12
Seated Dumbbell Press 3 x 8-12
Bent Over (or from your stomach) Lateral Raises 4 x 8-12
Barbell Upright Row 4 x 8-12
What you need to keep in mind is that these are just some of the best shoulder exercises that you could be doing. With dozens of exercises and just as many approaches, you should be able to find one that’ll best suit your needs.
Just remember, correct positioning and posture will be important as you work the shoulders. Additionally, you need to ensure that you aren’t trying to overdo the lifting. While you may feel it’s impressive to live more than you are physically capable of, in the long run, you will only be doing yourself a disservice as a shoulder injury can side line you for months, undoing any progress you made.
Strength by choice, not by chance.
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