The best shoulder workout routine is going to include heavy press and isolation exercises. As part of that process, you must learn the correct form and how to work with your energy levels.
We’ve focused our attention on showing you the shoulder workout routine top 4 for best results. We know you want to build your shoulders to be bigger and more defined so these will help.
These exercises for the shoulders are a core foundation. So, let’s dive right in.
Shoulder Muscles Explained
When looking for specific results, it’s essential to understand how the area you’re working on is best developed. In this article, we’re focusing on the shoulder.
Let’s break down some of the specific muscles in the shoulder muscle group.
Extrinsic Shoulder Muscles
Extrinsic shoulder muscles are between your torso and the bones of your shoulder. The four muscles that make this muscle group are:
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Levator Scapulae
Intrinsic Shoulder Muscles
The intrinsic muscles group originate from your shoulder blade and attach to the bone of your upper arm. This muscle group consists of:
- Teres Major
- Rotator Cuff
What Is The Best Shoulder Workout Routine?
A great shoulder workout routine will take time to develop strength. You do not want to rush it. Allow for between twelve to sixteen weeks for a specific program to show results. Far too many people have ended up injuring their shoulders trying to overdo their workouts.
There are a variety of exercises for each area that you can do. So, you can mix up your workout and test what gets the best results.
Usually, you’ll see a combination of using your body weight, cables, weights or a kettlebell. And, variety is good, then you won’t fall into the habit of muscle memory.
Maybe you’d like to get some equipment to use at home. There are so many options available for a home gym that it’s worth checking out, even this example that has over 3000 ratings on Amazon.
You should not work your shoulders every day. In fact, it is recommended that you do shoulder exercises one to three times per week with one day between sessions.
Top 4 Exercises to Create the Best Shoulder Workout Routine
To get great results in your shoulder workout routine we want to work on this full range of muscles. You can develop a whole range of motion and definition in a focused way.
Here are our top 4 shoulder exercises that get results.
#1 Barbell Military Press
The military press is arguably one of the most popular shoulder workouts with Barbells. It’s used a lot among pros to build shoulder muscles.
The muscles being worked here are the:
- lateral and anterior deltoids
in conjunction with the:
- serratus anterior muscles.
The critical thing is to master the form first with this exercise. Make sure you maintain control of the weight, don’t go too heavy too soon.
- Sit on a bench with back support and keep your back straight as an arrow or if you prefer, stand. If you’re standing, remember to let your shoulders do the work and not your legs. Keep your feet flat on the floor for stability.
- Press the bar up straight over your head, while lifting the weight above your head. Make sure to keep your arms extended to their limit without locking them at the top.
- Now very slowly, bring the weight lower to your shoulder width or right in front of your throat. And after you reach the starting position, raise the bar again.
To build mass- 2 to 3 sets with 8 to 10 reps each time. And, to develop endurance- 2 to 3 sets with up to 6 reps.
#2 Seated Dumbbell Press
This exercise helps to evenly strengthen each side of the muscle.
You may have also seen it done as a standing dumbbell press. But the seated position helps you focus on working the specific shoulder muscles.
The shoulder muscles we are targeting here are the:
- both anterior and lateral
- upper trapezius
- serratus anterior
- Sitting on a bench, upright with your back straight. Hold the dumbbells in your hands with your palms faced away from your body.
- Hold your core muscles in and keep your chest forward. Make sure your head does not move forward.
- Take a deep breath. While you lift the dumbbells above your head press them by extending your elbows and contracting the deltoids. Keep the bicep close to your ear as you press. Do not lock your elbows, you want to keep the muscles activated in the shoulders.
- Hold them in place for 2 seconds before you lower them as you inhale. Repeat.
Do three sets of 6-12 reps for the best result and rest 30 to 45 seconds between each rep.
#3 Single-Arm Lateral Raises
Using lateral raises to build your shoulder is a core element of most exercise routines. This enhances your broad range shoulder extension movement and strengths your triceps and biceps muscles.
You can choose to do them with dumbbells or in this case we’re going to talk through doing a shoulder cable workout.
To change the target muscles, you can incorporate lifting the arms in different directions at the side. But in this lateral raise we are focusing on the medial deltoid.
- Start this exercise by standing beside the cable machine, grab the handle from the pulley and face forward. Make sure the weight is not too heavy so you avoid swinging it or losing control.
- Be mindful of your body’s stance; shoulders back, core tight, chest forward and knees soft. Exhaling as you lift, inhaling on the way down.
- Palms facing toward your body, lift the weight out and up to the side, not to the front.
- Stop at your shoulder height. You can lean out on one side by holding the machine for more resistance to further expand the workout.
- Slowly lower the weight keeping the muscles tension all the way to your side until it stops before lifting again.
Do three sets of 12 reps with 20 seconds of rest for the best result.
#4 Cable Reverse Fly
Cable Reverse Fly is one of those shoulder pulley exercises that hits your rear delts and creates that shoulder definition you’d love to have. It has the added bonus of helping you with proper posture and potentially reducing pain in the area.
Rear delts are often a neglected part of any beginner-level workout routine so we’re including it here to give you a well-rounded shoulder plan.
This exercise helps you work the:
- posterior deltoids.
- To do this exercise with the best form, grab on the upper pulley of the cable machine so it is at chest height. Make sure to hold the right pulley with your left hand and the left one with your right hand.
- Position the hand straight ahead holding the handle. Remember to keep your knees softly bent with your core muscles tight. Don’t allow your head to move forward or your back to arch.
- Keep your elbows slightly bent. Open your arms to the side and pull laterally so that you draw the cable across your chest as you extend. Engage your rear delt and not too much of your shoulder blade.
- Slowly, with control, lower the handles back to where you started. Repeat.
- Alternate to the other side, unless you’ve been using two cross-over cables at the same time.
Aim to complete 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps but don’t overdo it too early.
Make Your Shoulder Workout Routine Work for You
These made our top 4 exercises to include in your workout routine because they get results.
Keep in mind that the form of how you do your exercises means a lot more than how many you do. So instead of focusing on volume, focus more on technique.