1. Barbell Overhead Shoulder Press
A barbell overhead shoulder press (aka barbell standing shoulder press) works not just your shoulders, but most of your body. That makes it a terrific core strengthener and mass builder, among other things. To start, put your feet at shoulder-width, and tighten your core as you hold a barbell at your shoulders, palms facing forward. Next, push the bar upward and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the peak. Lower steadily and carefully.
2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
A proper deltoid workout simply isn’t complete without the seated dumbbell shoulder press. In fact, some say this exercise routine is an entire deltoid regimen unto itself, targeting the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoid muscles (with an emphasis on the middle delts). Meanwhile, lifting two separate dumbbells (as opposed to using a machine) prevents you from using one side of your body over the other, thereby retaining firmer balance and distribution. Naturally, a fair amount of coordination is required to pull this one off, especially when you increase the weights.
3. Front Raise
You can use either a weight plate or barbell for this shoulder exercise, which targets the anterior delts. No matter what you decide to use, prepare for a seriously intense workout that brings no shortage of healthy pain. For that reason, don’t max out on the weight, as it will quickly turn healthy pain into unhealthy injury.
4. Reverse Pec Deck Fly
This exercise targets your posterior delts and requires a pec deck machine. To start, face the machine, and position the seat so that the handles are at shoulder level on either side. Next, hold the handles with your palms facing inward. Tighten your torso and extend your arms out to the side, pushing through all the way. Responsibly return to the starting position. Repeat.
5. Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise
This wildly effective shoulder exercise targets your middle deltoids, though it also builds upon your overall physique. You can perform it in either a standing (bent-over) or seated position. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your chest up, your back flat, your knees slightly bent, and your eyes focussed toward a fixed point on the floor. Now, bend over until your core is basically parallel with the ground, and hang the dumbbells directly underneath you, all while keeping your elbows in a slightly bent position. Next, raise both dumbbells up and out to your sides, forming an arc until your upper arms are even with your torso. Take a brief pause at the top before lowering the dumbbells back into starting position. Repeat.
6. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
If you prefer a more traditional lateral raise, look no further than this one here. It likewise targets the middle deltoids and works wonders when executed properly. Start in the standing position, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, your abs tight, your chest up, your head straight, and your shoulders pinched. Hold the dumbbells at either side, retaining a neutral grip.
7. Dumbbell Front Raise
The dumbbell front raise is a fundamental weight training exercise that is great for beginning trainers. In this version of the dumbbell front raise, you start with a dumbbell in each hand at thigh level. You raise the dumbbells parallel to the floor and then return to the starting position to complete one exercise repetition. You can use this exercise in an upper body workout to build your shoulder strength.
8. Standing Shrugs
8A. Standing Barbell Shrugs
Save this neck and shoulder exercise for the end of your overall routine. Keeping your feet even with your shoulders, bend your knees and pick up the barbell, bringing it to waist level. Next, lift your shoulders up and back (i.e. “shrug” or pinch them), squeezing for about five seconds before releasing them. Keep the movements restricted to your shoulders, meaning your arms should be relatively loose and the barbell should only raise and lower very slightly.
8B. Standing Dunbell Shrugs
Same as above, except this time you need to do this with dumbbells.