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15 Best Shoulder Exercises For Women

by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
15 Best Shoulder Exercises For Women April 9, 2018

Toned and open shoulders can make any woman look attractive. They create an illusion of a smaller waist, thereby making your body look proportionate. And to achieve that, you must do shoulder exercises. They will help correct your posture, strengthen your shoulders, and reduce shoulder pain. All women, irrespective of their hobbies (adventure sports), fitness goals (50 pull-ups), or profession (homemaker, record breaker, deal sealer or YouTuber), MUST do shoulder exercises. This article lists 15 best shoulder exercises for women. Get ready to rock a halter neck and a formal suit equally. Swipe up!

15 Shoulder Strengthening And Toning Exercises

Before you jump directly to the shoulder exercises, you must dedicate 10 minutes to warming up your muscles. So, let’s do that first.

Warm-up

  • Neck circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Neck tilts – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Elbow circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Shoulder rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Waist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Ankle rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Jumping jacks – 1 set of 20 reps
  • Spot jogging – 2-3 minutes
  • Standing alternating foot taps – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm stretch
  • Leg stretch

 Now, let’s get started with the shoulder exercises.

1. Dumbbell Front Raises

Shoulder Exercises For Women - Dumbbell Front Raises

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Target

Anterior (front) deltoids, lateral (side) deltoids, lats, serratus anterior (side of your chest), and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

How To Do Dumbbell Front Raises

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Stand straight, place your legs hip-width apart, hands by your side, and palms on the front of your thighs and facing them. This is the starting position.
  3. Keep your hands straight and raise them. Pause when they are at your shoulder level.
  4. Lower your arms back to the starting position.

Variation

You can also do this exercise by keeping your hands by your side and raising them, with the palms facing inward.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 12 reps

2. Standing Shoulder Press

Shoulder Exercises For Women - Standing Shoulder Press

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Target

Anterior (front) deltoids, lateral (side) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, biceps, triceps, lats, serratus anterior (side of your chest), and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

How To Do Dumbbell Shoulder Press

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your legs hip-width apart, shoulders rolled back, and chest out.
  2. Lift your arms so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Your forearms should be at 90 degrees with your upper arms, and the palms facing forward. This is your starting position.
  3. Engage your core, straighten your arms, and press the dumbbells right over your head.
  4. Flex your elbows and bring your arms back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 15 reps

3. Lateral Raises

Shoulder Exercises For Women - Lateral Raises

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Target

Medial or lateral (side) deltoids, lats, and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

How To Do Lateral Raises

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart, shoulders rolled back, and chest out.
  2. Bend your elbow slightly, keep your hands by your side, and palms facing inward. This is your starting position.
  3. Raise your arms until they are at the shoulder level.
  4. Pause for a moment and bring your arms down to the starting position.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 12 reps

4. Bent Arm Lateral Raises

Target

Medial or lateral (side) deltoids, anterior (front) deltoids, lats, pectoralis major (chest muscle), and serratus anterior (side of your chest).

How To Do Bent Arm Lateral Raises

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Stand straight, keep your legs shoulder-width apart, hands by your side, palms facing inward, shoulders rolled back, and chest out.
  3. Bend your elbows so that your forearms are at 90 degrees with your upper arms, and the palms are facing each other. Bend your knees slightly to support your back. This is the starting position.
  4. Exhale, and keeping your elbows locked, lift your arms until they are at shoulder-level.
  5. Pause for a moment, inhale, and bring your arms back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 15 reps

5. Push-ups

Shoulder Exercises For Women - Push-ups

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Target

Anterior (front) deltoids, lateral (side) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, biceps, triceps, lats, serratus anterior (side of your chest), and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

How To Do Push-ups

  1. Get down in a plank position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, abs tight, and body in a straight line.
  2. Bend your elbows to the sides, and lower your body towards the floor. Make sure your body remains in a straight line.
  3. Press up back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 reps

6. Pec Deck Butterfly

Target

Anterior (front) deltoids, pectoralis major (chest muscle), triceps, and lats.

How To Do Pec Deck Butterfly

  1. Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Lift the dumbbells by bending your elbows such that your upper arms are parallel to the ground, and your forearms are upright and at 90 degrees with the upper arms.
  3. Engage your abs and bring your elbows close in front of your face.
  4. Push them back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 15 reps

7. Seated Bent Over Rear Delt Raise

Target

Lateral (side) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, biceps, triceps, lats, serratus anterior (side of your chest), and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

How To Do Dumbbell Front Raises

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and sit on a flat bench. Keep your legs together, and bend your upper body so that your chest is near your knees.
  2. Place your hand behind your calves, with the palms facing each other. Keep your neck in line with your spine. This is your starting position.
  3. Exhale and lift the dumbbells straight to your sides until both the arms are parallel to the floor. Make sure your elbows are slightly bent.
  4. Pause, inhale, and slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 12 reps

