Best Shoulder Exercises

So, you signed up for a gym and dedicated yourself to increasing your shoulders ? Amazing — you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled 10 of the most proven shoulder exercises that will strengthen every part of your deltoid muscles, as well as your trapezius and triceps.

When using the following best shoulder exercises, use a load of 50 to 70 percent of your maximum of one rep if you’re sure you’re doing it right. Incorrect execution + heavy weights = injury, especially in a very mobile joint such as the shoulders.

How to organize training sessions correctly?

The decision to pump up the shoulders did not come from scratch. Either someone strongly recommended it to you, or in the process of working on yourself, you felt that this area is not all right. In any case, the most logical option is to start going to the gym. And you will definitely need a trainer who will assess your baseline, prioritize, and advise you on an effective course of shoulder exercises.

If you are not new to the sport, you will not need an instructor: you can develop a training plan yourself. It doesn’t matter where you train — in the gym or at home. The main thing is to have access to the necessary sports equipment.

And don’t forget about the three principles of effective learning:


10 best shoulder exercises
Sliding against the wall

This should be done without any weight at all and before each shoulder workout. Why? One of the key things to keep in mind when training your shoulders is the need to have the necessary mobility in your shoulder. If this is not enough, it can cause potential problems for the shoulder joint.
Sliding against the wall on your shoulders

Execution technique:

Stand against the wall, arms at right angles, pointed up like soccer goal posts.
Slowly raise your arms straight up over your head, then return at a right angle, pressing your forearms and the back of your hands against the wall (if you can).

Sitting dumbbell press

The sitting dumbbell press is pretty much the perfect exercise for building the front and middle deltas. Using dumbbells provides more freedom of movement with the weight and insulates each shoulder, so if one is weaker than the other, you can work on it.

Performed together, alternately, or with one hand, these presses are great for gaining weight in the shoulders.
Sitting dumbbell press

Execution technique:

Sit up straight, with your lower back slightly tilted forward. Shoulder blades close together, shoulders straight.
Lift the dumbbells off the floor, spread your arms. Dumbbells should be at shoulder level. This is the starting position.
Lift the dumbbells while exhaling.
Lower the dumbbells to the level of the ears or just below. Nuance — when you lower the dumbbells under the back of the head-the upper part of the trapeze begins to work. If you want to use it, lower the dumbbells as low as possible. If you swing the deltoid muscles, then you should not lower the dumbbells below the back of the head.

Overhead barbell press

The overhead barbell press is often best used as a transition to free weights once you can get the full range of motion. The barbell is the perfect tool to train with a lot of weight. This can overload the shoulder muscles and cause them to grow.
Overhead barbell press

Execution technique:

You need to set the racks to a suitable height. The barbell should rest loosely on your chest;
The grip is shoulder-width apart, the athlete takes the bar from both sides, the grip is tight enough, then the chest is brought under the bar and the athlete unbends his legs, removing the bar from the racks;
Moving away from the racks looks like a classic squat. After that, the athlete tightens the press, stabilizes the lower back, rests his feet on the platform and presses the bar up in one movement along an elliptical trajectory;
the correct trajectory of the projectile is up in an arc behind the head, not straight ahead;
Lowering also occurs smoothly;
Touching the chest with each movement is required only if the athlete works without pain and discomfort. In itself, lowering is not a necessary element of the exercise.

Craving for the face

This exercise affects both the posterior deltas and the back. You’ll hold the rope at chin level to essentially perform a wide-elbow pull while standing.
Craving for the face

Starting position:

We put the required number of blocks.
We take the edges of the rope with a reverse grip.
Take a step or two back, and pull the cable tight.
The arms are extended forward and joined.
Shoulders down, shoulder blades apart, eyes forward. Back straight.
The legs are shoulder-width apart and slightly bent in the palms.
Slightly deflect the torso back. We strain the press.


On the exhalation, we pull the handle to the face, spreading the elbows to the sides and bringing the shoulder blades together. At the same time, we turn our hands outwards.
We make a small pause at the extreme point, allowing the target muscles to work in static.
On the exhalation, we return to the starting position.

Reverse mach

This is a great exercise for maintaining optimal posture, it targets the posterior fibers of the shoulder. In most people, the anterior delta is predominant due to the large number of bench presses, so these exercises help counteract this. Exercise is essential if you want to have healthy, rounded shoulders.
Reverse mach

Execution technique:

Place your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
Lower your hands with the dumbbells down freely, then bend your arms at the elbows, maintaining the position, bringing the dumbbells closer to each other at the level of the pelvis.
Tilt your torso slightly forward.
On the exhalation, perform swings to the sides, pushing out your elbows, turning your hands to the ceiling.
As you exhale, slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.

Lifting dumbbells in front of you

Lifting dumbbells in front of you works on the anterior deltoid muscles. Since the arms are straight and fit the front of the body, you need to be sure that you have the right weight. You will also feel your main work as you lift weights.

Execution technique:

We raise it due to the effort of the front deltas at shoulder level;
Lowering on the exhalation;
The dumbbells along the entire trajectory are at the same distance from each other. Do not push them too far apart on the sides, so that the central deltas are included in the work;
Lifting with the rotation of dumbbells around the axis of the barbell is allowed only for a variety of workouts and with light weight;
Beginners can lift dumbbells one at a time if there is no stability;
If it does not work out, keep a relatively identical trajectory to the left and right, then you should perform a similar exercise: lifting with a barbell standing.

Side lifts

Side lifts are a classic shoulder exercise that targets the anterior and mid-deltoid muscles. This long lever movement makes your arms almost straight (your elbows should be slightly bent), which means you usually stick to a lighter weight for this exercise.
Side lifts
Side lift with one hand

Doing a side lift with one hand at a time can potentially even out any muscle imbalance. In addition, it is an excellent mid-delta insulator.

Execution technique:

Grab the dumbbell with one hand. With the other hand, grasp a stable surface or support for the back of the seat and move away from it, extending your arm, to a more stable position.
Stand up, press the dumbbell against your hip. This will be your starting position.
Holding the torso in a stationary state (without swaying), on the exhalation, lift the dumbbell to the side with a slight bend in the elbow. The brush should be slightly tilted forward, as if you are pouring water into a glass.
Raise your hand parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a second.
As you inhale, lower the dumbbell along the same trajectory to the starting position.
Do the required number of repetitions. Then switch hands.

Vertical dumbbell pull

The vertical dumbbell pull is another great shoulder exercise, but you need to make sure you’re doing them right. Slowly pull the dumbbells up, keeping them very close to your body, and raise your elbows just above your shoulders.
Vertical dumbbell pull
Lifting the barbell to the chin

Basic training, which is more focused on training the mid-delta crossbar, but also on pumping the trapezius muscles.
Lifting the barbell to the chin

Starting position:

standing straight, grasp the bar with a straight grip, holding it;
the distance between the hands should be about two fists.


on the exhalation, raise the barbell to the chin;
hold the barbell in the most extreme position;
take a breath, return to the starting position.


the elbows should be constantly separated, rise strictly vertically;
you can not bend the neck and back, the chin should be horizontal;
when lifting the bar to the chin, the bar must be raised above the level of the shoulders;
the weight of the barbell should not interfere with the correct performance of the exercise.

Why are these shoulder exercises the best

Because free weights and exercise machines are tested by scientists. For this purpose, electromyography (EMG) was used. With the help of special sensors, the electrical activity of the muscles was measured during the performance of a given exercise. The best was included in the article.

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