4 Exercises to Strengthen Your Shoulders

It’s very important to strengthen your shoulders, as this allows you to develop your arms and your body in general. Don’t neglect this important area!
4 Exercises to Strengthen Your Shoulders

Last update: 30 March, 2021

People often overlook the importance of strengthening their shoulders. As they don’t understand their importance in daily life, most don’t dedicate enough time to these muscles in their routines. The shoulders consist of the deltoid muscles, which require appropriate stimulation to stay in good condition. The deltoid is near the torso and makes up the base of the arms. In this article, discover four exercises to strengthen your shoulders.

Why you need to strengthen your shoulders

Aside from allowing for movements in most joints, such as arm flexion and extension, internal and external rotations, and abduction and adduction, the shoulders protect and stabilize the joint that attaches the torso to the arm.

In addition, well-strengthened deltoid muscles allow for more powerful arm movements. This is helpful in many sports disciplines, and even in everyday tasks.

Exercises to strengthen your shoulders

You should include exercises to strengthen your shoulders in your training routine. The main goal is to ensure consistent muscle development in order to avoid weakness in the upper extremities.

To allow you to reach this goal, below, we’ll teach you a series of recommended exercises for shoulder development and stimulation.

Lateral raises

A woman doing lateral raises.

Lateral raises are one of the best exercises for strengthening the shoulders. You can do this exercise in different ways. In addition, you can vary its difficulty through the inclination of your torso and the weight of the dumbbells. Follow these steps to do it:

  • Begin by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell with each hand on the sides of your body.
  • Then, elevate the dumbbell. This movement is known as abduction, and it consists of moving the arms away from the torso.
  • Finally, repeat the elevations for as many repetitions as you established for your routine. Remember that you can also do them one arm at a time.

The Arnold press

A man doing the Arnold Press.
A muscular man doing an Arnold press to strengthen his shoulders.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the popular actor, and bodybuilder, actually invented this exercise. It’s an exercise that experts highly recommend to stimulate and strengthen your shoulders, which also protects the movement of the joint during its execution.

  • Firstly, sit in a comfortable place with your back straight and aligned with your head.
  • Hold two dumbbells, one in each hand, with your palms facing out at chest level.
  • Begin to elevate the dumbbells above your head. As you elevate, rotate your forearms, turning your grip from the inside out.
  • Once you reach the top, the palms of your hands should be facing forward, as opposed to how the exercise started.
  • Elevate and lower the dumbbell for as many reps as you like.

Shoulder extensions

To do shoulder extensions correctly, you’ll need to lie on your stomach on an elevated surface. Once in position, drop one of your arms. The idea is for your arm not to touch the ground. Then, follow these steps:

  • Hold the dumbbell with the suspended arm. Make sure it isn’t too heavy, to avoid injuries.
  • Extend your arm without overly contracting your triceps brachii. Return to the starting position and complete your established repetitions.


A man doing push-ups with his personal trainer.

The shoulders are undoubtedly a fundamental part of the arms. For this reason, we had to mention the most important exercise for the development of the upper extremities: push-ups.

  • Lie face down on a comfortable surface.
  • Then, support the balls of your feet and the palms of your hands a bit below your shoulders.
  • Execute the movement in that position by raising and lowering your body. Make sure you keep your back straight.

Strengthen your shoulders and your arms

As we mentioned in each exercise, you must establish the number of repetitions and sets you’ll do before starting. This way, you’ll know what goal you want to accomplish: hypertrophy or strengthening.

On the other hand, remember that you shouldn’t only exercise your shoulders. Working on a single muscle group and neglecting the others will only lead to muscle imbalances. This increases the risk of injury, which is why you need to train your whole body in an organized way.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Abboud, J. A., & Ramsey, M. L. (2011). Anatomía del hombro y del codo. Técnicas Quirúrgicas En Hombro y Codo.
  • Oliveira, C., García, N., Navarro, N., Caballero, R., Jiménez Díaz, J. A. ;, Dra, J. T. ;, & Brito Ojeda, E. (2007). Biomecánica del hombro y sus lesiones. Canarias Médica Y Quirúrgica.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.