Discover the best bigger shoulder exercises for a better look! These workouts help increase muscle mass and give you a tighter, stronger physique.
You’ve no doubt seen people in the gym hitting shoulders from all angles, and now you’re probably wondering what the best shoulder exercises actually are and why you should even bother training them in the first place.
In this article, we’ll discuss why you should be training your shoulders, the benefits of training your shoulder muscles, and give you the best Bigger Shoulder Exercises to help you grow bigger, stronger shoulders.
- WHAT MUSCLES ARE IN THE SHOULDER?
- Benefits of Shoulder Exercises
- The Best Bigger Shoulder Exercises
- 1. Seated Barbell Shoulder Press
- 2. Seated reverse dumbbell fly
- 3. Lateral Raises
- 4. Dumbbell Front Raise
- 5. Upright Row
- 6. Face Pulls
- 7. Cable External Shoulder Rotation
- 8. Arnold Press
- Frequently asked questions
WHAT MUSCLES ARE IN THE SHOULDER?
The shoulder is a complex joint with numerous layers of superficial and deep muscle tissue.
When training the shoulders for strength, it is critical to use a range of motions to ensure that we strengthen the numerous muscles that assist stabilize the shoulder joint and limit the risk of injury.
The deltoid is the most well-known shoulder muscle, consisting of the Anterior Deltoid, Lateral Deltoid, and Posterior Deltoid, which attach in the front, middle, and back of the shoulder, respectively.
The fundamental purpose of the deltoid is to move the arm in numerous directions, playing an important part in pushing and pulling movements.
The trapezius muscle, which runs from your neck to your back, blurs the distinctions between several locations of the upper posterior in the body. The middle trapezius, on the other hand, goes squarely over the top of the shoulders.
The trapezius muscle is important for keeping excellent posture since it helps to stabilize as well as move, facilitating actions such as shrugging, tilting, and rotating the neck.
The shoulder rotator cuff consists of 4 muscles, these are:
- Teres minor
With many shoulder injuries relating to the rotator cuff, it’s important to include movements that help target these smaller muscles to reduce the risk of injury.
From abduction of the arm to lateral and external rotation, the rotator cuff allows the ball and socket of the shoulder joint to move around freely in various directions.
Benefits of Shoulder Exercises
- Improved posture. Having Bigger Shoulder Exercises can help to keep your shoulders back and your chest up, which can improve your overall posture. This can make you look taller and more confident.
- Reduced risk of injury. Stronger shoulders help to stabilize the shoulder joint, which can help to reduce the risk of injuries such as rotator cuff tears. This is especially important for people who participate in activities that require a lot of overhead movement, such as swimming, tennis, and volleyball.
- Increased range of motion. Bigger shoulders can help to increase your range of motion in your shoulders, which can make it easier to perform everyday activities such as reaching for objects overhead or behind your back. This can also help to prevent injuries that can occur when you have limited range of motion in your shoulders.
- Increased strength. Bigger Shoulder Exercises can help to increase the strength of your shoulder muscles, which can make it easier to lift heavy objects and perform other tasks that require upper body strength. This can be helpful for people who want to improve their athletic performance or who simply want to be able to do more with their upper bodies.
- Improved appearance. Bigger, well-defined shoulders can make your upper body look more balanced and attractive. This can be a confidence boost for many people.
It is important to note that Bigger Shoulder Exercises are not the only important factor in overall shoulder health. It is also important to focus on exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, which help to stabilize the shoulder joint. Additionally, it is important to warm up your shoulders before you start exercising and to listen to your body and stop if you experience any pain.
The Best Bigger Shoulder Exercises
1. Seated Barbell Shoulder Press
He performed a sitting barbell shoulder press. is a variation of the overhead press that is performed while sitting on a bench. This variation can be helpful for people who have shoulder pain or who want to focus on the anterior deltoids (the muscles in the front of the shoulders).
To do a seated barbell shoulder press:
- Sit on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and your back against the bench.
- Grab a barbell with an overhand grip, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Lift the barbell off the rack and hold it directly above your chest, with your arms fully extended.
- Inhale and lower the barbell down to your chest, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
- Exhale and press the barbell back up to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Here are some tips for doing a seated barbell shoulder press safely and effectively:
- Keep your back against the bench throughout the exercise.
- Don’t let your elbows flare out to the sides.
- Keep your wrists in a neutral position.
