What are Some Shoulder Exercises?

Among workouts for the major muscle groups of the body, shoulder exercises are some of the least well known. Good shoulder exercises will target the shoulder, the front, middle, and rear deltoid muscles of the area, and the rotator cuff. During a shoulder workout, multiple exercises should be done to vary the range of motion and parts of the muscle used. These exercises will strengthen shoulders, add definition, increase muscle mass and burn fat. Many of these exercises can be done with free weights and dumbbells or on machines.

One of many popular shoulder exercises is the overhead press. This lift works the shoulders, middle deltoid, and the triceps. Standing or sitting, the overhead press is done with the arms bent out at the sides and the hands raised to eye level. While holding the weights, lift using the shoulder muscles and push the weight over your head without arching the upper or lower back. This exercise can be done effectively with a barbell or with dumbbells, and can be done while sitting on an exercise ball to increase the difficulty and strengthen the core of the body.

Front, rear, or side raises are the second of three effective shoulder exercises. They target the shoulder and the upper back, and are executed with many different forms. One form, the front raise, has the arms extended in front of the body with hands at shoulder level. With the elbows kept locked, the weights are lowered to the front of body, and raised again. The weights should not be lifted over shoulder level because of the extra strain added onto the shoulder muscles. The lateral raise is very similar, but the weights are lifted out to the sides of the body instead of the front.

Shoulder rotation exercises work the rotator cuff and require smaller weights and smaller ranges of motion. These are the most difficult and work the upper back and biceps as well as the shoulder muscles. Rotations can be done standing or sitting, and feature the upper arms flat against the side of the body, with the lower arm extended outward from the elbow. External rotations are done with the arm moving from in front of the body to the side, while internal rotations start in front of the body and rotate outwards.

Many fitness experts choose to do between two and four different shoulder exercises. Often, it is suggested to do two sets of 12 to 16 exercises or three sets of eight to ten exercises. Fewer repetitions and more sets are suggested for muscle building, while more repetitions are good for toning muscles. Proper rest should be taken between sets, and the weight lifted should be at a level where the muscles are worked to failure at the end of each set.


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