Best shoulder workout to add to your routine

  • 12 Jun - 18 Jun, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly

Shoulder moves are often thrown into “upper-body day” or full-body workouts, but the best shoulder exercises definitely deserve some love all on their own. That’s because shoulder strength is essential for nearly every type of movement.

Shoulder strength is critical in allowing us to experience life the way we know it. Any time you move, lift, or adjust anything with your arm, you’re activating your shoulder muscles.

Even sports that are considered primarily fuelled by lower-body strength, like soccer or running, use shoulder muscles for momentum, balance, and stability. Plus there are the zillion daily tasks you do that require them, like brushing your hair, getting a glass down from the shelf, and tying your shoes – even simply standing up involves your shoulders.

So, if you’re looking for some shoulder inspiration, check out some of the best shoulder exercises below to add to your routine.

Overhead press

• Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your shoulders with your palms facing out and your elbows bent. This is the starting position.

• Press the dumbbells overhead, straightening your elbows completely. Make sure to keep your core engaged and hips tucked to avoid arching your lower back as you lift your arms.

• Slowly bend your elbows to lower the weight back down to starting position. This is one rep.

This simple motion is actually doing a ton for your front and lateral delts, core, triceps, and pectoral muscles.

Front to lateral raise

• Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, a lighter dumbbell in each hand, arms resting along the front of your legs, palms facing your legs.

• With a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lift your arms straight up in front of you to shoulder level. Then slowly lower them back to start.

• Keeping that same bend in your elbows, raise your arms out to the side to shoulder level, then slowly lower them. This is one rep.

Not only will you be working your anterior and lateral deltoids with this, but it also helps your trapezius muscle in your upper back. That creates a solid amount of shoulder stability.


• Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell at your chest with both hands, gripping it on each end. This is the starting position.

• Lift the weight to eye level and slowly circle it around your head counterclockwise, making a "halo" shape. Return to the starting position.

• Then, repeat in the opposite direction. This is one rep.

This is a great option for increasing overall shoulder mobility, and it’s especially helpful if you’ve been typing and scrolling a lot lately because it works the rear delts and front delts equally, giving you better postural alignment.

Single-leg reverse fly

• Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides, palms facing in.

• To get into starting position, hinge forward at your hips as if you were going into a deadlift, place your weight on your left leg, and lift your right leg straight out behind you. This is similar to the finishing position of a single-leg deadlift. (Depending on your hip mobility and hamstring flexibility, you may not be able to bend so far over.) Gaze at the ground a few inches in front of your left foot to keep your neck in a comfortable position. The weights should be hanging down toward the floor.

• With a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lift the weights up and out to the sides until they’re in line with your shoulders.

• Then, lower them back down with control. This is one rep.

With this variation on a reverse fly – which works your rear deltoids – you’ll be firing up your core and working on your balance at the same time.

3-way shoulder raise

• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, light-to-moderate weight dumbbells in each hand.

• Lift laterally first, keeping arms straight and raising dumbbells to shoulder heights.

• Pause briefly with weights at sides, then bring to front with arms still straight, until the dumbbells almost meet in the middle.

• Pause briefly here, then still keeping arms straight, lift dumbbells overhead.

• Reverse the sequence to come back down: Return from overhead to center, then out to sides, and bring down to start. That’s one rep.

This gives you a shoulder workout in multiple planes of motion, so if you have time for only a few exercises, definitely put this one in the mix.