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The Best 10 Exercises to Train Your Shoulder Muscles at Gym

The Best 10 Exercises to Train Your Shoulder Muscles at Gym

Building a strong body requires the most explicit weight lifting or intensive workout routine. Shoulder workouts are usually the ones you’ll find in every gym goer’s favorite list. However, it depends on your goals also, if lifting heavy weights is your goal or it makes you wince just thinking about it.

Shoulder exercises are my favorite of all. Because building a wider shoulder makes your personality look bolder and grim.

Although, under the light of so many positive aspects, shoulder workouts are a crucial component of any good fitness workout routine. Not only will the right shoulder workout do wonders in helping you achieve those fitness goals but also keep things interesting at the gym. 

Building stronger shoulders also mean you are less likely to sustain a muscle injury from regularly hitting the iron crunch. Here is what you need to know about how to train your shoulder muscles.

Relevant Reading: How to Boost Your Gym Performance

What are the Different Shoulder Muscles?

Shoulder Muscles

Comparatively, shoulder muscles are one of the easier muscle groups to develop through the right exercises. With a little consistency and appropriate direction, you can expect relatively fast gains. But, it is crucial to employ a varied routine that targets all the different shoulder muscle regions.

Coming from your traps to your cluster of rotator cuff muscles, there are nearly 20 distinct muscles that all play a part in stabilizing the shoulder, as well as controlling its movements. The most fundamentals ones are listed down here:

●       Trapezius

The muscle works as a joining strip in the back of your shoulders and connects them. Moreover, it extends to support your neck and runs all the way down to just before your lower back. 

●       Deltoid Muscles

This is a set of three muscles which are actually thin layers of tissue that helps to connect your shoulder to your chest. You’ll find the anterior deltoid between your chest and shoulder, your lateral deltoid on top of your shoulder, and the posterior deltoid between your upper arm and shoulder blades.

●       Pectoralis Major

These muscles are also referred to as pecs and these muscles cover your chest and connect it to your shoulder.

●       Rhomboid Major

The rhomboid major is a back muscle that connects your shoulders blades with your spine.

●       Serratus Anterior

You can find serratus anterior on the side of your chest, directly underneath your armpit.

●       Rotator Cuff 

The rotator cuffs are a collection of four components. The function of rotator cuff muscles is to work as a supporter between your shoulder and arm.

Top 10 Best Shoulder Exercises for Men at Gym


Suddenly getting into a weight exercise without getting your muscle to know that you are going to put pressure on it can harm your muscle and you may get yourself injured. Every time you get into a workout prepare your body and mind by doing warm-up, it is also important to shift your body set from resting position to workout position.

  • Jump Rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Jogging and Running
  • Arm rotation
  • Stretching

These are some of the common warm-up exercises you can do before starting your desired shoulder workout.

1.    Push-Ups


Push-ups are the ultimate exercise you can incorporate in your workout to train your shoulder muscles. This exercise is arguably one of the most fundamental ones for both strength and muscle building.

Considerably, out of the all shoulder-specific bodyweight exercises push-ups are the best and your go-to exercise. The best thing about this shoulder exercise is that it is so flexible, you can do them practically anywhere without the need for any equipment. There are, however, numerous variations to try out.

How to Do it:

  • Get down on all your fours, extend your legs behind you and lower your upper body.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and then push yourself back up to the starting position.

As of those Push-up variations, below are some listed down you can use to target different muscles:

  • Incline Push-up
  • Push-Lack Push-up
  • Pike Push-up
  • Diamond Push-up
  • Wide Push-up
  • Cross-body Push-up
  • Staggered Push-up

2.    Crab Walk

Crab Walks

The crab walk comes second in the category of bodyweight exercises that targets your shoulder. However, crab walk is one of the most effective exercises that target your shoulder, arm, core, and leg muscles. This exercise is a bit hard to perform but it’s definitely worth including it in your shoulder workout routine. 

How to Do it:

  • Start with a seated position and keep your hands and feet intact on the ground.
  • Bridge your hips off the ground, bend your knees, and support yourself using your hands.
  • Crawl by moving your hand along with the opposite foot and repeat on the other side.

3.    Prone T

Prune T

The prone T is a stability exercise that is quite beneficial to train your shoulder muscles. Incorporate this exercise into your shoulder workout for men at the gym to get the best out of it.

How to Do it:

  • Lie down on a bench on your belly support with your head, neck, and spine aligned.
  • Let your arms hang loosely in front of you before raising them to form a T shape.

There is another variant of this exercise called Prone Y. Unlike Prone T, instead of raising your arms laterally, raise them above your head to form a Y or V shape. 

