Building Strong Shoulders!

Part of the You Can Learn Weightlifting series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, YouCanLearnSeries.com
Updated:
September 6, 2004

Strong Shoulders can help you with tasks around the house, like taking garbage to the street, or traveling with heavy luggage. Like the back, you don't want to have problems with your shoulders. The best thing is do a regular exercise program where you are utilizing all the shoulder muscles, deltoids, trapezius and rhomboids. I have had good success with my shoulder exercises and I am happy with my progress.

The exercises shown below can be done with barbells or dumbbells. I recommend you switch off. When you are using dumbbells, you strengthen tiny muscle fibers that aren't utilized when you are lifting a barbell. Try it, you will be amazed at the difference between the lift of a barbell compared to a dumbbell. These workouts for the shoulders are designed to increase your strength and if you use heavy weights, will give you big, huge, strong shoulder muscles.

When training the shoulders, use care and give your muscles an off day. Train a muscle set that doesn't use the shoulders the next day. Your body needs the rest days as much as it needs the workout days to grow large.


     As always, if you haven't exercised in a long time or you have long standing medical problems, be sure and see a doctor before starting this or any exercise routine.
Shoulders - Dumbbell Raise
  • Hold dumbbells next to your side.
  • Raise dumbbells up to your armpits.
  • Hold for one second
  • Slowly lower dumbbells to start position.
  • Repeat 6 to 12 times.
  • For conditioning and good health do 2 sets
  • BodyBuilders do 3 to 5 sets and increasing weights
Shoulders - Shrug
  • Hold dumbbells by the side of your legs
  • Shrug shoulders
  • Hold for one second
  • Relax shoulders.
  • Repeat 6 to 12 times.
  • For conditioning and good health do 2 sets
  • BodyBuilders do 3 to 5 sets
Shoulders - Side Deltoid Raise
  • Hold dumbbells by the side of your legs
  • Raise dumbbells toward ceiling while keeping arms slightly bent.
  • When you pass your shoulders, then stop
  • Hold for one second
  • Slowly return dumbbells to start position.
  • Repeat 6 to 12 times.
  • For conditioning and good health do 2 sets
  • BodyBuilders do 3 to 5 sets
Shoulders - Front Deltoid Raise
  • Hold dumbbells in front of your legs with palms facing toward your body.
  • Raise dumbbells toward ceiling while keeping arms slightly bent.
  • When you pass your shoulders, go another foot then stop
  • Hold for one second
  • Slowly return dumbbells to start position.
  • Repeat 6 to 12 times.
  • For conditioning and good health do 2 sets
  • BodyBuilders do 3 to 5 sets
Shoulders - Behind the Neck Press with Barbell
  • Grasp barbell a little wider than shoulder length apart
  • Raise barbell above your head till arms are almost striaght
  • Slowly lower barbell behind your head until it almost touches your shoulders
  • Hold for one second
  • Return to start position breathing out as you lift.
  • Repeat 6 to 12 times.
  • For conditioning and good health do 2 sets
  • BodyBuilders do 3 to 5 sets
Shoulders - Upright Row
  • Grasp barbell with hands close together
  • Raise barbell up toward your chin breathing out as you lift
  • Hold for one second
  • Return to start position breathing in
  • Repeat 6 to 12 times.
  • For conditioning and good health do 2 sets
  • BodyBuilders do 3 to 5 sets
Remember to start slow with small weights, just because you lifted 200 pounds as a 20 year old doesn't mean you have to begin at that weight. Try 10 pounds or 20 pounds and work up from there. The shoulder muscles play such an integral part in everything we do, that you don't want to mess that up. If you haven't weightlifted in a long time or have never weightlifted, then start small. I can't stress that enough. These exercises can be very dangerous if not done correctly or with the proper weight.

We have tried to help you get started with building big, bigger shoulders. These are the basics in weightlifting for the shoulders, for the novice and with extra work for the serious bodybuilder. Take the time to try these shoulder exercises and you will be happy with your results. These are solid workouts for the shoulders.

I want to encourage you to have fun in your quest for a better, stronger, more fit body and shoulders. Sometimes, you will have to take a day off. Listen to your body, after a long weekend doing yard work and playing with family and friends and your body is screaming for a rest, take a day off from your weightlifting routine and relax and let your body recover. Always think long term in your exercising goals.

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