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Shoulder workouts you can do at home or in the gym

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Your shoulders are the most versatile joints in the body with the best range of motion, that’s why it’s important to strengthen your shoulders with regular exercise.

The best shoulder workouts include exercises to work your rotator cuff and deltoid muscles so you can build strength, stability and mass.

Shoulder Anatomy

There are two parts to the shoulder: the rotator cuff and the deltoids. Both parts of the shoulder are important, but they serve different functions. The rotator cuff stabilises the joint and the deltoids give shoulders their shape and drive movement.

If you want to increase shoulder size, you need to do exercises that use multiple angles to hit each part of the deltoids. There are three parts of the deltoid — the anterior (front), lateral (middle), and posterior (back).

Shoulder Workout For In The Gym

Here's a shoulder workout you can do in the gym. You’ll need a barbell, a set of plates, two dumbbells and a bench.

  1. Standing shoulder press 8-10 reps
  2. Lying incline front raise 8-10 reps
  3. High incline lateral raise 8-10 reps
  4. Lateral raise 10-12 reps

Complete 3 sets of each exercise, then move on to the next exercise.

Should workout you can do at home

If you haven't got access to the kit for the workout above, you can always do a shoulder workout at home using a pair of dumbbells or two water bottles. Try the following shoulder workout below.

  • Shoulder press
  • Front raise
  • Lateral raise
  • Bent over reverse fly
  • Commandos

Exercise: Shoulder press

Routine: 10 reps x 4 sets

Rest between sets: 1-2 minutes

The shoulder press is a simple movement pattern that helps build strong shoulders. If you do this exercise standing up, you can challenge your core stability.

The next three exercises are important because they work the shoulder from all three deltoid angles, promoting muscular balance.

Exercise: Front raise 
Routine:
10 reps x 4 sets
Rest between sets:
1-2 minutes

This exercise focuses on the anterior (front) part of the deltoid muscle. Front raises work your shoulders, but also your core, upper back, arms and neck.

Exercise: Lateral raise
Routine:
10 reps x 4 sets
Rest between sets:
1 minute rest

This exercise focuses on the lateral (middle) part of the deltoid muscle. The lateral raise is a shoulder strengthening movement and helps you to develop strong broader shoulders.

Exercise: Bent over reverse fly 
Routine:
10 reps x 4 sets
Rest between sets:
1-2 minutes rest

This exercise focuses on the posterior (back) part of the deltoid muscle. It’s great for imbalances, as a lot of our everyday movements neglect the rear deltoids.

Exercise: Commandos

Routine: 15 reps x 3 sets

Rest between sets: 1 minute

The commando targets the shoulders, but it also is great for tricep and core engagement. This can be regressed to the knees if it is too challenging, or to a plank with shoulder touches.

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