4.    Incline Bench Dumbbell Press

Incline Dumbbell Press

The incline bench dumbbell presses or simply the incline bench press – is a shoulder exercise that is mostly referred to as the cornerstone to any solid shoulder workout, targeting your upper defined pecs. This exercise helps engage the upper portion of your chest instead of the whole pectoral muscle and strengthens your chest’s connection to your shoulders.

How to Do it:

  • Adjust your bench at a 45-degree angle.
  • Perform a standard shoulder press by either lifting a barbell or a dumbbell in each hand.

5.    Lateral Raise

Lateral Dumbbells raises

Lateral raises are a versatile exercise to train your shoulder muscles at the gym. You can perform lateral raises with a pair of dumbbells, cable machine, resistance band, or improvised weights like water bottles and books (convenient for shoulder workout at home). This exercise will help you to develop your lateral deltoid muscles and improve shoulder mobility.

How to Do it:

  • Stand tall with your arms relaxed by your sides.
  • Raise your arms at a 90-degree angle with your body, holding dumbbells in your hands.
  • Control your movement and lower down the dumbbells slowly.
  • Get into the starting position and repeat.

To make it more intense, combine the side lateral raises with a set of front lateral raises (one arm or two), which targets your anterior deltoids. You can use dumbbells, resistance bands, cable machines, and you can also use some improvised weights as well.

How to Do it:

  • Stand straight with your arms relaxed by your sides.
  • Raise your arm straight slowly in front of you, holding dumbbells in your hands.

The resistance of doing the front lateral raise should engage your exterior deltoids.

6.    Overhead Press

Dumbbell and Barbell Shoulder Press

The overhead press – sometimes referred to as the overhead shoulder press – is the perfect shoulder exercise for any routine aiming to develop shoulder strength and muscle mass. To increase the intensity of this exercise you can use heavyweights. However, the overhead press will target your deltoids, pectorals, triceps, and traps.

Relevant Reading: What are Pyramid Sets? Guide to Pyramid Workouts and Training

How to Do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift the dumbbells or barbell to your shoulder level.
  • Perform an overhead shoulder press by raining the dumbbells or barbell over your head.
  • Hold the weight above your head for a few seconds before gradually lowering it in a controlled manner.

There is another way to hit the same targeted muscle by performing a variation called the military press. This exercise is specifically considerable if you are an operator with a more advanced fitness level. However, this exercise will target your shoulders, core, and back.

How to Do it:

Instead of keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, you’ll need to keep your feet together. Although, by keeping this stance, you are forced to engage your core for more stability.

  • Stand in a straight position with your barbell tucked underneath your chin and your hands close to your shoulders and palms facing upwards.
  • Raise the barbell over your head by extending your arms.
  • Wait for a few seconds before gradually lowering it down.

7.    Standing Cable Pulley Fly

Low Upward Cable Pulley Crossover

However, the standing cable pulley fly is another excellent exercise to train your shoulder muscles at the gym. This exercise targets your deltoids muscles and your chest.

How to Do it:

  • Extend your arms to your sides and maintain a neutral posture while using two wires at chest height.
  • Step forward and carefully lower the weights while allowing your shoulders to open out. To make the lift, engage your pecs.

8.    Dumbbell Shoulder Push Press

Dumbbell Squat Thrusters

Shoulder Dumbbell push press is one of the best exercises to train your shoulder muscles at the gym. This dumbbell shoulder exercise engages your deltoids and trapezius muscles and also works your glutes, quads, and core. Certainly, it is a simple move to learn and if you have intentions of getting into weight training, this is the most recommended exercise for beginner level.

How to Do it:

  • Commence by holding dumbbells at shoulder level.
  • Bend your knees slightly, lower your torso as you exhale.
  • Stand up tall by straightening your legs and raise your arms above your head.

9.    Cable Face Pulls

cable face pull

Last but not least, cable face pulls, one of the exemplary shoulder exercises that target your lateral and posterior deltoids, trapezius, teres minors, and more.

How to Do it:

  • Stand in front of a cable machine, cable in hands at shoulder height.
  • Bring your elbows a slight bend, pull the cable towards your face in an upward motion.

10.  Straight Arm Circles

Arm Circles

Straight arm circles are another great shoulder exercise for improving mobility. They can assist you to adopt a healthier posture by opening up your shoulders. Although, if your goal is to develop muscle mass in your shoulders, it is definitely important to add exercises like straight arm circles that allow you to preserve your mobility.

Moreover, a straight arm can be encouraged as a warm-up exercise that you can incorporate into your pre-workout arsenal. And you can also take this exercise as a cool-down after an intense shoulder workout session. It is yet another shoulder exercise that you can do anywhere without the need for any equipment. 

How to Do it:

  • Stand straight with your arms extended to form a T shape.
  • Form circles with your arms.
  • Widen the circles as time goes on until a full range of motion.
  • Change direction after a few seconds.


Further Reading: The 10 Best Arm Workout Exercises for Building Bigger Arms

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