The Best Shoulder Workouts for At-Home Training, Bodybuilding, and Strength

You probably don’t think about it much, but your shoulders are very important. First, they connect your arms to your torso (so there it is). You can rotate your arms 360 degrees thanks to your shoulders – allowing you to throw a fast ball, lunge a jab, and perform the YMCA dance without the worry in the world.

Strong shoulders also allow you to press the barbell above the head, resulting in increased upper body strength and broader shoulders (which we bet most people won’t miss). Whether you’re looking for more strength, at home, or a specific bodybuilding plan, we’ve put together a list of different shoulder exercises for you to try.

Best shoulder exercises

Editor’s Note: Content on BarBend is meant to be informational in nature, but should not replace advice and/or supervision from a medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment of health problems. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Shoulder workout for bodybuilding

Bodybuilders are rated on muscle mass, conditioning, and symmetry. Broad shoulders create the appearance of a wider torso and contribute to the illusion of a slim waist – the amplification of the V shape that bodybuilders and bodybuilding enthusiasts desire.

the exercise

The exercise below has a lot more volume than you’re accustomed to performing one part of the body. Size leads to growth, and it is necessary to target each of the three heads of the deltoid – posterior, lateral and anterior.

Do the exercises marked with the same letter as a comprehensive set – back to back without resting between movements. Do this exercise two to three times a week. If you are a new lifter, try it once a week. Aim to finish each set with two backup reps.

  • A 1. Sitting Overhead Press: 5 x 12,10,8,10,12
  • A 2. Dumbbell lateral raise: 3 x 10-12
  • B 1. Low machine row: 4 x 12, 10, 8, amrab
  • B2. Standing dumbbell row: 4 x 12, 10, 8, amrab
  • C1. Incline EZ Front Lift Bar: 3 x 12
  • C2. Dumbbell lateral incline: 3 x 12
  • C 3. Backhoe fly machine for fly machine: 3 x 12

Coach tip: If you find yourself operating your traps during a lateral raise, lie down on a bench, set at a 70 to 80 degree tilt, and perform from a prone position.

Shoulder workout for strength

Stronger shoulders allow you to put more pressure on your head—a literal requirement of strength competitors and Olympic weightlifters—and help with weightlifting movements like the bench press. For functional fitness athletes, shoulder strength translates into more push-ups for the hands and muscle reps.

the exercise

For the first two exercises, work on a hard set of five reps of your final set. Week after week, aim for more of these combinations to be challenging. So, the first week you’ll push through the fifth set. The second week, you’ll push it into the fourth and fifth sets, and then the third week sees that you’re working hard for the third, fourth, and fifth sets.

Rest a lot between movements – two to three minutes. You should perform this exercise once a week.

  • A 1. Top bar piston: 5 x 5, rest 2-3 minutes between sets
  • B 1. Row bending over iron: 5 x 5, rest 2-3 minutes between sets
  • C1. Incline Bar Bench Press: 3 x 8, rest 2-3 minutes between sets
  • D1. Incline dumbbell front raise: 3 x 10-12
  • D 2. Dumbbell Lateral Incline: 3 x 10-12
  • E 1. Delt rear fly machine: 3 x 15

Coach tip: Regulating your posture when you hit your head will help reduce rib flare and keep you stable, so you don’t overwork your lower back and likely straighten it.

shoulder exercises for men

Some studies show that men have more Type II muscle fibers than women, which means they are generally better at producing more strength for shorter periods. (1) The workout below has been designed with this supposed result in mind, tending to a range of eight to 12 reps – allowing for a heavy weight while building up enough tension needed to build muscle.

the exercise

The mechanical drop set to start is brutal in the best possible way, allowing you to pack more volume into the compound set as exercises are performed within 20 seconds of each other. After you’ve completed your A’s done in a row, be sure to take a three-minute rest before restarting the all-out set, finishing it, and then moving on to the next exercise.

We do this exercise twice a week. If you’re a beginner (say, with less than six months of training under your belt), do this exercise only once a week.

  • A 1. Shoulder Press 3 x 8
  • A2. Bench press 3 x 8
  • A3. Standing dumbbell row: 3 x 12
  • B 1. High row curved dumbbells: 3 x 12
  • B2. Dumbbell lateral incline: 3 x 12
  • B3. Back fly machine for fly machine: 3 x 12
  • C1. 6 ways: 3 x 8-10 reps

Coach tip: If you don’t have access to a rear delta fly, use dumbbells or a band to get the rear delta working.

shoulder workout for women

On the other hand, it was found that women in general have type I muscle fibers (1), which can withstand greater endurance than their type II counterparts. Other than that, it is important to note that there should not be significant differences in how a man or a woman is trained. As long as you work near failure, track your progress, and accumulate enough volume, you will see gains.

the exercise

You’ll perform 18 sets of total shoulder exercises, and most exercises require you to press up to 15 times. Drills with the same letter should be performed consecutively, without a break between them. Rest for two to three minutes after each superset. Do this exercise once or twice a week.

