10 Explosive Shoulder Workouts for When You Hit the Gym

Top 10 bodyweight exercises for men

Are you paying enough attention to your shoulders? When was the last time you heard someone say “Damn, dem shoulders are HUGE”? Probably never. But that might be because you’ve been neglecting this very important part of your structure.Think of your shoulders as the frame that highlights the masterpiece that is you – beautiful use of imagery, I know. If your shoulders are half as stubborn as you, it’s going to take some serious focus to change them. Shoulder workouts may seem demanding and unnecessary but they will definitely change your entire look.

So, rather than focusing on the played out t arm, bicep and chest routine, focus on upping your shoulder workouts game to get those big and impressive shoulders that will really make a statement

Let’s first delve into the basics of your shoulder muscles, shall we? So, for all you nerds out there, basically your shoulder is made up of three major muscles that are called as deltoids (No, not the thing that killed the dinosaurs, that’s asteroids). These muscles are:

  • Anterior deltoid (Front)
  • Medial deltoid (Middle)
  • Posterior deltoid (Rear)

From you workout experiences,you may know these deltoids as the front, middle, and rear deltoids. However, as you may know, working on only one of these muscles will not be as effective if you want your shoulders to be as big as the Arnold’s…someday.

You need to be dedicated towards working all three delts.

These 10 Shoulder Workouts will help you do just that!

#1. Cable Front Raise

This shoulder workout is a muscle building move that targets the front shoulder. In the cable front raise exercise, the anterior deltoids function to elevate the arm forward. It gets the brunt of the work while a number of secondary muscles are targeted.

Main Target Area: Your anterior (front) deltoids

Reason to do it: This exercise is mainly done to strengthen shoulder muscles.

How to do it: To work on your anterior deltoids, take a D-handle in one hand and select the weight on a low pulley machine. Keep your face away from the pulley and put your arm out straight. Keep your chest tilted, back flat and knees slightly bent. Lift the cable up and out in front of you until your upper arm is about parallel with your working shoulder. Then gently lower your arm to the starting position.

How Many: Sets: 10, Reps: 10-12 and Rest Time: 60-90 Seconds.

Also Read: 10 body weight exercises for men

#2. Seated Dumbbell Press

This shoulder workout uses a dumbbell press which allows the arms flare out more at your sides. One can perform this exercise sitting as well as standing. However, if you have a lower back problem, it would be well advised that you skip this one.

Main Area Targeted: anterior, middle and rear deltoids

Reason to do it: Triceps are the muscles that essentially benefit from this exercise.

How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and sit on a bench. To get a handle on the dumbbells you can also use lifting grips to ensure that you’re focused on max reps, not grip. Make sure your head is straight, your spine is aligned and your eyes are focused forward when you put your shoulders shifted back after pressing the dumbbells overhead in an arc toward each other. Keep in mind dumbbells that the dumbbells should touch at the top. Hold on and squeeze then return to the starting position

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 4-8 and Rest Time: 60-90 Seconds.

#3. Standing Barbell Military Press

The standing Barbell Military Press is the best shoulder workout for beefing up your shoulders. It makes your shoulders stronger and anybody that loves delts exercises will tell you why this is so beneficial and how much they love it!

Main Area Targeted: Front shoulder

Reason to do it: This shoulder workout benefits your shoulders, triceps, upper back and traps.

How to do it: Take a standing position and let the barbell rest above your chest comfortably. Make sure when you put the barbell on your chest, your arms are slightly wider than shoulder-width and keep your back straight. Press the barbell up in a straight position, until your arms are straight and slowly lower the barbell back to the initial position.epeat.

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 5 and Rest Time: 75-120 Seconds

#4. Side Lateral Dumbbell Raises

Side Lateral Dumbbell Raises is another great exercise you need in your shoulder workout routine. It hits the tops and sides of your shoulders, making them stronger and bigger. This is ideal because it requires a light to medium weight and no spotter.

Main Area Targeted: Tops and sides of shoulders

Reason to do it: The core reason to complete this exercise is to get larger shoulders by performing power partials.

How to do it: Pick up a lightweight dumbbell and hold one in each hand, while standing upright keeping your torso straight. Slowly lift the dumbbells up and outwards to the side of your body, bending your elbow ever so slightly to reach the height of your ear. Once the dumbbells reach the position of an ear, hold for a second and contract the delt and slowly back down to the starting position.

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 6-10 and Rest Time: 90 Seconds

#5. Arnold Press

One of the very best and most effective shoulder workouts for building up your shoulder is the Arnold Press named after the legend himself. This shoulder workout is extremely effective for a round and broader shoulder.
Main Area Targeted: Round shoulders, also targeting the front delt

Reason to do it: This exercise is very beneficial for building out the front and side peaks of your delts.

