When it comes to important muscle groups to include in our upper body workouts, you need to consider the deltoids. After all, it doesn’t matter what upper body exercise you are doing; you are going to engage the shoulders in some way or another. That is why it is so important to work the shoulders, or you might end up weakening your back, chest or arm workouts. If you don’t develop the shoulder, you are going to see the difference in your shoulders. This article will give a brief overview of how to effectively work the shoulders. Throughout this article, the use of free weights will be considered.

The shoulders are made up of 3 separate deltoid muscles, the posterior, medial and anterior deltoids. They are sometimes referred to as the back, middle and front deltoids respectively. The trapezoids are also located in the area of the shoulder and are considered a shoulder, but they are different than the deltoids. They are not used with the arm is rotated. When you measure the development of the shoulders with a tape measure, it is a direct reflection of the development of the traps. The following are some of the more useful shoulder exercises that can be included in an overall muscle building workout routine.

Dumbbell Press – Military

There may be many different dumbbell press exercises, but the Military press is what most people envision when they see it in their mind. It should be one of the first exercises in your overall workout. It is typically best to use moderate weight instead of heavyweight unless you are trying to add a lot of muscle. Moderating the weight, you use when working your deltoids will also help to reduce the possibility of injury. The Military dumbbell press will work the traps and medial deltoids.

The proper way to do a seated dumbbell press should be known by everyone. Start with the upper arms parallel to the floor. Lower the elbows slowly to begin the movement until they are just below horizontal. You should then push the weights over your head in a controlled but quick movement, taking about 2 seconds to achieve this motion. Raise the weight to contract the muscles and try not to focus on the arms. Most people like to gently bump the weights together when they are over the head, but it isn’t really necessary. In fact, it could be annoying to others if you are bumping metal on metal. After pausing slightly, move the weight lower until you are just below horizontal again. Always maintain careful control of the dumbbells. If you are having a problem with control or if you are wobbling, you are using too much weight.

Dumbbell Raises

Each head of the shoulder should be the area of focus to achieve the best development. One of the best ways to achieve this is by raising the dumbbells as they are held in each hand to the side. This would be achieved by raising the weight until it engages the head you are trying to target for that exercise. For all of these exercises, a slight bend in the arm should be evident to reduce straining the elbows. One exercise should be done for each deltoid head. This would mean targeting the posterior, medial and anterior exercises during your workout.

The dumbbells should be raised with alternating arms, straight in front of you to target the anterior deltoids. Bring the weight to slightly above shoulder level at the most. If you prefer, you can slightly angle the weight when lifting, so it is right in front of the face. The medial deltoids, located on the outer shoulder, can be targeted by raising the weights to the side until they are straight out. The weight can then be lowered slowly before you repeat the movement. To exercise the posterior deltoid, bend the upper body at a 45-degree angle and raise the weight to a position that is slightly behind you. Your back should maintain a flat position during the exercise. Try to envision your shoulders coming together but do not curl the shoulders forward or arch the back. Bending the knees slightly for those who are standing can help to maintain stability. Do not swing your arms or you will not see results.


This is a classic exercise that is more often used by those who want to gain mass and size. It targets the trapezoids. Stand while holding a heavy dumbbell in each hand by your side. Make a shrugging motion by crunching the shoulders up around the ears. The only movement should come from shrugging your shoulders. You shouldn’t lift with your arms. Some people will move their shoulders back and forward as they are shrugging, but it is bad form to do so. If you want to see the benefits from shrugs, stick to the up and down movement.

Shrugs are different from other shoulder exercises because heavyweight is better. The traps need the additional weight to see growth.

Upright Rows

This is an exercise that can be done with the use of some different aids. Some people may use a cable machine, but you can’t beat the benefits of using a barbell. It is well suited for those who are just starting out as well because it puts you in the proper form naturally.

Start with the barbell resting on your waist level and grip it securely with an overhand grip. Keep the bar snug against the abdomen, lifting the weight vertically and bringing it to rest at chin height. Keep your eyes focused straight forward at all times.

Most beginners will want to change the angle of motion or have a tendency to swing their back during the lift. Control is the key to success, and the load should be handled by the shoulders.


In Conclusion

These shoulder workouts and exercises can be used to gain quality muscle mass, but they are not the only options for working the shoulders. When exercising in this way, focus on your knowledge of the exercises and then use the ones that will work best for your needs.