  • A 1. Dumbbell shoulder press: 3 x 15
  • A2: Dumbbell lateral raise: 3 x 15
  • A3. Flexion of the dumbbell back joint flight: 3 x 15
  • A4: Dumbbell shoulder extension with bent straight arm: 3 x 15
  • B 1. Crawling Bear: 3 x 25 feet (forward and aft)
  • B2. 6 ways: 3 x 8-10 reps

Coach tip: Make sure to keep your back flat while the bear crawls. You want to feel the tension on the abdominal muscles, shoulders and shoulders.

At home shoulder workout

Weights are the only way, right? No. Not even a little. While free weights allow you to load your shoulder with more weight and target muscles from very specific angles, you can do a lot of damage (the good kind, that is) just with your own body weight and a resistance band.

the exercise

The caveat with using only body weight and garter is that reps and size go up a lot. Since you can’t build tension with heavier weights, you’ll perform more reps and juggle the lifting tempo.

Push each set to failure. For movements that require slowing down the tempo, choose a resistance that causes you to fail the number of repetitions while also completing the set tempo (most likely, this will be a very light weight). You can perform this exercise up to three times a week.

  • A1: Pay Pike: 4 x amrab
  • B 1. High banded row: 3 x 15
  • B2. band pull out: 3 x 15
  • C1. Band lateral raise: 3 x 15 (light, 5-0-5 times)
  • C2. crawling bear: 3 x 25 feet (forward and aft)

Coach tip: As you progress and begin to look for ways to make exercise progress, in particular, you can do the following:

Shoulder training benefits

Shoulder training offers more than just aesthetics. Here are some other benefits that you will likely notice once you start implementing regular shoulder exercises into your routine.

stability and durability

A stronger shoulder is a sturdier shoulder, and the more stable you are within the shoulder joint, the safer you are when exercising. One study found that as the activity of the subscapularis muscle (the rotator cuff muscle) increased, the stability of the shoulders increased. (2) Therefore, it is suggested that you have a balanced programme. You need to strengthen all sides of the shoulders, and once you do, you should reap the rewards of more stability.

More pressing force

Strong shoulders are (probably) important to you whether you are a strength athlete or a general athlete. Without it, you can’t clean and apply pressure on a heavy axle, do push-ups to strengthen a jerk, or maximize bench pressure.

front dumbbell raise

Shoulders are involved in nearly every upper body exercise, whether in a big or small way.


It’s okay to take care of your appearance, broad and defined shoulders can accentuate your upper body while making your waist look choppy. In clothes, they expand your frame, so even if you’re wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, it’s pretty obvious that you’re lifting it.

shoulder anatomy

The shoulders are a ball joint in the socket, known as the glenohumeral joint, allowing 360-degree movement of the arm.

The glenohumeral joint is shallow, so movement comes at the expense of lack of stability and joint integrity. Increased muscle mass around the shoulder girdle leads to increased strength and stability of the shoulder. The shoulder, also known as the deltoid muscle, has three heads that move the shoulder in different directions and perform specific movements.

Here’s what you need to know about the anatomy of your shoulder muscles.


The shoulders mostly flex the arm above the head and abduct the arm horizontally and horizontally. You want to perform exercises that reach the front, side and back of the shoulders – 3D shoulders leap off your frame and are a fitness highlight for anyone. The deltoid muscle consists of three heads and allows different movements to be performed at the shoulder joint.

The three heads of the deltoid muscle are known as:

  • anterior deltoid muscle
  • medial deltoid muscle
  • Posterior deltoid muscle

Rotator cuff and shoulder blade (shoulder)

scapula It is secured and supported by a group of muscles whose position allows movement at the glenohumeral joint.

One of the characteristics of the scapula is that it is not connected to any other bones directly. It is understood as a conceptual joint in which various muscles and tensions provide stability and allow the shoulder to function freely.

rotator cuff muscles Provides stability and allows optimal shoulder function.

supraspinatus, infraspinatus, small trochanter, and subcapularis Stabilization of the humeral head and the synchronization between the scapula and the shoulder joint. You can target and activate these muscles with a thoughtful warm-up.

Anterior serratus allows For correct upward rotation and lengthening of the shoulder blade, keeping the shoulder blade off the flank and allowing for optimal pain-free push-up performance.

How to warm your shoulders

This warm-up will awaken the deep shoulder muscles, and contribute to increased shoulder stability. Increasing blood flow to the area and warming up local muscle groups will prepare you for a safe and effective exercise.

The time specified here pays off in the long run and may help you reduce your risk of injury. This is a necessary setting, and proper setting prevents poor performance. A better, safer workout with a little preparation and a warm-up sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I urge you to do it and commend you for cutting corners.

Shoulder warm-up


  1. Lundsgaard AM and Kiens B (2014) Gender differences in skeletal muscle substrate metabolism–molecular mechanisms and insulin sensitivity. Before. Endocrinol. 5:195. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2014.00195
  2. Labriola J, Lee TQ, Dipsky RE, McMahon PJ. Stability and instability of the glenohumeral joint: the role of the shoulder muscles. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2005 from January to February; 14 (one accessory S): 32S-38S. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2004.09.014. PMID: 15726085.

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