- Don’t lock out your elbows at the top of the movement.
- Lower the barbell under control.
- Don’t try to lift too much weight.
- If you experience any pain during the seated barbell shoulder press, stop the exercise and consult with a doctor or physical therapist.
Here are some of the benefits of the seated barbell shoulder press:
- It is a great way to build strength in the anterior deltoids.
- It is a safe and effective exercise for people with shoulder pain.
- It can help to improve posture.
- It can help to reduce the risk of injuries.
- If you are looking for a challenging shoulder exercise that can help you build strength and improve your posture, the seated barbell shoulder press is a great option.
2. Seated reverse dumbbell fly
- Target muscle: Posterior Deltoid
- Synergists: Lateral Deltoid, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Rhomboids, Middle and Lower Trapezius
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Force: Pull
- Holding a pair of dumbbells, sit on the end of a bench.
- Lean forward until your torso is as close to horizontal as possible and allow your arms to hang down by your feet. Your palms should be facing each other (neutral grip).
- Keeping your arms slightly bent and your elbows perpendicular to your torso, exhale as you raise your arms out to the sides until your elbows are shoulder height.
- Hold for a count of two.
- Inhale as you lower your arms to the starting position in a controlled manner.
Comments and tips
- Keep your back straight and your elbows higher than your wrists.
- Control the movement. If you find yourself having to swing the dumbbell up, you’re using too heavy a weight.
- Keep your torso as close to horizontal as possible. This ensures that you target your posterior deltoid instead of your lateral deltoid.
- Keep your elbows perpendicular to your torso (i.e. straight out to the sides). This will minimize the involvement of your latissimus dorsi.
- You can perform this exercise while standing, with your torso bent over horizontally (reverse dumbbell fly). However, the seated reverse dumbbell fly, described above, reduces your ability to cheat by reducing the extent to which your body can sway up and down.
- The seated reverse dumbbell fly is also known as the seated bent-over dumbbell lateral raise, the seated dumbbell rear lateral raise, and the seated dumbbell rear delt fly.
- See also the lying reverse dumbbell fly and the head-supported reverse dumbbell fly.
3. Lateral Raises
You’ve worked the rear of the shoulders; now work the sides or ‘caps’ of the shoulders.
Lateral raises are quite similar to rear delt flies, but the stress is distributed to the lateral head of the deltoids – the muscle’s middle part.
How To Do Lateral Raises
- Take hold of a suitable-weight dumbbell, keep your core tight, your torso straight, and stand with your feet flat on the floor. The dumbbells are at your side and palms face inward. This is the starting position.
- From the starting position, raise the arms upward and outwards over 1-2 seconds until the dumbbells are parallel to the floor. Breathe out as you lift and pause at the top for a second. Keeping a slight bend in the elbow and palms tilted forward will maximize the effectiveness of this movement.
- Lower the dumbbell back and down over 1-2 seconds as you breathe in and return to the starting position.
4. Dumbbell Front Raise
With the previous several isolation shoulder exercises, you’re definitely starting to notice a pattern.
Front rises will work the anterior deltoids, which are positioned in the front of your shoulder.
While these exercises may appear to be quite similar, if performed correctly, they will assist develop the various portions of the deltoid muscle, enhancing muscle symmetry and strength.
The frontal raise is a movement that is comparable to the rear delt fly and lateral raise. This time, though, we will raise our arms in front of us.
How To Do Dumbbell Front Raise
- Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand, resting against your thighs.
- With a slight bend in your arms, raise your arms up in front of you until they are parallel to the floor.
- Slowly return your arms to the start position by your thighs.
Be sure to control the movement and avoid swinging the weights.
5. Upright Row
Not another shoulder raise, we promise.
The upright row is a versatile shoulder exercise that targets the delts and trapezius.
This exercise can feel a little awkward to do at first, but it’s one worth including in your shoulder exercises if size and strength are your goals.
Dumbells, barbells, or an EZ bar all work great for this Bigger Shoulder Exercise.
How To Do Lateral Raises
- Start with your arms lowered and the weight hanging in your hands
- Bring up the bar or dumbells toward your chin, and keep your shoulders and elbows pinned back.
- Once your hands are above your shoulders, slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position
6. Face Pulls
There’s a good chance you’ve seen someone in the gym doing these and wondered what it does.
