Want Big Powerful Shoulders? Then Use These Shoulder Exercises Carefully

A mainstay of most bodybuilding and physique development programs are shoulder exercises.

The problem is that many inexperienced people over use these exercises because your shoulders already get excessive work doing most other upper body exercises.

Your shoulder muscle is also known as the deltoid (the main shoulder muscles that you see).

The shoulder is made of 3 separate parts, known as heads, that you should be concerned if you want to improve your physique.

They are listed in the diagram below.

Now the main problem with exercises for your shoulder muscles is that the anterior head (the muscle at the front) gets quite a bit of work from upper body exercises such as most chest exercises.

There is actually no reason to do any specific exercises for your shoulder muscles for this part of your shoulder.

Any additional shoulder strength exercises for the anterior delt, such as the front dumbbell raises you see so many people performing, will result in serious over-training.

If you over-train your anterior deltoids your other effective shoulder exercises and other upper body exercises will suffer. If you want a good physique stay away from shoulder exercises that isolate your front delt.

For properly developed shoulder muscles you need to equally utilize each head of your shoulder using only the best shoulder exercises. These exercises should not directly target the anterior delt, as mentioned previously.

A number of exercises that are effective for both the side and the rear shoulder will indirectly provide some work to the anterior delt but not enough to cause over-training.

Your shoulder muscles require a variety of weight lifting exercises to target the muscle fibers from a variety of angles in different directions.

One key point to make here concerning shoulder exercises is that you must use correct form on each and every rep and set of each exercise. Failure to do this will result, at the very least, not receiving the full benefits.

It may be very easy for you to develop big muscular shoulders without doing very many shoulder exercises and doing very little work with the ones you actually do.

"The Best Shoulder Exercises"

Here are some exercises that positively affect the development of your shoulder muscles without causing any over-training in your anterior deltoids.

Seated Military Press:

Barbell press exercises for your shoulder muscles will incorporate the anterior deltoid slightly, but just at the beginning portion of the lift. Shoulder exercises such as this will not cause over-training.

It’s always best and safer to use an actual shoulder press bench for this exercise. Use a grip that is a bit wider than your shoulders otherwise you will put unnecessary strain on your wrists and rotator cuff muscles.

With exercises such as the military press where you are using a barbell you can choose to lower it either in the front or back of your head. Some people experience shoulder pain bringing the bar behind the head so decide which position works best.

Seated Dumbbell Press:

The seated DB press works in primarily the same fashion as the military press but will include some assistor and stabilizer muscles at the same time. The main difference of course is that you will be bringing the dumbbells down beside your head, not in front or back.

Side Lateral Raises:

Shoulder side lateral raises will target the side deltoids directly.

Start from a standing position while holding the dumbbells straight down at your sides. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, bring the DB’s up to the side just above your shoulders. Then lower back down under control and do again.

Also, make sure that you lift the dumbbells on the way and never swing them. And when you lower the weights, keep them under control.


L-laterals are a variation of the side lateral raise that puts minimal stress on your elbows and targets your medial deltoids even better.

Grip two dumbbells and hold them at your sides, palms towards one another. Spread your legs about hip width apart and keep a slight bend in your elbows until your arms form 45-degree angles. Look straight ahead and retract your chin slightly.

Keeping your elbows locked in 45-degree angles, lift your elbows sideways until your arms end up in a position that is more or less parallel to the floor. Reverse the technique to return to the start of the exercise.

Standing Dumbbell Reverse Fly:

For reverse fly exercises for your shoulder muscles you will need an incline bench and a set of dumbbells. Some people do shoulder exercises such as this just by standing or sitting and bending over, but it's best to do with an incline bench for additional support.

Using the incline bench set at a medium to high angle, grip two dumbbells and stand behind the bench and bend over, resting your head on the very top portion of the back of the bench.

Your neck will be in a neutral position when your head is on the top of the incline bench. Keep your knees flexed and your back straight.

Your arms will be extended and hanging directly under your chest.

Now rotate your arms out and pull your shoulder blades back and flex hard, hold for a count of one, then slowly go back to the beginning. Then repeat.

"Final Thoughts On Shoulder Strength Exercises"

You may want to have huge shoulder muscles, most of us do, and it's not very hard to accomplish when you use the right shoulder strength exercises.

Using the right exercises for your shoulder muscles in the proper manner will set you apart from the rest of the enthusiasts who are trying hard to develop an impressive muscular physique.

Remember, to make positive gains in your shoulders you need to use the best shoulder exercises with a proper load, volume and range of motion.

Don't make the same mistake as so many others when trying to develop their shoulders and over-train. Pay strict attention to selecting the proper shoulder exercises for maximum development.

The exercises here will work but if you don't know how often to perform each of them the right way and exactly what the proper technique is you won't get the results you're looking for.

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