Great Exercises to Train your Shoulders

Training your shoulders is essential when you work out in the gym. Next up, you'll discover which exercises you should include in your weekly training routine.
Great Exercises to Train your Shoulders

Last update: 24 October, 2019

When lifting weights, the shoulders are one of the upper body muscle groups that we use the most. Besides using them during the workouts that target shoulders specifically, we also use them when working with other muscle groups such as the arms or back. Therefore, it’s interesting to know which are the best exercises to train your shoulders.

Firstly, we should clarify that our shoulders are the most versatile articulation in the body, and they have the widest range of motion. However, this versatility comes at a price: injuries.

Shoulder pain is usually related to bad postures. In many cases, we can fix it by using the proper technique, doing warm-up exercises and lifting lighter weight loads.

The shoulders usually suffer injuries from tendonitis, sprained ligaments, dislocations and injuries in the rotator cuff. For this reason, it’s very important to strengthen them actively by working out regularly.

Building stronger shoulders at home are just as easy as doing it in the gym, and you don’t need too much extra equipment. As a matter of fact, you can even use your own bodyweight. It’s also a good idea to use resistance bands or dumbbells. These accessories increase the variety of exercises that you can do. Therefore, they can help to get faster results.

The best exercises to train your shoulders

If you’ve suffered from a shoulder injury in the past or if you want to prevent problems in the future, it may be interesting to try the following exercises to train your shoulders. Take notes, choose your favorites and include them in your training routine!

1. Lateral arm lifts with dumbbells

This first movement that we’ll talk about is an excellent way to train your shoulders. To do it, you must stand upright, with your feet hip-width apart and your arms on your sides. Hold one dumbbell in each hand.

Next, lift up your arms to the sides until they’re at the level of your shoulders. Keep your palms facing down. Lower your arms slowly and repeat the movement. We recommend starting with light weights and increasing the load progressively.

A woman doing lateral arm lifts with dumbbells to train her shoulders

2. Front arm lifts with dumbbells

Front arm lifts are one of the easiest isolation exercises you can do for your shoulders. One of their many virtues is that they help to improve the stability of your shoulder joint. To begin, you must stand up and hold one dumbbell in each hand. Place your hands in front of your thighs.

The work consists of lifting your arms in front of you and pausing when the dumbbells reach the level of your shoulders. Then, return the dumbbells slowly to the starting position.

To perform this exercise correctly, it’s important to lower the dumbbells slowly and in a controlled manner. This will help to prevent any injury or back discomfort. Focus on feeling a good contraction on your shoulders.

A man doing frontal arm lifts with dumbbells to train his shoulders

3. Vertical rowing with a bar

This is another great movement for your shoulders, but it’s important to make sure that you’re doing it correctly to benefit from its positive effects. To start, stand up and grab a bar. Use the upper part of your thighs to support the bar, with your arms extended and a light curve in your elbows. Your back should also remain straight.

Now it’s time to exhale and use your shoulders to lift up the bar, bringing your elbows up and to the side. Keep the bar close to your body while you lift it up until it comes close to touching your chin. The movement should come from the elbows, and they should always be higher than your forearms.

To finish a repetition, lower the bar slowly until you’re back in the starting position. Inhale while doing this part of the movement. Repeat the steps to complete the recommended number of reps.

A man doing the vertical rowing movement with a bar

4. Military press, the most famous exercise to train your shoulders

This last exercise targets the whole muscle and it’s great for muscle growth. As if this wasn’t enough, it also helps to work your triceps and chest muscles.

To do it, stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand. You can look at the main image of this article for reference. Then it’s time to take a step forward in a staggered way.

Lift your weights up to your shoulders, with your palms facing forward. Extend your arms straight up above your shoulders and keep your back straight. Lower the weights slowly until they reach the level of your shoulders again to finish a rep.

There are definitely a lot of exercises you can do to train your shoulders. The most important thing is to have a good warm-up and limit the weight loads to avoid joint injuries. Start working these muscles in the best way!

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