Face pulls are a cable shoulder exercise that targets the rear delts, along with the rhomboids and traps – an excellent shoulder exercise for strength and posture.
Isolating these posterior shoulder muscles means less weight is needed to build strength and size within the target muscles.
Setting the cable above head height will target more of the rear delts and rhomboids while lowering the cable to head height or just below will place more emphasis on the rear delts and traps.
How To Do Face Pulls
- Set the height of the cable machine and use a two-handled attachment (the rope, for example).
- Step back until your arms are fully extended, and you have tension on the cable.
- Pull the handles toward your forehead, keeping your palms facing in, and lift your elbows up and out. Focus on contracting the upper back and rear delts.
- Slowly return to your start position.
7. Cable External Shoulder Rotation
This one is less of a muscle builder, but it’s an excellent prehabilitation exercise to build stability and strength within the rotator cuff and posterior deltoid.
It also makes for a great warm-up exercise to mobilize the joint before taking on bigger lifts.
How To Do Cable External Shoulder Rotation
- Standing or sitting, position the cable on the opposite side of your body with a handle attachment.
- Place the cable height in-line with your hand with the elbow bent at 90 degrees.
- Grab the handle and take one step away from the machine to put tension on the cable.
- Externally rotate your shoulder as far as you comfortably can before slowly returning your arms to the middle
8. Arnold Press
One of the best shoulder exercises for targeting the delts, the Arnold press puts a huge emphasis on the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoid.
It’s one of the more advanced shoulder exercises, but there’s no need to go heavy and once you get the hang of it, you’ll reap the rewards from this one.
How To Do The Arnold Press
- Adjust the bench upright – the seated Arnold Press requires you to have your bench around 70 degrees upright, giving you some more range of motion than an otherwise rigid 90-degree setting.
- Grab your dumbbell – start with a weight that’s around 20% lower than your go-to for a shoulder press, just to be safe. Once ready, hold the dumbbell in both hands just above your pectoral muscles, with your hands facing your chest. Tuck your elbows in and make sure they’re pointing down. You should look like you’ve reached the end-point of a bicep curl, minus the flex.
- Keep your chin tucked – pretend you’re holding an egg with your chin. Keeping your chin tucked in can help reduce strain on your neck and keep movements strict.
- The twist- whilst making sure your spine is neutral and your feet are firmly planted onto the floor, gently press the dumbbell up whilst rotating your arms out so that your palms are facing away from you.
- The press – push the dumbbell up above your shoulders in the same way you would a traditional overhead press, with your palms facing away from you as you lock out your rep.
- The twist on the way down – once you’ve held the rep for a couple of seconds, bring the dumbbell back down slowly, rotating your arms inwards, tucking your elbows in, and twisting your wrists so that your palms are once again facing your body.
- Pause and repeat – have a one-second rest, and do it all over again for 12-15 more reps.
Building muscle and strength in your shoulders in just about one-rep maxes. Adding variety to your shoulder exercises through the inclusion of compound and isolation exercises can help build resilience, strength, and size when training shoulders.
We’ve given seven excellent bigger shoulder exercises for you to include in your workouts, whether you train upper/lower splits or have a specific shoulder day – there’s enough here for a brutal shoulder workout. With consistency and volume progression, you’ll begin to see results in no time.
Frequently asked questions
What Exercise Widens The Shoulders?
Lateral raises are essential to help widen your shoulders
Signore said that the number one exercise she recommends for building muscular shoulders is the lateral raise. This exercise primarily targets the lateral deltoid muscle (or, “side delt”).
Do Shoulder Exercises Make Shoulders Bigger?
It’s important to understand that no one exercise will result in bigger-looking shoulders. Because of the many different ways the shoulder can move and the number of different muscle fibers involved in each job, it’s important to perform a range of different exercises to achieve balanced growth of the deltoids.
Do Shoulders Grow Naturally?
They continue to ossify until we’re 26, but our shoulders won’t grow any broader (study). This means that if we’re eighteen or older, the only way to build broader shoulders is to gain muscle in our upper bodies. Some people are blessed with good genetics, naturally growing long clavicles, and narrow hips.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Shoulders?
Shoulder strength takes more time to develop than lower body strength, so you’ll need to be patient and pick a length of time that will be long enough to see results. For a shoulder-specific training program, I recommend 12 to 16 weeks. Building strong shoulders can be tricky and if done incorrectly can lead to injury.