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October 29, 2021

Top Exercises to Build Shoulder Mass

When it comes to building a strong and defined torso, the shoulders are key. Well-formed shoulders target all the muscles within the shoulders through a range of isolated and compound exercises that can be performed at home or at the gym. Getting the most out of your shoulder training doesn’t require you to have access to gym machines, free weights such as barbells and dumbbells provide some of the best workouts for increasing shoulder mass. The following exercises will target a range of main muscles in the shoulders including the trapezius, rhomboids and deltoids. Many shoulder exercises will come with benefits like building flexibility and developing full body strength.

Barbell Push Press 

This compound move is perfect for growing shoulder muscles as the barbell allows you to load more weight, making it a great way to unlock increased shoulder growth. The Barbell Push Press will also work out other muscles in the body including your lower body, core, delts and triceps.  

How to do a Barbell Push Press: 

For this exercise you will need a barbell 

  1. Place your feet shoulder width apart and engage your core as you hold the barbell at your shoulders. 
  2. Keep your palms facing forwards as you push the bar above your head and squeeze your shoulder blades. 
  3. Lower the barbell back to your shoulders. 


Upright Row 

The Upright Row is a great movement for targeting the anterior and lateral heads of the deltoid. This move is ideal for lifters looking to gain size and strength in the deltoids. Upright Rows can be preformed with various free weights including a barbell, dumbbells and kettlebells.

For this exercise you will need a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell 

How to do an Upright Row: 

  1. Keep your back straight as you lift the weight straight up towards your chin. 
  2. Lead with your elbows and keep the weight close to your body, your arms shouldn’t go higher. than parallel with the shoulders. 
  3. Pause at the top of the lift before lowering the weight back to starting position. 


    Front Raise  

    The Front Raise is a simple enough shoulder flexion that targets the front and sides of the shoulder as well as the upper chest muscles and biceps. This move can help create wide shoulders or a ‘V-shaped’ torso, making it popular amongst body builders.  

    How to do a Front Raise: 

    For this exercise you will need a set of dumbbells  

    1. Hold your dumbbells so they are resting at both sides of your hips. 
    2. Bend your elbows slightly as you raise your arms straight in front of you. 
    3. Keep lifting until the dumbbells are at shoulder level and parallel to the floor. 
    4. Pause before slowly lowering the dumbbells back to starting position. 


    Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press  

    Starting off with an easy and popular shoulder exercise, we’ve got the Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press. The seated variation of the shoulder press requires a stricter form to move the dumbbells upwards without the help of the lower body. This move can offer significant growth of the shoulders, triceps and upper chest. 

    How to do preform a Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 

    For this exercise you will need a set of dumbbells and bench 

    1. Sit on the bench holding two dumbbells on both sides of your shoulders. 
    2. Press both weights above your head until arms are fully extended. 
    3. Carefully lower the dumbbells back to starting position. 


    Dumbbell Shrugs 

    If you are looking to build your trapezius muscles, then the Dumbbell Shoulder Shrugs may be your shoulder day go-to. Strengthening your traps will help maintain proper posture by stabilizing your neck and upper back. If you have a desk job, this move will have wonderous effects on minimising strain on your neck and shoulder muscles.  

    How to do Shoulder Shrugs: 

    For this exercise you will need a set of dumbbells 

    1. Hold your dumbbells by your side with palms facing outwards. 
    2. Raise your shoulders as high as possible (like a shrug). 
    3. Lower your shoulders and dumbbells back to starting position. 


    Lateral Raise  

    Although Lateral Raises look simple enough, they can be very difficult to preform correctly even with light weights. As well as larger shoulders, lateral raises will also contribute to improved shoulder mobility and core strength.  

    How to do a Lateral Raise: 

    For this exercise you will need a set of dumbbells  

    1. Stand or sit with a pair of dumbbells in each hand at your sides. 
    2. Keep your back straight as you brace your core and lift the dumbbells out to each side. 
    3. Lift your arms until they are parallel to the floor, with elbows slightly bent. 
    4. With control lower the dumbbells back to your sides. 


    Bent-over Reverse Fly 

    The reverse fly targets the posterior deltoids and major upper back muscles including the rhomboids and traps. Working out these muscles will contribute to good posture by promoting an upright stance and improving balance.  

    How to do a Bent-over Reverse Fly: 

    For this exercise you will need a pair of dumbbells  

    1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, holding dumbbells at your both sides. 
    2. Press the hips back, bringing your chest forward almost parallel to the floor. 
    3. Allow the weights to hang in front of your body while maintaining a tight core, straight back and slightly bent knees. 
    4. Raise both arms out to your side squeezing the shoulder blades together as you pull towards the spine. 
    5. Pause before lowing the weights back to starting position.  


    These shoulder strengthening exercises are sure to elevate your shoulder gains and ensure no muscle is neglected when training your shoulders. Dumbbells are a great home workout tool to use in shoulder training as they engage more muscles to balance the weight and they build greater overall stability. Following these exercises will not only build shoulder mass, but also work to open your chest and draw your shoulders back resulting in improved shoulder flexibility.  

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