These exercises will help you build strong, functional and muscular shoulders.
The problem is that many gym rats have strong front deltoids from all the Bench Pressing over the years.
Although the Bench Press is a great exercise for overall front shoulder strength, it may at some point pull your upper body forwards if the upper body is not developed in balance, and any asymmetries are not addressed.
Use the following exercises to build stronger and more resistant shoulders.
MUSCULAR SHOULDERS EXERCISE 1: Lateral Raises
Do this exercise without any momentum. If you see that this is not possible for you while standing, take a seat.
The weight will start at your sides, not in front of your body, to prevent you from using your back to cheat the motion. Control the tempo as you raise the weight. Pause at the top and descend slowly. Imagine the Dumbbells are each a glass of water that you want to spill slowly.
MUSCULAR SHOULDERS EXERCISE 2: Overhead Press
Overhead Press means any exercise where you put weight over your (surprise): head.
It includes Military Presses (another name for the same exercise) and Dumbbell Presses among others. If you do this exercises standing, hold your core tight, tense your glutes so that your spine gets into a neutral position and press slowly upward. Start with the weight placed on your shoulders, elbows in front.
The Head bypasses the barbell not the other way round. Press until the arms are fully extended to get the full ROM. If reached the end position lean a bit(!) forward to full tension.
MUSCULAR SHOULDERS EXERCISE 5: Rear Delt Flys
Rear Delt Flys tackle the ulterior Shoulder. The most common neglected area and therefore one of the most important ones.
As you have to lean forward it is important to maintain a neutral spine position. Control your position in a mirror if possible. To reach a position with a straight back it is helpful to feel your hamstrings being on tension. Do not keep your head up but watch at the bottom in front of you to keep the neutral spine position. If you can not hold the position try to do the exercise laying ventrally on a bench.
Grab the dumbbells with your palms facing towards each other. Keep a neutral grip. This will be your starting position.
Make sure that your arms are extended in front of you, perpendicular to the bench and your legs remain stationary throughout.Slightly bend your elbows, and move the dumbbells away from each other while you exhale.
Keep the motion smooth and simultaneous throughout. For a tighter contraction, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep on elevating the arms until they are parallel to the floor. While it’s pretty hard to hold the position, try to feel the contraction and gradually lower the weights without rumbling.
MUSCULAR SHOULDERS EXERCISE 4: Butterfly Reverse
Again the rear delts? What about my front? Don´t worry, your frontal shoulders are covered at your chest day. But aren´t my rear delts involved in my Back training? Indeed, if you do the correct exercises with the correct technique. And to elude that “if”, we have another rear delt exercise here.
- Sit on the machine pad seat, facing the pad. Arrange the seat height so that the handles are level with your shoulders.
- Grasp the handles.
- Pull back, keeping your elbows level with your hands. Bring your shoulder blades together.
- Hold for 1-2 seconds, then release slowly back to the starting position.
By holding your hands higher than the elbows you can isolate your shoulders more from the back.
MUSCULAR SHOULDERS EXERCISE 5: Shrugs
Shrugs are the mass building component for your neck. Stand still, with your back tight and your shoulders slightly taken back. Now pull the shoulders up, hold, down, repeat. Your body should stand still during the whole exercise, the most common mistake is the chicken neck, which means you put your head forward while exercising.
MUSCULAR SHOULDERS EXERCISE 6: Front Raises
Front dumbbell raises are the best exercise to isolate the anterior deltoid head and a way to completely fatigue it.
Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing you. Stand upright with your back straight and your feet about hip-width apart. Look straight ahead. Stabilize your torso by tightening your torso and pulling your shoulder blades down and together. Maintain this posture throughout the movement.
Raise your elbows and shoulders at the same rate. Lead with your elbows.
Keep your body upright. Don’t lean backward to counterbalance for the sake of using a heavier dumbbell. As you lift the dumbbells, do not allow your wrists to bend. Maintain a neutral wrist position. Do not hold your breath; inhale as you lower the dumbbells and exhale as you lift the dumbbells.
MUSCULAR SHOULDERS EXERCISE 7: Dips
- Grab the bars and jump up. Balance yourself with locked elbows.
- Lower your body by bending your arms. Lean your torso slightly forward.
- Go down until your shoulders are below your elbows at the bottom.
- Lift your body back up to the starting position by straightening your arms.
- Balance yourself with your shoulders over your hands. Lock your elbows.
Building Strong and Muscular Shoulders
- Muscular-shoulders-Sara-Sigmundsdottir: Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc