20 Effective Shoulder Exercises You Should Include In Workout September 23, 2016

Any upper body exercise, or in fact, anything that involves the use of your upper body, needs strong shoulders. Shoulder injuries are one of the most common injuries people suffer from. The reason is neglecting your shoulder muscles and not giving them the TLC they deserve.

Here are the top 20 shoulder exercises to strengthen not only your shoulder muscles, but also to strengthen the bones and joints; improve their range of motion; and sculpt those sexy shoulders.

1. Shoulder Shrug And Roll:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Shoulder Shrug and Roll is a combination exercise that uses static and dynamic stretch to warm up the shoulder muscles and joints. This exercise combines isometric and isotonic movements, which aids in toning and strengthening the muscles while improving the range of motion.

  1. Stand straight with your abs tight and back straight.
  2. Now raise your shoulders to your ears in a shrug as high as you can. Hold for 15 seconds.
  3. Now, roll your shoulders in nice circles clockwise. Do 15 reps.
  4. Do the rolls in anti-clockwise direction.
  5. Again, shrug and hold for 15 seconds.
  6. Then relax. 

2. Medical Ball Alphabets:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Medical Ball Alphabets is a very effective exercise to rehabilitate an injured shoulder and to strengthen the shoulder muscles as it targets the muscles from different directions. This helps in improving the range of motion and targets the smaller muscles, which are left out by other conventional exercises.

  1. Grab a medical ball in both your hands and keep it in front of you.
  2. Raise the ball to the shoulder level and start drawing alphabets with the ball.
  3. Make big clear alphabets with your arms outstretched in front of you.

3. Dumbbell Punches:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Dumbbell Punch combines cardio and strength and helps in sculpting the shoulders. This exercise targets the deltoids as well as your biceps and triceps. Use your heavy set of dumbbells for this move.

  1. Stand with your back erect and abs tight.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand near your chest and lower yourself down in a static squat.
  3. Now, start Jab-Cross punches with the dumbbells in hands. Put in force in each punch.
  4. Do 30 punches.

4. Reverse Butterfly:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Reverse Butterfly targets the back of your shoulders and also your pectorals. You can combine this Butterfly exercise with Bicep Curls to engage more muscles.

  1. Stand erect with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Lift the dumbbells by bending your elbows such that your forearms are in front of your face and the upper arms are parallel to the ground.
  3. Now open your arms to the sides. Make sure your arm stays at 90 degrees at the elbows.
  4. Bring back to the center.
  5. Do 15-20 butterflies. 

5. Lateral Raise:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Lateral raise is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your deltoids. If you find doing this exercise with straight arms difficult, you can keep your elbows slightly bent.

  1. Stand straight with your arms at your sides and a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your abs tight and shoulders back.
  2. Now lift your arms straight by your sides until they become parallel to the ground.
  3. Lower them back to the starting position and do 15 reps.

[ Read: Exercises To Strengthen Your Shoulders ]

6. Push-up:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

No upper body workout can be complete without push-ups. Push-up is a total integrated exercise for your body and one of the best moves for your upper body. The old-school push-up strengthens all your shoulder muscles, your chest, and your arms.

  • Get down in the Plank position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, abs tight and body in a straight line.
  • Bend your elbows to the sides and lower your body towards the floor. Make sure your body remains in a straight line and touch the floor except hands and feet.
  • Press up back to the starting position. Do 10 push-ups. 

7. Barbell Bench Press:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Barbell Bench Press is known to be a sure shot way to get strong shoulders. If you do not have a barbell, you can also use dumbbells for this exercise.

  1. Lie down on the bench and get hold of the barbell firmly.
  2. Lift the barbell up in the air until your arms are straightened.
  3. Lower the barbell towards your chest by bending your elbows and press back up.
  4. Do 12 reps in a set. 

8. Dolphin Plank:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

One of the extra benefits that a Dolphin Plank offers is that it engages the shoulder muscles more intensely than a standard plank. This exercise is an isometric movement to strengthen the shoulders.

  1. Get into the plank position with your abs engaged and body in a straight line. Make sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders.
  2. Now bend your arms and get down on your forearms. It is also called Elbow Plank or Forearm Plank.
  3. Hold the plank for 30 seconds.

9. Rolling Plank:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Rolling Plank is a dynamic variation of the Dolphin plank. It challenges your balance, which intensifies the work your shoulder muscles have to do to maintain your balance.

  1. Get into the Dolphin Plank position.
  2. Now lift your right side off the ground and balance on the left forearm and foot.
  3. Roll back to the Dolphin and then roll to your Right side.
  4. Do each side 8-10 times.

10. Pike Push-ups:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Pike Push-ups isolate the shoulder muscles to work them while stretching the entire body at the same time. These push-ups are done in the Downward Dog position.

  1. Get into the plank position and push your hips up towards the sky into a Down Dog.
  2. Now by bending your elbows, just try to touch your head to the floor and press up. These are your push-ups.
  3. Do 10-12 reps.

11. Shoulder Press:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Shoulder Press is also known as the overhead press and it targets the upper muscles of your shoulders.

  1. Stand straight with your abs tight, shoulders back and a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Lift your arms straight overhead.
  3. Bend your elbows and bring them at 90 degrees and then press back straight.
  4. Do 15 presses. 

12. Front Raise:

Front Rise targets your deltoids, trapezius muscles and strengthens your rotator cuffs. Correct form is very important for this exercise otherwise it can lead to rotator cuff injuries.

  1. Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand and keep them before your thighs.
  2. Raise the dumbbell until they become parallel to the floor and lower down.
  3. Make sure your torso remains still during this exercise. Use light weights for front raise exercise.

13. Bent-Over Row:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Bent-over Row targets your deltoids, trapezius muscles, rhomboids and lats. It is also very effective in toning the arms and strengthening the chest.

  1. Stand straight with the back flat and abs tight. Lean forward and bend your knees slightly.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and keep them in front of your thigh.
  3. Now, row the dumbbells up towards your chest and press down.
  4. Do 15 rows. 

14. Dumbbell Blade Squeeze:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Dumbbell Blade Squeeze targets your shoulder blades, the backs of your shoulders, upper back and the front of your shoulders.

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and raise your arms to your sides. Bend your elbows and bring your forearms in a perpendicular position with your upper arms, but still parallel to the floor.
  2. Now, push your elbows back and squeeze those shoulder blades. Return to the previous position.
  3. Do this for 1-2 minutes.

15. Single Arm Flye:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Single Arm Flye challenges your ROM and works on the shoulder muscles diagonally.

  1. Stand with your feet more than shoulder width apart and lower your butt in a sumo squat.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and place it near your left calf.
  3. Now, lift your arm, tracing the diagonal path until you straighten it up in the air.
  4. Bring it back and do 15 each side.

16. Reverse Flye:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

The Reverse Flye targets your posterior deltoids and rotator cuffs. It is one of the best shoulder exercises to strengthen the rhomboids and posterior shoulder muscles.

  1. Bend forward at 45 degrees and hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs.
  2. Lift your arms to your sides and bring them down.
  3. Do 12 reps.

17. Ventral Lateral Raise:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Ventral Lateral Raise is a complex move which combines two exercises – lateral raise and arm circles. It is a very effective move to target each and every shoulder muscle.

  1. Stand straight with your abs tight and shoulders back.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and keep them before your thighs.
  3. Raise your arms straight overhead, and opening them, trace a circle to your sides.
  4. Return to the starting position by retracing the path of your move.
  5. Do 12-15 reps.

18. Cow-Face Pose:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Cow-Face Pose is one of the best stretches for your arms, shoulders and chest. It improves the range of motion and stretches the muscles you just worked really good.

  1. Sit with one leg bent at the knee and heel under the other butt cheek. Bend the other leg and place that knee over the other one.
  2. Now raise your right hand up and bend at the knee such that your forearm is at the back.
  3. Take your left arm and reach behind to grab the right hand.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds and do the other side.

19. Eagle Pose:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Eagle Pose stretches your shoulder muscles in exactly the opposite direction than the Cow-Face pose. This pose can be done standing as well as sitting.

  1. Stand straight with your shoulders relaxed and back flat.
  2. Now lift one leg and wrap it over the other leg. Keep your knees slightly bent to wrap better.
  3. Now lift one arm in front of you and bend it at the elbow such that upper arm is parallel to the floor and forearm is perpendicular to it.
  4. Now take the other arm from under this bent arm and try to join your hands together in a twisted Anjali Mudra.
  5. Hold for 20-30 seconds and do the other side.

20. Reverse Prayer:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Here’s another amazing exercise for shoulder, which targets the Range of motion of the shoulders very effectively.

  1. Sit in Sukhasana with your back straight and shoulders back.
  2. Join your hands behind your back in Anjali Mudra.
  3. Hold for 15-20 seconds and breathe deeply.

So, try these exercises to get sexy, sculpted, and strong shoulders! But do not forget to warm up your shoulder muscles before the workout, and stretch them after the workout to avoid injuries. Correct form is also very important, otherwise it might lead to shoulder impingement.

Do you practice shoulder exercises at home? What is your preferred workout regimen when it comes to shoulder strengthening exercises? Share with us in the comments section below.

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