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6 Exercises For Building Dream Shoulders


Want to build great-looking shoulders? These 6 exercises can help you achieve your goal!

Most of us don’t look forward to shoulder day; at least not as much as we do to training other muscle groups, like chest, for example. In fact, sometimes we neglect shoulders so much that we unintentionally choose to train them on a day like a Friday, when our bodies are tired of lifting and we are mentally ready for a fun weekend.

Now, as much as we’d prefer to have a short and sweet shoulder workout, squeezing two to three exercises with a few ab and calf sets, it is not ideal. Shoulders require just as much time and effort to build as any other muscle group does. Instead of grouping them together with other muscle groups, we should dedicate an entire day to shoulders; we should aim to perform a solid mix of five to six exercises, where all three parts of the shoulder are trained: anterior, middle and exterior. This level of care and dedication will encourage definition, balance and fullness to your shoulders.

In order to help you get that set of dream shoulders, we have carefully selected six killer exercises for you to follow on shoulder day. Pay attention to the exercise order, the quantity of sets and reps, and the rest periods; all of these work together in sync to provide you with the best results.

While performing each exercise it is important for you to make that mind-muscle connection; this targeting technique will maximize your weight lifting efforts by allowing your mind to single out that area of the shoulder that each exercise aims to target. Our mind is a crucial aspect of weight training, as it not only helps us isolate and target muscle activity, but it also helps improve physical strength exponentially. If our minds say we can push one more rep, even when our body is physically telling us we cant, we’ll push that extra rep; allow your mental strength to push you to that next level.

After a few weeks of following this shoulder mix, you will start to see those round and chiseled shoulders you’ve always aspired to get.

Go get it!

1. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder PressVideo Here!

  • Quantity: 4 sets of 8-10 reps, 90 second rest in between sets
  • Areas targeted: anterior, middle and rear deltoids
  • Steps:
  1. While holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a utility bench that has back support. Place dumbbells upright on top of your thighs.
  2. Raise dumbbells to shoulder height by using your thighs to help push them up into position.
  3. Rotate your wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing forward. This is your starting position.
  4. Push dumbbells upward until they touch at the top as you exhale.
  5. After a brief pause at the top, slowly lower dumbbells back down to the starting position as you inhale.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Variations:
    • You can perform the exercise standing.

2. Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Standing Dumbbell Lateral RaiseVideo Here!

  • Quantity: 3 sets of 12 reps, 90 second rest in between sets
  • Areas targeted: middle deltoids
  • Steps:
  1. Stand straight with the dumbbells by your side at arms length with the palms of the hand facing you. This is your starting position.
  2. While keeping your torso still, lift dumbbells to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and your hands slightly tilted forward. Go up until you arms are parallel to the floor as you exhale with a brief pause at the top.
  3. Slowly lower dumbbells to the starting position as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Variations:
    • You can perform this exercise sitting down.

3. Front Plate Raise

Front Plate RaiseVideo Here!

  • Quantity: 3 sets of 12 reps, 60 second rest in between sets
  • Areas targeted: anterior deltoids
  • Steps:
  1. Stand straight and hold a plate in both hands at 3 and 9 o’clock positions. Your arms should be extended and locked with a slight bend at the elbows; your palms should be facing each other and the plate should be down near your waist in front of you. This is your starting position.
  2. Raise the plate slowly as you exhale until the plate is just above the shoulder level and briefly pause at the top. Your torso should remain straight and still throughout the movement.
  3. Slowly lower the plate back down to the starting position as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Variations:
    • You can use dumbbells, barbells, cables or bands to perform this exercise.

4. Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral RaiseVideo Here!

  • Quantity: 3 sets of 12 reps, 60 se cond rest in between sets
  • Areas targeted: rear deltoids
  • Steps:
  1. Bend at the waist and keep your back straight to pick up the dumbbells. The palms of your hands should be facing each other as you pick the weights up. This is your starting position.
  2. Keeping your torso forward and still, and arms slightly bent at the elbows, lift dumbbells straight to the side until arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you lift the weights and avoid swinging the torso.
  3. After a brief contraction at the top, slowly lower dumbbells back to your starting position.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Variations:
    • You can perform this exercise standing (if you have back problems, this is not recommended).

5. Upright Row

Upright RowVideo Here!

  • Quantity: 3 sets of 8-10 reps, 90 second rest in between sets
  • Areas targeted: traps
  • Steps:
  1. Grab a barbell with an overhand grip less than shoulder width. The bar should be resting by your thighs, your arms should be extended with a slight bend in your elbows, and your back should be straight. This will be your starting position.
  2. Use the sides of your shoulders to lift the bar, raising your elbows up and to the side as you exhale; keep the bar close to your body as you raise it. Continue to lift the bar until it nearly touches your chin. Keep your torso still and pause for a second at the top.
  3. Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Variations:
    • This exercise can be performed using dumbbells. 

6. Seated Barbell Shoulder Press

Seated Barbell Shoulder PressVideo Here!

  • Quantity: 4 sets of 8-10 reps, 90 second rest in between sets
  • Areas targeted: anterior, middle and rear deltoids
  • Steps:
  1. Sit on a bench with back support in a squat rack. Position the barbell at a height that is just above your head. Grab the barbell with your palms facing forward.
  2. Pick up the barbell with desired grip width; lift the bar up over your head and hold at about shoulder level, slightly in front of your head. This is your starting position.
  3. Slowly lower the bar down to the shoulders as you inhale.
  4. Lift the bar back up to the starting position as you exhale.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Variations:
    • You can perform this exercise standing.

Sidenote:

When you work out consistently, you will be breaking your muscles down.  Make sure you consume an ample amount of protein to help your muscles recover. Sometimes I have a hard time getting all the protein I need through my meals alone (although I try). When I really need that extra boost I will go for one of my favorite protein powders that I’ve found to be cleaner than most supplements. It’s not 100% paleo but it definitely helps me recover and stay active in the gym!

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6 Exercises For Building Dream Shoulders


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