We now know that strength training is just as important as endurance sports. To stay healthy and fit, more and more women train every day at the gym or at home. However, most of us focus primarily on the legs, glutes, and abs, with the upper body being neglected or even pushed aside altogether. This is actually one of the biggest mistakes in fitness and over time it results in an unsightly body image. So if you’re trying to improve your aesthetic, well-trained arms and developed shoulders are simply essential. Our shoulders are involved in almost every arm movement, and broad shoulders actually slim down our waists. And have we already aroused your interest? Then you should definitely read on! Whether it’s with your own body weight or with dumbbells, in today’s article we’ve rounded up the best shoulder exercises for an effective workout!
What are the benefits of shoulder training?
It doesn’t matter if we lift shopping bags or spin children in the air: with strong shoulders, many things in everyday life are much easier for us. Even if you want to get something from the upper cupboard, the shoulders are in action. They also support us in every upper body workout, because the stronger our shoulders, the more weight we can lift. The term “shoulder” generally refers to the shoulder girdle and surrounding muscles. This connects the arms to the torso and therefore allows a lot of freedom of movement. Strengthened shoulder muscles also relieve your back and chest, preventing long-term back pain. Trained shoulders are characterized by the resulting V-shape, which makes our waist appear slimmer. We think that’s reason enough to add the following shoulder exercises to your training routine, right? Let’s start!
Best shoulder exercises with dumbbells
And here is the good news! You don’t need expensive equipment or a gym membership for an effective shoulder workout. You can easily do the following dumbbell shoulder exercises at home and you will notice noticeable results after just a few weeks of regular training sessions. However, the shoulder girdle is very prone to injury, so you should always start training with a short warm-up. Also pay attention to correct technique and start with less weight than you think you can.
Arnold press exercise
Named after Austrian bodybuilder and former US Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Arnold Press is actually one of the most effective dumbbell shoulder exercises. We mean: you know what it looks like, don’t you? You can do the exercise sitting or standing. If you’re a beginner, we recommend doing the Seated Dumbbell Arnold Press.
- Sit on a 90-degree weight bench or chair; it is important that you feel right.
- Grab the dumbbells with a neutral grip and hold them directly in front of your shoulders with your palms facing your body.
- Then rotate your wrists 180 degrees and keep your elbows facing forward. Make sure they are at shoulder level throughout the movement.
- Exhale and stretch your arms almost completely.
- Inhale deeply and return to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.
- Because this is a complex exercise, don’t rush your movements and focus on correct technique.
Incline Dumbbell Rows
Incline rows are one of the best shoulder exercises that work the rear deltoid (shoulder) and back at the same time. How to do it right:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Lower your upper body forward and make sure your back stays straight. To avoid injury, the lower back should be slightly hollow.
- Hold the dumbbells in an overhand grip.
- As you exhale, raise your arms and bring your elbows right next to your torso.
- Inhale and lower the dumbbells back down until your arms are almost completely down.
Shoulder Exercises: Dumbbell Front Raise
Dumbbell front raises are a great shoulder exercise to define your front delts. Alternatively, if you don’t have dumbbells, you can use a resistance band with handles.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- Facing forward, alternatively or simultaneously, raise the dumbbells forward with straight arms until the dumbbells are at chest height.
- Exhale and lower your arms until they are at your sides.
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Dumbbell lateral raises are one of the most popular and effective shoulder exercises and with the large selection of variations, shoulder training is guaranteed to never be boring. You can do seated, standing, machine or cable machine lateral raises at the gym and the exercise is very popular with beginners and professionals.
- To perform standing lateral raises, stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold the dumbbells in a neutral grip with your arms hanging by your sides.
- Look straight ahead and move your arms up until they are shoulder-width apart and parallel to the floor.
- Then exhale and slowly return to the starting position.
Bodyweight shoulder exercises
Don’t have equipment and don’t have time to go to the gym? No problem! There are plenty of bodyweight shoulder exercises that are just as effective and are perfect for a quick workout at home.
Touch planks with shoulders
We all know that the plank is one of the best exercises for the whole body. This plank variant not only works the abdominal and gluteal muscles, but also the shoulder muscles and is therefore the perfect choice for shoulder training at home.
- Start in the high plank position and engage your abs and buttocks.
- Then alternately hit the shoulders with your hands, making sure that your body does not wobble and remains stable.
iron up down
Up and down planks are also a great variation of the plank and a great bodyweight shoulder exercise that you can do anywhere, anytime.
- Get into the high plank position and squeeze your glutes and abs.
- Alternate your arms down the low plank, resting first on your left forearm, then your right.
- Go back up to the starting position; this counts as one repetition.