Shoulder Workout: 5 Exercises to Include in Your Plan

Updated in September 2023

Shoulder workouts are as important as any workout for other muscle group in the body. The muscles and joints that make up the shoulders are important for ensuring stability and strength in the upper limbs, and can promote easier movement like lifting the arms and moving them forward, backward and sideways.

In addition to training shoulders, you should also ensure training of the biceps, triceps and forearms to achieve optimal results in terms of muscle gains and reduced sagging.

When working out, you should be monitored by a trained professional who will adapt each exercise to your individual goals and body type. A registered dietitian can also help to determine a diet that will help you achieve your goals. Check-out some muscle-building foods you can incorporate into your diet.

1. Overhead shoulder press

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The overhead shoulder press can be done standing or sitting, with dumbbells or a barbell. The movement should be performed holding the dumbbells, or the bar, with the palm facing forward and at a height where the arm and forearm form a 90º angle. Raise your arms until your elbows are extended and repeat the movement according to your plan.

2. Lateral raise

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The lateral raise can be done to work both shoulders at the same time or just one at a time. To do this, hold the dumbbell with the palm facing down and raise the dumbbell laterally to shoulder height. Depending on the objective of the training, you can flex your elbow a little or position the dumbbell a little forward.

This type of exercise works the medial and posterior deltoids, which are the the middle and back portion of the muscle that covers the shoulder, the deltoid.

3. Front raise

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The front raise can be done with dumbbells or a barbell. Hold the weight with the palm of your hand facing the body and raise it, with your arms extended, to shoulder height, repeating the exercise as indicated by your plan. This exercise works the front part of the deltoid muscle.

4. Upright row

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The upright row can be done with either with a barbell or on a cable machine. Pull the equipment up, keeping it close to your chest and flexing your elbows, until shoulder height. This exercise works the lateral deltoids, as well as the anterior deltoids.

5. Bent-over reverse flies

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Bent-over reverse flies can be done either on a machine or sitting on a bench or with your torso leaning forward. If done on a bench, raise your arms to shoulder height with the dumbbells in your hands, and repeat the movement as per your plan. This exercise works the back of the deltoid, as well as the back muscles.