8. Dumbbell Upright Rows

Target

Lateral (side) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, biceps, triceps, lats, rhomboids, serratus anterior (side of your chest), and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

How To Do Dumbbell Upright Rows

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Stand straight with the legs hip-width apart, shoulders rolled back, chest out, and palms facing your thighs. This is the starting position.
  2. Draw the dumbbells up to your chest level by flexing your elbows. They should be near your chest. Keep your elbows away from your body, upper arms at shoulder height, palms facing inward, and wrists lower than your elbows.
  3. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 12 reps

9. Reverse Fly

Target

Posterior (back) deltoids,  lats, rhomboids, serratus anterior (side of your chest), pectoralis major (chest muscle), biceps, triceps, and traps.

How To Do Reverse Fly

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and place your legs close to each other. Bend forward at 45 degrees. Keep your knees slightly bent, and each hand in front of your thighs. This is the starting position.
  2. Lift your arms to your side.
  3. Pause for a moment and then bring them back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 12 reps

10. Overhead Tricep Extensions

Target

Posterior (back) deltoids, triceps, lats, serratus anterior (side of your chest), and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

How To Do Overhead Tricep Extensions

  1. Grab a dumbbell with both hands. Rest your palm on the inner side of the top dumbbell head, and sIt on a bench on a chair.
  2. Raise your arms and bring the dumbbell right over your head. This is the starting position.
  3. Flex your elbows, and keeping your upper arms stationary, lower your forearms so that the dumbbells are directly behind your neck.
  4. Lift your forearms and get back to the starting position.

 Sets And Reps

2 sets of 12 reps

11. Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulder Exercises For Women - Shoulder Shrugs

Shutterstock

Target

Lateral (side) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, lats, levator scapulae (side of your neck), and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

 How To Do Shoulder Shrugs

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Place your hands by your side with the palms facing inward. Stand straight with your abs tight, shoulders rolled back, and chest up.
  2. Raise your shoulders to your ears in a shrug as high as you can. Hold for 15 seconds.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 12 reps

12. Pike Push-up

Target

Anterior (front) deltoids, lateral (side) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, triceps, serratus anterior (side of your chest), and pectoralis major (chest muscle).

How To Do Pike Push-up

  1. Get into the plank position and push your hips up towards the sky such that you are in the Downward Dog pose.
  2. Bend your elbows, and try to touch your head to the floor and press up.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

13. Elbow Plank

Shoulder Exercises For Women - Elbow Plank

Shutterstock

Target

Anterior (front) deltoids, lateral (side) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, triceps, abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

 How To Do Elbow Plank

  1. Assume the push-up position.
  2. Flex your right elbow and place your right forearm on the floor. Do the same with your left.
  3. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 30-60 second hold

14. Plank Ups

Target

Anterior (front) deltoids, lateral (side) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, triceps, biceps, abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do Plank Ups

  1. Get into a push-up position. Keep your core engaged, neck in line with your spine, and look down.
  2. Flex your right elbow and place your right forearm flat on the floor.
  3. Flex your left elbow and place your left forearm flat on the floor. You are now in an elbow plank position.
  4. Without pausing, place your right palm flat on the floor and extend your right arm. And then, place your left palm flat on the floor and extend your left arm. Now, you will be in a push-up position.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 12 reps

15. Side Plank

Shoulder Exercises For Women - Side Plank

Shutterstock

Target

Lateral (side) deltoids, anterior (front) deltoids, posterior (back) deltoids, triceps, biceps, abs, obliques, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do Side Plank

  1. Lie down on your right side, and keep your right elbow flexed and on the mat, directly below your shoulder. Your right forearm should be at 90 degrees with the upper arm, and the right palm flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor. You can place your left palm on your waist or fully extend it with your palm facing forward.
  3. Make sure your neck is in line with your spine. Do not drop it down.
  4. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.
  5. Do it on the other side as well.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 30-60 second hold

These are the 15 best shoulder exercises for women. But we are not finished yet. You must cool down and relax after you complete your workout session. Here’s what you should do.

Cool Down

Cooling down is as important as warming up your muscles. It will help you relax and prevent any delayed post-workout injury. Check this video out and follow the instructions to cool down.

Feeling much relaxed and better now? That’s the power of cooling off. So, to conclude, shoulder exercises are not only for men and neither will they make you muscular. Regularly doing a few shoulder exercises will improve your upper body strength and add an X-factor to your personality. Talk to your trainer and start exercising your shoulders today. Good luck!

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Charushila is an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition and a full-time contributor to Diet & Weight Loss at Stylecraze. She believes that food has healing powers and eating good food is the best way to lose weight. A binge eater-turned-fitness enthusiast, Charushila likes to share her knowledge and experience with the world. When she is not working, she loves to cook healthy food, watch movies, travel, workout, and read Bengali literature.
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