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Best Shoulder Press Variations for Stronger Shoulders

Not sure which shoulder press variation is right for you? Read on to learn about the best shoulder press variations to help you build stronger shoulders.

Stronger shoulders don’t just look good–they also help keep your neck and upper back healthy, improve your posture, and protect your shoulder joints. It’s like a chain reaction: When one area is strong, the others tend to be, too. So check out the best shoulder press variations for stronger shoulders below.

Undoubtedly, growing strong and muscular shoulders is a common goal for many weightlifters. However, just like any other muscle group, your shoulders need to be trained with a variety of exercises and consistently challenged with progressive overload to grow.

Whether you’re looking to add some variety to your shoulder workouts or you’re simply searching for a new and challenging way to build strength, pressing variations are a great place to start. They allow you to work all three heads of the shoulder–the anterior, medial, and posterior–and can be done with a variety of implements, such as dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells.

Read More: 5 Best Shoulder Pressing Exercises for Strength

That being said, there are many different ways that you can perform a shoulder press, each with its own unique benefits. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best shoulder press variations for strength building.

Best Shoulder Press Variations

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The dumbbell shoulder press is a great exercise for building strength and muscular endurance in the shoulders. This exercise can be done with one dumbbell or two, depending on your preference and level of strength.

To perform the dumbbell shoulder press, stand tall with feet shoulder width. Holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level, press the weights straight overhead until your arms are fully extended. Lower the dumbbells back down to shoulder level and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.

Kettlebell Shoulder Press

The kettlebell shoulder press is a great exercise for developing strength and power in the shoulders. This exercise can be done with one kettlebell or two, depending on your strength level.

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To perform the kettlebell shoulder press, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and the kettlebell(s) racked at shoulder level. Grab the kettlebell with one hand and press it straight overhead, extending your arm until it is fully extended. Lower the kettlebell back down to shoulder level and repeat for 8-12 repetitions before switching sides.

Barbell Shoulder Press

The barbell shoulder press is a classic exercise that challenges the anterior and medial head of the shoulder. This exercise can be done with a variety of barbells, such as a standard barbell, an Olympic barbell, or a trap bar.

athlete performs barbell press

Here’s how to do the barbell shoulder press:

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and the barbell racked at shoulder level. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart. Press the barbell straight overhead, extending your arms until they are fully extended. Lower the barbell back down to shoulder level and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Yes, the dumbbell shoulder press is so good that it is twice in our list of best shoulder press variations. This one is the seated version, which is a great exercise for targeting the medial head of the shoulder. This exercise can be done with one dumbbell or two, depending on your strength level.

So how do you do the seated dumbbell shoulder press? It’s actually pretty simple:

Start by sitting on a bench with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground. Holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level, press the weights straight overhead until your arms are fully extended. Lower the dumbbells back down to shoulder level and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

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The dumbbell lateral raise targets the lateral head of the shoulder. This exercise can be done with one dumbbell or two, depending on your preference and level of strength.

Here’s a quick rundown of how to do the dumbbell lateral raise:

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Holding the dumbbells at your sides, raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel with the ground. Lower the dumbbells back down to your sides and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.

Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Although primarily an arm exercise, the overhead dumbbell triceps extension is great for targeting the posterior head of the shoulder. This exercise can be done with one dumbbell or two, depending on your strength level.

To perform the overhead dumbbell triceps extension, start by sitting on a bench with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, press the weights overhead until your arms are fully extended. From here, bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells behind your head. Extend your arms and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.

Barbell Front Raise

Next in our list of best shoulder press variations is the barbell front raise. If you want to target the anterior head of the shoulder, try this one. This exercise can be done with a variety of barbells, such as a standard barbell, an Olympic barbell, or a trap bar.

To perform the barbell front raise, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and the barbell racked in front of you at shoulder level. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart. Press the barbell straight overhead, extending your arms until they are fully extended. Lower the barbell back down to shoulder level and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.

Dumbbell Rear Lateral Raise

The dumbbell rear lateral raise is a great exercise for targeting the posterior head of the shoulder. This exercise can be done with one dumbbell or two, depending on your strength level.

To do the dumbbell rear lateral raise, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Holding the dumbbells at your sides, raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel with the ground. Lower the dumbbells back down to your sides and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.

Wrapping Up

The shoulder press is a great exercise for building strong and muscular shoulders. However, there are a variety of different ways that you can perform the shoulder press to target different parts of the shoulder.

It’s always a good idea to mix up your exercises and try different variations to keep your workouts fresh and avoid plateaus. Keep this list of best shoulder press variations bookmarked somewhere and return to it every couple of weeks. By incorporating some of these variations into your shoulder press routine, you can build stronger and more defined shoulders. Happy lifting!

Read More: 8 Best Shoulder Exercises for Mass When Training at Home

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