Top 5 Shoulder Exercises

Shoulders are always one of the hardest body parts along..

Top 5 Shoulder Exercises

Shoulders are always one of the hardest body parts along with chest to build muscle mass! So here we have my top 5 shoulder exercises that will set you apart from the rest! 

Please note these are not the top 5 shoulder exercises of all time, these are my own! 

Lets dive in at the list of the top 5 shoulder exercises:

1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Exercise Guide
  1. The seated dumbbell press is one of the most popular mass builders for the shoulders! Set up for the exercise by getting an adjustable angle bench and setting the back to 90 degrees. 
  2. Grasp a pair of dumbbells and sit down on the bench with the ends of the dumbbells on your thighs.
  3. Raise the dumbbells above your head and twist so that your palms are facing forward. Your back should be flat against the back rest and your feet firmly planted on the floor for stability. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  4. Keeping your eyes facing forwards, slowly lower the dumbbells to the sides of your shoulders.
  5. Once they are around shoulder height, contract the shoulder muscles and raise the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  6. Do not pause at the top of the movement, and immediately begin lowering the dumbbells back down for the next rep.
  7. Repeat for desired reps.
Dumbbell Press Tips:
  1. The seated dumbbell press is a solid mass building compound movement that can add serious mass when using heavy weights WITH correct form. Many lifters let the form go and add weight too quickly. This will at times result in an injury and could hinder your shoulder gains.
  2. Always use the longest range of motion possible and control the dumbbells throughout the set.
  3. This exercise can be performed while sitting on the end of a flat bench, but a back rest is preferred – especially for those with lower back problems.

2. Front Dumbbell Raise

Exercise Guide
  1. Choose a pair of dumbbells and stand up straight with your feet at around shoulder width apart.
  2. Hold the dumbbells with your arms fully extended down by your thighs in front of you body.
  3. Use an overhand grip (palms facing your body). Hold the dumbbells roughly 4 inches off of your body. This is the starting position.
  4. Begin by raising your arms straight out in front of you body with your palms facing the floor. Keep a slight bend in your elbow.
  5. Moving only at the shoulders and keeping your body as still as possible, continue raising the dumbbells out in front of you until your arms are just above parallel to the floor.
  6. Pause for a brief moment at the top of the movement, and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  7. Repeat for desired reps.
Exercise Tips:
  1. Practice good form with a light weight.
  2. Focus on moving only at the shoulders. The rest of your body should be kept as still as possible and your arms should hold the same form throughout the movement.
  3. Use slow and controlled movement – avoid “swinging” the weights up and dropping them quickly.

3. Side Lateral Raises 

Exercise Guide
  1. The dumbbell lateral raise is a good exercise for building width in your upper body which gives you the “V” shape. Grab a set of dumbbells and stand straight up with the dumbbells at your sides.
  2. Your palms should be facing your body. You should be holding the dumbbells slightly off your body, as this keeps the tension on the side delts. This is your starting position for the exercise.
  3. To execute, slowly raise the dumbbells up to around shoulder height. It’s important that you do not let your wrists go above your elbows while raising the weight, as this will take the work off the side delts and put it on the front delts.
  4. Pause at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  5. Do not let the dumbbells touch your body, and then raise them for the next rep.
Lateral Raise Tips:
  1. The dumbbell lateral raise is one of those exercises that so many people do incorrectly. First, this is an isolation exercise, so you should be focusing on stretch and muscle contraction, not using heavy weights.
  2. Second, you MUST keep your rep timing slow and controlled. So many people use momentum to swing heavy weights up, and this is not going to get you the best results from the dumbbell lateral raise.
  3. Third, it very important that your elbows stay above your wrists. If your wrists come up too far, the focus comes off your side delts and onto your front delts. A good trick to ensure this does not happen is to tilt the dumbbells down as if you were pouring a jug of water as you raise them up. This makes it very hard to raise the wrists higher than the elbows.
  4. And finally, keep the side delts under stress for the whole set by not allowing the dumbbells to touch your body or “hang” at the bottom of the movement.

4. Shrugs

Exercise Guide
  1. The dumbbell shrug is a simple but very effective way of working the upper traps. Grasp a pair of dumbbells and stand straight up with the dumbbells by your sides.
  2. Let your shoulders “sag” down as far as possible.
  3. Keeping your body fixed, slowly shrug your shoulders straight up as high as possible (don’t rotate back or forwards!).
  4. Pause for a count of 1-3, and then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.
Shrug Tips:
  1. Focus on pulling the weight up with your traps and not your biceps.
  2. You don’t need to rotate the shoulders forward or back when doing shrugging exercises. The thought that this will benefit you is a myth! You should shrug straight up as high as possible.
  3. Pause at the top of the movement to get the best results from the exercise.

5. Bent Over Dumbbell Flys

Exercise Guide
  1. Grab a the set of dumbbells you want to use and sit on the end of a flat bench with your knees together.
  2. Place the dumbbells between your feet and the end of the bench.
  3. Lean over until your chest is resting on your thighs (or as far as you can go).
  4. Grasp the dumbbells with your palms facing inward and pick them up of the floor. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  5. Keeping your arms slightly bent and rotating at the shoulders only, slowly raise the dumbbells up following a semi-circle path.
  6. Raise them as high as they can go, and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  7. Pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  8. Repeat for desired reps.
Exercise Tips:
  1. Try not to use too much momentum to move the weight up.
  2. For added intensity, always pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Do not let the dumbbells touch at any point during the exercise.

So there you have it my top 5 shoulder exercises, i hope you have take a little from this article and the workout video above. See you on the next one! 

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Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

We eat clean, are always motivated and helpout beginners in need. We sell guides on Cutting, Bulking and Muscle Building. Checkout our website!

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