Best Shoulder Workouts with Dumbbells

To carve out that coveted V-shaped body, one needs to mainly focus on working on the shoulders, targeting deltoids, rotator cuff, upper trapezius, and levator scapulae muscles

Here you will find the list of the ultimate shoulder workouts that will help build better shoulder muscles, and a better upper body as a whole.

As a bonus, most of these workouts can be done with the help of standard home gym equipment, so you don’t need to worry about taking that expensive gym membership. All you need are a pair of adjustable dumbbells and a workout bench to keep your shoulders toned perfectly. 

Best Shoulder Workouts with dumbbells

1. Upright Row

Dumbbell upright rows are great for building upper body strength. This workout targets muscles like the trapezius, deltoids, and triceps

How to do it:

Take dumbbells in each hand while standing with a straight back. Place the dumbbells in front of you while keeping the core tight. Bring them up vertically to your chin while moving your elbows out and making your shoulders parallel to the ground. 

Upright Row

2. Front Raise

This dumbbell workout is perfect for working out the deltoids but also helps in developing better pectorals. Not to mention it is great for improving shoulder mobility and stability too. 

How to do it:

Hold dumbbells in each hand while standing straight with your feet shoulder-width. Keep your hands in front of you and slowly raise them until your arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly get back to the initial position and repeat. You can also take turns lifting your arms to be more concentrated.

Front Raise

3. Lateral Raise

This is an excellent chest and shoulder workout, especially in reducing the tightness in the upper body. It has an abduction motion that stimulates anterior deltoids and lateral deltoids and allows the upper chest muscle to move toward the center of the body. 

How to do it:

Hold similar weighing dumbbells in both hands. Keep your hands on the sides and, with a moderate momentum, move them upwards, making a downward V. Use your upper body strength, and do not shrug.

Lateral Raise

4. Reverse Fly

It is a great isolation workout that helps build better shoulder strength and gives more definition to the backside of the shoulders. This movement prioritizes your posterior deltoids and upper back muscles.

How to do it:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in your knees to keep stable. Bend forward at a 45-degree angle, and hold a dumbbell in each hand naturally in front of you. Lift your arms out against gravity until your arms are parrel with the floor. Pause at the top of the movement and then slowly lower your arms. Slightly bend your elbow to prevent joint injury.

Reverse Fly

5. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Dumbbell shoulder presses are more effective than barbell presses and help activate the anterior deltoids

How to do it:

Sit upright on the bench while holding dumbbells in each hand. Start at shoulder height, palms facing away from you. Now press the weights directly upwards till your arms are straight. Slowly lower the weights and repeat. 

Seated Dumbbell Press

6. Dumbbell Neutral Grip Overhead Press

If you are concerned about tightness in your shoulders, having a neutral grip while doing overhead presses with dumbbells is a more appropriate variation of shoulder press to work your shoulders. It lessens stress on the more vulnerable parts of the shoulder joint when target anterior deltoids.

How to do it:

Stand straight, holding dumbbells in each hand. Maintaining a neutral grip, raise your arms straight directly above your starting from your shoulders. Bring the dumbbells back near your shoulders by folding your hands and repeating. 

Dumbbell Neutral Grip Overhead Press
Photo: Youtube@Women's Strength Nation

7. Seated Dumbbell Clean 

This dumbbell workout covers all the major muscles of the posterior and anterior chains, making it a great shoulder and arm exercise. 

How to do it:

Hold dumbbells in each hand while sitting on the edge of a bench. Keep your lower back flat and slightly lean forward. Now when you straighten your body, shrug the weights and raise your arms while keeping them parallel to your shoulders. Go with the natural momentum of flipping your elbow while lifting the weights. 

Seated Dumbbell Clean
Photo: Youtube@PhD Nutrition

Best Shoulder Workouts with Body Weight 

1. Pike Press

Pike press or pike pushups majorly help in building shoulder and chest strength. With a bit of variation, they can also help build bigger forearms. 

How to do it:

Get into a pushup position and raise your hip upwards, so your torso is nearly vertical. Keep your hands, arms, and head in a straight line. Lower your body until your hands are parallel to the ground, and then press back up. 

Pike Press
Photo: Youtube@Jake Gay

2. Dip

Bench dips are a simple yet effective way of taking on more challenges. They are perfect for targeting anterior deltoid, triceps and the outer chest portion

How to do it:

Rest your palms on a bench while keeping your back on it. Place your heels on the ground or another elevated object in a suspended position. Lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Go back to the initial position slowly and repeat. 

Bench Dip
Photo: Youtube@EnviroFit Gym

3. T Pushup

If you want to develop your pectoral muscles, triceps, and chest, this bodyweight workout is apt. 

How to do it:

Get into the pushup position. Lift your left hand and raise it vertically while twisting your upper body to one side. Your upper body should make a T shape, and the right side of your head should face the floor. Do a pushup and repeat for the other side. 

T Pushup
Photo: Youtube@LivestrongWoman

Mistakes to Avoid for Better Results

Here are some mistakes you should avoid for better shoulder muscles and overall better results. 

  • Do not neglect your shoulder mobility before working out. 
  • Control your movements in both ways. Do not swing the weights up and control them back down. 
  • Keep a balance of your push and pull movements for better shoulder health and posture.
  • Manage the weights correctly. If you’re struggling with the weight, pick a lighter one. 


Next to Read: 5 Tricep Workouts With Dumbbells to Boost Your Arm Muscles

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