10 Best Shoulder Exercises

Shoulder Exercise

The list of exercises that you are about to read is dependent on two factors:-

  1. EMG ( Electromyography), it is a test which measures the electrical activity in deltoids and the ability of an exercise to accommodate the load. For Example:- a person can do an overhead barbell press with 190 pounds but you can use only 35 pounds for lateral raises.
  2. And our judgment is based on the years of weight lifting.

For every exercise, we will tell you how to perfectly do that exercise. And if you disagree with our thoughts then you can comment on your suggestions.

1. Barbell Push Press

Barbell Push Press

This exercise allows you to put on the highest weight as compared to other overhead press exercises. It is considered more of a full body movement to establish explosiveness, due to this you can lose some isolation effect if you will do this exercise while seated.

Bend your knees slightly with the barbell on the top of the upper chest and explode upward on the balls of your feet while pressing the bar overhead. It involves your lower body, core, delts, triceps, and upper pecs.

It looks like a bodybuilding exercise but it is more of a strength and movement exercise. In addition, doing movements that a lot of muscle mass boost hormones better than movements that do not.

In your training:- Since this variation uses so many groups of muscles, don’t do it in every workout. When you do this exercise do it in your first workout after warming up well.

2. Standing Military Press

Standing Military Press

It is a highly demanding multijoint overhead press, it is not seated movement but still allows for a bit of momentum as well as increased muscle activation as compared to the seated form.

In this exercise, you have to place the bar just off your upper chest as shown in the image and push straight up your overhead and stop just short of lockout. Slightly bend your knees to absorb subtle changes in your center of gravity and relieve some of the stress on your lower back. We can do this exercise both by barbell and dumbbell. You have to maintain a neutral hip position.

In Your Training:- This is an overhead multijoint press so it can replace any of the other press exercises on the list of these exercises. You should warm up well before doing this exercise. You should use a challenging weight but not that much heavy that will break your form. And if your triceps are not good then you should this exercise by dumbbells because they don’t require much triceps activation.   

3. Dumbbell Incline Row

Dumbbell Incline Row

It is one of the best shoulder exercise. Among the various rowing exercises it is considered as the most effective exercise for shoulder’s.

In Your Training:- If you do both shoulder and back exercise on the same day it would be a smart decision to transition between two body parts. 

4. Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press

The switching out of the barbell on an averhead presses works independently on each side, making the move more challenging requires more stabilizer muscles input. In addition, the range of motion is little longer when you press the overhead weights together ( We recommend that you do not touch the dumbbells).

Going to seated position from the standing position removes your lower body from the lift. The middle delts are heavily recruited, with far less stress on the anterior delts, when a barbell is in front of your head because your upper arms go straight to your sides duing the movement.

In Your Workout:- Firstly, do it in your shoulder session. If you do this exercise while sitting it will be easier for you to increase weight as compared to standing posture because of increased base support. For safety of your back spine we recommend you the back seat while doing the exercise.

It will be really hard to increase weight while into position than it looks. Beginners try this:- when prepairing to hoist the dumbbells overhead, grab a weight in each hand, sit down, place the dumbbells on your thighs in the direction of your knees, and quickly lift one knee in the direction of your shoulder. Repeat the exercise using the opposite knee.

5. Seated Overhead Barbell Press

Seated barbell shoulder press muscle performance

Sitting not only makes it difficult to be in momentum, but also creates a good base from which to push the weight. A barbell includes a high degree of triceps musculature than dumbbells. If you have sore shoulder’s then you should keep your shoulder in front.

When you lower the barbell to the front, you have to notice how your upper arms no longer move out directly to your sides, an indication that some of the workload is now picked by the previous delts. 

In Your Workout:- Do this in your workout for the first time and use difficult weights. Use heavy weights for heavy sets. 

6. Upright Row

Upright Row​

There’s another multi-joint movement family that also targets the middle delts. Every variation whether on a cable, an EZ bar or barbell, or using a smith machine, has its advantages, but none of them is intrinsically better than others. The comfort of the wrist may be the deciding factor for you. And do not take a close grip use wide grip only. 

Although a closer grip increases a range of motion, a wider grip has been shown to have significantly higher delt activation, minimizing the role of biceps in the movement.

In Your Workout:- Although it is a multijoint movement do not this exercise in your workout first. You must do this exercise after the overhead press. It can also be done at end of your workout as a burnout move.

7. Arnold Press

Arnold Press​

Firstly, you have to start with the dumbbells in front of your shoulders and your palms should face yourself. Then you have to press the dumbbells to your overhead and twist your wrist simultaneously as shown in the image and in a top position your palms should face forward. When lowering weights rotate your wrists in opposite direction.

In Your Workout:- You must do this exercise on the second number on your workout list after the overhead presses. And take a higher rep range than the overhead press.  

8. Machine Rear-Delt Fly

Machine Rear-Delt Fly​

There are three single joint arc movements. We do this exercise before the front heads and middle heads because of the rear body really undertrained as compared to the others. It is important to maintain the size and strength of rear delt compared to the other two for posture and rotator cutoff health.

You can also do bent over version with dumbbells to impact posterior delts, lifters often cheat and sling the weights with poor control. You must go for a neutral grip while doing the rear pec-deck on a machine to maximally activate the muscle.

In Your Workout:-  Perform your multijoint movements first, but if your rear delts are lagging do this first in your order of isolation.


9. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Dumbbell Lateral Raise​​

For the middle delts, this is a great single joint movement, but they harder to master than they seem. Beginners often find it difficult to learn how to lead with their elbows. They also tend to rest at the bottom of the motion, when in fact it is better to stop the downward arc when their arms are about 30 degrees.

In Your Workout:- After multi joint presses, position it with other single-joint movements but be aware of the amount of stimulation your middle delts may already have. Many of the above mentioned movements particularly well target the middle delts.

10. Front Dumbbell Raise

Front Dumbbell Raise​

The straight arm lifting directly in front of you emphasizes your deltoids anterior head. We put this exercise in last because the front delts tend to be inappropriately large among people who overdo chest training compared to back muscles.

In your workout:- Do it during the latter half of your shoulder training after completing your multi-joint movements. Depending on whether your front delts are relatively weaker than the others, position them in front of single-joint movements for the other delt heads.

Yash Sharma

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