How to build Shoulders using a Total Gym
How to build Shoulders using a Total Gym

Best Shoulder Workouts For Home Or The Gym


Best Shoulder Workouts For Home Or The Gym

At any stage in your fitness journey, it’s common to wonder what the best exercises are to train, build strength and see results in a targeted area of your body.

When it comes to training your upper body, making shoulder exercises part of your workout routine is going to be beneficial for your posture and many daily movement patterns, as well as building strength and muscle tone. Add in some regular shoulder stretches and you’ll be setting yourself up for the best results!

Find out more about:

  • Your Shoulder Muscles
  • Shoulder Warm Up
  • Part 1: Shoulder Supersets
  • Part 2: Shoulder Workout Circuit
  • How To Modify Shoulder Workouts

While regular shoulder workouts can help to give your arms more muscle tone, it’s not just about aesthetics — your shoulder joints are very mobile and building muscle provides increased protection.

From a functional perspective, building your rotator cuff strength around the shoulder joint can help do this and lessen the likelihood of injury in the long term.

The shoulder workouts below can be done at home or the gym — you’ll just need dumbbells and a kettlebell.

Your shoulder muscles

Before we delve into some of the best shoulder workouts, let’s learn about the area of the body we’re referring to and the different muscles involved.

While there are a range of muscles that help stabilise your shoulders, such as the rotator cuff muscles, the main muscle group you are working with shoulder workouts is your deltoids.

The deltoid is a triangular muscle that surrounds your shoulder joint – roughly where the shoulder seam of a shirt would sit. This muscle sits over the shoulder joint with anterior, lateral and posterior heads – these parts of the muscle cover the front, side and back of your shoulder joint and assist with your mobility in that region.

You use your deltoids in a range of daily movements, such as lifting, pushing, throwing a ball or even wearing a heavy bag over your shoulder, so strengthening and stabilising these muscles can help with more than just increased muscle definition – that’s just an added bonus!

Shoulder workouts for women

These shoulder workouts are suitable for all fitness levels — it’s just a matter of finding a weight that suits you.

Choose a weight that feels heavy and challenging, but is still light enough for you to complete the full number of repetitions with correct form. Finishing your last rep should feel hard, but not impossible. That sweet spot is where the gains happen!

These shoulder exercises are structured as one single workout, beginning with a warm-up to prepare your muscles, then two supersets before we finish up with a circuit.

Shoulder Warm Up

This warm-up can help to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles and prepare them for the main part of the workout. You’ll need a recovery band.
Band pull-apart

Shoulder Workouts Warm Up

  1. Stand with your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Hold one hand on each end of the recovery band with an overhand grip (palms facing down) and extend your arms directly in front of your chest, ensuring your elbows are completely locked. This is your starting position.
  2. As you exhale, use the muscles in your shoulders and back to pull the ends of the recovery band outwards and backwards until your arms are in line with your shoulders. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.
  3. Inhale. Hold this position briefly before gently bringing the ends of the recovery band together to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

Part 1: Shoulder Supersets

Superset 1
Complete the first exercise (shoulder press), before moving on to the second exercise (side raise) — this is one lap. Complete three laps in total. If you don’t have a barbell, you could use two dumbbells.

Shoulder press with a barbell

Shoulder Workouts Shoulder Press

  1. Holding a barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing towards your body) directly in front of your body, stand with your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Bring the barbell forward and upwards into your chest. Your palms should now be facing away from your body. This is your starting position.
  2. As you exhale, use the muscles in your shoulders and arms to extend your elbows and press the barbell up above your head, ensuring your arms are in line with your ears.
  3. Inhale. Once your arms are fully extended, bend your elbows to lower the barbell into your chest.
  4. Repeat for 12 repetitions.

Side raise with dumbbells

Good Shoulder Workouts

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand in a neutral grip (palms facing inwards) with arms extended by your sides, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. As you exhale, raise the dumbbells outwards and upwards to shoulder height, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows and making sure you draw your shoulder blades down and back.
  3. Inhale. Lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 15 repetitions.

Superset 2
Complete the first exercise (upright row), before moving on to the second exercise (front raise). This is one lap. Complete three laps in total.

Upright row with kettlebell

Shoulder Workouts Kettlebell

  1. Hold a kettlebell with both hands in an overhand grip (palms facing down) and stand with your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart. With arms extended, hold the kettlebell directly in front of your body. This is your starting position.
  2. As you exhale, use the muscles in your shoulders and arms to bend your elbows outwards and upwards, bringing the kettlebell up to your chest. Avoid “shrugging” your shoulders by drawing your shoulder blades down and back.
  3. Inhale. Extend your elbows to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 12 repetitions.

Front raise with dumbbell

Shoulder Workouts Front Raise

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing towards your body) in front of your legs, stand with your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. As you exhale, gently raise the dumbbells forwards and up to chin height maintaining a slight bend in your elbows.
  3. Inhale. Slowly lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 15 repetitions.

Part 2: Shoulder Workout Circuit

Complete the first exercise (Arnold press), before moving on to the second exercise (bent-over reverse fly) and then finish with the last exercise (commandos). This is one lap. Repeat for three laps in total.

Arnold press with dumbbells

Arnold Press Shoulder Workouts

  1. Holding two dumbbells with an underhand grip (palms facing towards your body) directly in front of your chest, stand with your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. As you exhale, use the muscles in your shoulders and arms to extend your elbows to press the dumbbells above your head, rotating your wrists outwards (internal rotation) to turn your palms away from your body. Your arms should be in line with your ears on either side of your head.
  3. Inhale. Once your arms are fully extended, bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells into your chest and rotate your wrists inwards (external rotation) to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 12 repetitions.

Bent-over reverse fly with dumbbells

Shoulder Workouts For Women

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge forwards from your hips so your torso is parallel to the floor. Bend your knees slightly and extend your arms to hold the dumbbells directly below your chest. This is your starting position.
  2. As you exhale, while maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells outwards and upwards from below your chest until they reach shoulder height. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.
  3. Inhale. Gently lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 15 repetitions.

Commando

Shoulder Workouts Commando

  1. Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) on a yoga mat and extending both of your legs behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. This is your starting position.
  2. As you exhale, release your right forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your right shoulder and push up onto your right hand. Release your left forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your left shoulder and push up onto your left hand. Think about drawing your belly button towards your spine to keep your core engaged and prevent your hips from swaying.
  3. Inhale. Release your right hand and lower your forearm to the mat, then release your left hand and lower your forearm to the mat to return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise, starting with your left arm.
  4. Continue alternating between right and left for 15 repetitions.

How to modify shoulder workouts

If you find you’re struggling to get through every shoulder exercise or are short on time, modify this workout by reducing the number of laps to two.

Alternatively, instead of doing it as one big single workout, break each part up into mini shoulder workouts or incorporate them into a workout that also focuses on other upper-body parts.

Strengthen your shoulders with these shoulder workouts

These workouts come straight from Sweat Trainer Kelsey Wells’ strength-based program, PWR, which you can find on the Sweat app.

If you’re interested in developing your strength through weights-based training, try one of these tricep workouts or download the Sweat app and get your first 7 days for free!

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

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