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How to Strengthen Your Shoulders with 5 Effective Exercises

05 Aug 2021

Your shoulders are often prone to feeling soreness or stiffness due to the different day-to-day activities. But the fact that they are one of the most significant muscle groups contributing to body movement, it's essential to keep them stabilized and strong. Shoulder workouts not only strengthen your muscles, but also avoid pain, immobility and tenderness in your upper body. Scroll down to get your hands on 5 highly effective exercises that help in strengthening your shoulders. 

Shoulders Muscles and How Do They Work

Controlling your shoulder movements and stabilizing them is performed by 20 different muscles, each of which plays a major role in the smooth movement of the body. The chief muscles include the trapezius, deltoid muscles, rhomboid major, pectoralis major, rotator cuff, and serratus anterior. 

However, the group of shoulder muscles is one of the easiest areas of the human body that can be developed and strengthened by performing effective exercises. If you follow the right routine and remain consistent, you will get quick results. With a little direction and consistency, you can expect relatively fast gains. But it's important to employ a varied routine that targets all the different regions.

Shoulder Exercises for Strength and Stability

Below are 5 exercises that focus on different muscles of your shoulders while some work wonders for the entire muscle group.

Lateral Raise

Whether you choose a cable machine, a resistance band, a pair of dumbbells or some random items around the house such as bottles or books - lateral raises is a versatile shoulder workout that suits them all. It helps in the development of lateral deltoid muscles while also improving shoulder mobility.

To perform the exercise, you need to stand up straight with relaxed arms. Take the dumbbells or other improvised weights in hand and raise your arms to form a sharp 90 degree angle with your body. Lower the weight slowly while controlling your movements. Repeat the exercise for 3-4 sets and take a one-minute break between two sets. 

Image of a man with dumbbells doing lateral hand raises

Seated Military Press

Seated military press not only builds rear deltoid, anterior and medial strength, but also targets your upper back just right. While you are sitting, take a dumbbell in each hand, followed by raising the weights to your shoulder level while making sure that your palms face out and elbows are bent. As you straighten both arms, press the weights up and toward each other. When you reach the top of the movement, maintain a little bend in your elbows, further bringing down the weights slowly to get back to the starting position. Perform 4 sets or 12 repeats and take a one-minute rest between two sets. 

Image of a man doing shoulder press in a seated position


It doesn't call for much saying that push-ups are one of the most effective shoulder workouts when it comes to building muscles as well as gaining strength. The best part about performing push-ups is that you can do that just about anywhere and don't need to use any workout equipment for the same. Plus, you can always bring in some variations to your push to focus on a group of muscles. 

To get started, you need to get down on all fours, further extending your legs behind you. Next, lower your upper body and maintain the position for a little while before pushing yourself back up to get parallel to the floor.

Image of a man doing push ups in a outdoor space . 

Incline Bench Press

The cornerstone to any strong shoulder regime, the incline bench press is targeted on your upper pecs. Generally, it's also known as an incline dumbbell press and can be performed using a dumbbell in each hand or simply lifting a barbell. You need to make sure that your bench is adjusted at a 45-degree angle, further performing a regular shoulder press by lifting the barbell. The specified angle will bring focus to the upper portion of your chest instead of working on the whole pectoral region. It's great for strengthening the connection between your shoulders and chest.

The specified angle will bring focus to the upper portion of your chest instead of working on the whole pectoral region

Reverse Pec Deck Fly

Targeting the posterior delts, reverse pec deck fly calls for a dedicated machine and works wonders for shoulder muscles. Apart from shoulders, it also works for a great back and chest workout for gaining mass and strength. You need to face the machine, followed by positioning the seat in a way that your shoulders align with the handles. 

Hold the handles while making sure that your palms face inward and extend your arms out to both sides. Pull through all the way, further returning to the starting position and repeat.

Words by Arjun Thakur

05 Aug 2021
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