How to do it: Grab the dumbbells in each hand and hold them in front of your chest. Make sure the dumbbells are level with your upper chest and your palms are facing inwards with your elbows bent. Now, sit on a bench of medium height with your back steady. Lift the dumbbells above your head and rotate your hands so that your palms face forward at the same time. Pause for a while and slowly begin to lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 8-12 and Rest Time: 60 Seconds

Also Read: 5 Ways to Protect Your Hands While Weightlifting

#6. Reverse Machine Flye

This shoulder workout is a great isolation exercise to target the rear delts or the back of your shoulders. If you don’t have a reverse flye machine then alternatively you can use dumbbells. This exercise also has the added advantage of opening up your pecs, just in case you were longing after your chest workouts.

Main Area Targeted: Rear deltoids

Reason to do it: This shoulder workout is very beneficial because it works to strengthen the posterior shoulder and upper back and also improves upper body posture, function and movement.

How to do it: Make a proper weight selection and adjust the handles of the machine so that they are fully positioned towards the rear. Pick up the dumbbells or the handles of the reverse machine flye. Then slowly pull your hands out to your side and back in a semicircular motion. Make sure to slightly bend your elbows throughout the exercise, with all of the motion occurring at the shoulder joint. Hold for a while at the rear of the movement and squeeze the rear deltoid as if you were squishing a banan between your blades, then slowly return the weight to the original position.

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 8 and Rest Time: 90 Seconds

#7. Dumbbell Front Raise

This shoulder workout is a fundamental weight training exercise for a better and badder shoulder. This motion mainly strengthens the deltoids as well as the upper chest muscles. If done correctly, you should see little peaks begin forming at the top of your shoulders.

Main Area Targeted: Upper chest muscles and all deltoids.

Reason to do it: A Dumbbell front raise is the perfect shoulder workout for muscle-building around your shoulders.

How to do it: Stand with your back straight holding a dumbbell in each hand while keeping your hands straight in front of your thighs with your palms facing the ground. Now, raise the left dumbbell by keeping your elbow slightly bent. Make sure you continue to lift the dumbbells until it becomes parallel to the floor and at eye level. Exhale while you lift the dumbbells and hold them for a moment at the top, then inhale while returning to the original position. Repeat the same move with your right hand and keep repeating until you’ve completed your set.

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 8 and Rest Time: 90 Seconds

#8. Bent over rear delt raise

If you are looking to sculpt your shoulders, start with the bent-over dumbbell rear delt raise. This shoulder workout will do wonders for your upper back and shoulders. However, along with this exercise, you can also do similar exercises such as dumbbell shoulder press, front dumbbell raises to build on your shoulders.

Main Area Targeted: Rear deltoids

Reason to do it: This shoulder workout is used to build the strength and size of the rear delt, a muscle on the backside of the shoulder.

How to do it: Stand straight while holding dumbbells in each hand. Keep your back straight and lean forward to make your arms perpendicular to the ground, facing each other. Now, raise the dumbbells slightly straight to the side until your arms are parallel to the floor and exhale. Make sure to keep your elbows and keeping your torso firm. Hold for a while and lower the dumbbells back to the original position.Repeat the process until you complete your sets.

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 8-12 and Rest Time: 60 Seconds

Also Read: Do These 5 Moves To Track Your Progress

#9. Dumbbell Shrugs

This shoulder workout is often called an isolation exercise for the upper part of the trapezius. But keep in mind, when done incorrectly it can cause serious damage to your shoulder. The best way to execute this shoulder workout is to shrug the shoulders and keep the joints of the shoulder in position, while lifting heavy weights.

Main Area Targeted: Upper trapezius muscle.

Reason to do it: The dumbbell shoulder shrug focuses on working the upper trapezius, which is the shoulder muscle that runs from the top of your shoulder joint to the middle of your neck.

How to do it: Holding a dumbbell in each hand,stand with your shoulder and feet wide apart. Get a stronger grip on the dumbbells using lifting grips if you have to. Relax your shoulders and keep your arms stretched by your sides. Now, slowly lift the dumbbells by elevating shoulders in a shrugging way and hold for a while. Slowly lower your shoulders back to the original position. Repeat until you’ve hit your target reps.

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 8 and Rest Time: 90 Seconds

#10. Push Press

This is a powerhouse – what else can we say about the Push Press shoulder workout? This super energetic exercise will allow you to handle some seriously challenging loads. But, one thing is very important to note before doing this workout – you need to warm-up before starting this exercise.

Main Area Targeted: anterior and middle deltoids

Reason to do it: This exercise works the muscles from your legs to your shoulders to your arms in an explosive motion – it’s basically a bodybuilding-centric workout. Quadriceps and Triceps are secondarily benefited by this exercise.

How to do it: Grab the barbells while standing with your feet hips’ width apart. Slowly, pull the barbell up until it reaches your chest. Slightly retract your head backward. Bend your knees and ankles slightly. Push your body upwards by using your legs and every ounce of energy you have to push the barbell above your head by extending your arms. Come back to the initial position and repeat again.

How Many: Sets: 3-4, Reps: 8-10 and Rest Time: 60 Seconds

So which of these explosive shoulder workouts are you going to try when you hit the gym today? What shoulder workouts do you currently incorporate into your workout plan? hare below!