Shoulder Training: Best Weight Exercises For Shoulders

Shoulder Training: Best Weight Exercises For Shoulders

  By Myprotein Writer Apoorv Kumar Upadhyay



The shoulder is one of the most complex joints of the body. Any movement you do, let’s take an example, pushing and pulling , you somehow involve your shoulder muscles . Simply speaking when performing compound exercises like Bench press, deadlifts; you involve all your shoulder muscles.


Can you think of many exercises that don’t require the engagement of the shoulders? Even lifting a single dumbbell from dumbbell rack needs work from the shoulders.


In this article , I’ll take you through various muscle groups that make shoulders, the exercises to grow them and the training methodology as well as showing you how to prevent them from being injured.




Shoulders can be broadly divided into two main groups:


  1. Deltoids
  2. Trapezius




Deltoids are the muscles that form the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is located at the uppermost portion of the arm. Imagine yourself wearing a sleeveless tee, the part that shows off the most(if you have been training them) , are delts.


Deltoids consists of 3 muscle fibers:


1.Anterior deltoids – Front delts in common


2.Lateral deltoids – Middle delts in common


3.Posterior deltoids –Read delts in common




The portion in RED represents Anterior delts , the portion in GREEN represents lateral delts and the portion in BLUE  represents posterior or rear delts.



In order to get rounded shoulders , all three areas must be trained really well for proper definition and size and in the end , needless to say , It’s the size that makes them look really cool.


Sadly, I have seen people being ignorant about training rear delts . They forget that it is also one of the important parts of Delts and need the same training as the other two.






Trapezius are the muscle that are between the neck and shoulders, by shoulders we mean the area of upper back muscles (lats).





Having bigger traps compliments the overall shoulder development. In Bodybuilding, traps are considered as one of the most muscular posing muscles.

Bigger traps gives a proper symmetry to the body.


So training traps is done usually with deltoids as it constitutes to a single body part called shoulders.





Delts and traps are usually trained the same day but some guys want to do it differently. For me, I would train traps first and then delts on the single because for traps I would like lifting heavy weights and do some compound lifts.

Shoulders can be trained up to twice a week and occasionally can be coupled with chest or arm exercises.




1.Warm ups – 3 sets total (1 set of front dumbbell raise , 1 set of standing side lateral raise ,1 set of reverse machine flies ) – Keep the weight light ! We just want to pump blood in your system.



2.Seated Side lateral raises – 4 sets (15,12,10,10) – please perform this being seated on a bench or a chair. The whole idea of doing it seated is that you wont be able to cheat and you would use only your elbows to perform the range of motion and not your legs.



3.Front machine press/ barbell /dumbbell press – 3 sets (15 ,12,10) – Try using smith machine for going heavy. Maintain a strict posture . Keep the movement slow . Don’t fully extend your elbows at the top to keep pressure on the muscles.



4.Back(Behind the neck) Barbell press – 3 sets (15,12,10 ) – Take a wide grip and move the barbell slowly behind your neck.



5.Front Dumbbell raises – 3 sets (15,12,10) – Keep its slow . The dumbbell shouldn’t go above your nose. Perform it seated if you think you are cheating.



6.Barbell upright row – 3 sets (15,12,10) – Please take a shoulder wide grip and keep the bar close to your body. At the top most position , the bar should be close to chin. Look straight while performing this move. It trains traps as well as Anterior and posterior delts.



7.Shrugs – 3 sets (20,20,20)-Go Heavy. Don’t use your elbows for the motion. Try not to move your heels up for lifting. Use a lifting strap for better grip. Maintain a shoulder width grip. At the top position, hold for 1 sec and slowly come down. You can perform it as the first exercise in your schedule, if you aren’t able to lift heavy.



8.Reverse Flies (performed on pec -dec machine or with dumbbells or cables) – 3 sets (12,10,8)


Take Home Messages


1.Warm up really well – When training of delts , without warm up , gives a great scope of injuries related to rotator cuff.


2.Be light on delts and heavy on traps.


3.Maintain strict posture when training traps in particular because the muscles of the neck are also involved.


4.Start with isolation exercises then moves onto compound exercises. The idea behind training with isolation exercises is that the individual muscle gets warmed up and the blood is pumped in . An example of this would be (1 set of front dumbbell raise, 1 set of lateral raise and one set of reverse flies).


5.Compound exercises would definitely add mass. Do reply on them.


6.To avoid injury, use machines for heavy lifting.


7.Train with dumbbells as well as barbells , keep switching between them weekly.


8.Eat well and eat healthy and make sure you get good recovery shakes and supplements.




Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Writer and expert

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