Bulking up and building upper body strength is just as important as working out the lower half of your body. Enhancing your shoulder muscles and gaining definition is a primary focus for bodybuilders competing for the best physique. Although there are many exercises you can perform, we have narrowed it down to a small handful of the top workouts to help you achieve the results you’re looking for. So let’s start and get shredded!

Shoulder Workouts At The Gym

Some people love working out at the gym for social reasons and or for accountability. Some people need others to hold them accountable to get into a consistent routine of working out. We find that it is helpful to know already what exercises will be done for that day to be mentally prepared.

Here is an excellent set of shoulder workouts for you to try at your gym:

  • Bench press
  • Curl bar 
  • Dumbbell extension 
  • Russian twist 

Completing these exercises at a weight that is comfortable for you will get you closer to your goals. For each of these exercises, you should do a circuit. Which means one set per exercise for sixty seconds each. Then on your second set, complete each exercise for forty seconds. On your last set, your arms will feel weak, that’s how you know you are making gains. Twenty seconds for each exercise, and you are done.

This workout will focus on the biceps, shoulder, back, triceps, and abs. Making your core stronger will assist in building your workouts to be easier. If you haven’t worked out in a while, you might want to start with two sets instead of three going for forty and twenty seconds. This will allow you to build up to the third set of reps as your muscles get stronger.  

Young man fitness workout, push ups or plank

Shoulder Exercises At Home

For the strongest among us who can get a workout in at home, I congratulate you for your perseverance at overcoming distractions. The following is a shoulder workout that can be done from the comfort of your home using just your body weight. You can always add dumbbells if you have them to some of these exercises.   

Here are a few more of the best at home shoulder workouts:

  • Push-ups 
  • Mountain climbers 
  • Chair tricep extension
  • Plank 

These exercises should be done one set at a time with a short break in between each one. If you are new to working out, begin with two sets of ten reps for push-ups, forty mountain climbers, ten tricep extensions and a forty-second plank. If completing two sets was easy for you then increase to three sets the next day you workout arms. Working out is all about how you feel and pushing yourself and your muscles so that you get the most from your workouts.    

Working out your shoulder muscles is about more than looking good in the mirror. It’s also about preventing future injuries. Almost every upper exercise will put some pressure on the muscles in your shoulders. So, before you start lifting heavy weights, it’s a good idea to start working out your shoulders.

The good news is that there are plenty of exercises that will allow you to strengthen this area. Let’s look at some of the most popular options and how you execute them.


The first exercise that you can try is the push-press. This is a relatively simple procedure. First, you will need to get the right stance. You want to be standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the barbell or dumbbell so that your elbows are facing forwards. The bar should be resting on your shoulders in between reps.

You will need to bend into a shallow squat. Then, drive up through your feet to push the bar over your head. Return to the starting position, resting the weight on your torso. This counts as one repetition. This video shows you how to perform the technique properly.

The good news is that there are plenty of variations on this exercise. You can do it with barbells or you can use dumbbells. If you want to work on one arm, you can use kettlebells. Plus, this is a compound movement. This ensures that you will be getting a whole-body movement.

It’s often best to put this exercise at the start of your workout. Aim to have three to four sets. Each set should have six to eight reps. Don’t forget to give yourself a 30-second break between each set.

Upright Rows

These exercises have earned a reputation for being brutal on the shoulders. Here is how you do it. First, you need to put your feet shoulder-width apart. During this exercise, you will need to keep your traps tight, squeezing your shoulders together. Lift the dumbbells to just below your head, then bring them down to your waist. This counts as one repetition. During the whole exercise, you will need to keep your traps engaged. This video talks you through how to do this.

This exercise has earned a reputation for being damaging to your shoulders. But that doesn’t have to be the case. It all depends on where you are positioning your hands. If you are using a bar, you want to take a wide grip. This will ensure that you are working out the delts while placing minimal pressure on the biceps.

When you are incorporating this into your routine, you don’t want to do it right at the start. It’s best to do these at the end, as a burnout exercise. You should aim to do eight to ten reps per set, giving yourself a 45-second break between each set.

Rear Delt Row

The third shoulder exercise to try is the rear delt row. This is simple. There are a few ways you can do this exercise. It’s often best to do this while on the workout bench. This ensures that you are keeping your back straight. But you don’t need this to do the workout. You can bend over, keeping your back at a slightly inclined angle and your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, raise the dumbbells to a 90-degree angle, before returning them to the level of your knees. This is one rep. This video shows you how you can do this.

This exercise is often overlooked, but it can be hugely powerful. It will be working your whole back, including your rear and middle delts. You should do this in sets that consist of eight to ten reps.

Lateral Raise

This is one of the most popular exercises you can use, employed by beginners and professionals alike. This is because it is one of the most effective ways to isolate and target your delts. Plus, it’s easy to learn, consisting of only one movement.

Start with the dumbbell by your side. Then, raise the weight to your shoulders, making sure to keep your arms straight. Then, return the dumbbell to your side. You don’t want to have them flat against your body, you want to keep them at a 30-degree angle.

There are a few ways that you increase the difficulty of the exercise. A good way of doing this is running the rack. In each set, you should aim to do between eight to ten reps.

Seated Presses

Finally, you might want to consider using seated presses. You can do these with either a dumbbell or a barbell, each working a slightly different part of the body. For example, the dumbbell places a stronger focus on the shoulders. However, some people prefer to use a barbell as it gives them more control. You can try both, to find which one works best for you.

Both of these options work in the same way. You will start holding the weight above your shoulder, with your elbow bent at a right degree angle. Then, lift it above your head. Retain control as you lower the dumbbells to be at the level of your head. This is one rep.

A set should consist of between five to eight reps.  You will be able to use it when you are going for a muscle failure. If you are going to do this, it’s important to think about your safety. Make sure that there is always a spotter on standby.

Where this exercise slots into the workout will depend on your preferences. Some people like to do it at the end, working until muscle failure. Others like to do it at the start, before moving on to using lighter weights.

Front Raise

This is one of the easiest workouts to do. All you need to do is hold a dumbbell in your hand, starting with it near your knee. Then, lift until your arm is right in front of you at a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position and repeat the process with the other hand. This counts as one repetition. It’s best to do this towards the end of the routine, so you can repeat it until muscle failure.

There are a few variations of this workout that you can explore. For example, some people like to swap the dumbbells for cable weights or barbells. You can raise your arms separately, or lift both weights at the same time. Experiment to find what works best for your training style.

Example of a Shoulder Workout

There are many examples of how you can bring all of this together for a workout that is going to help you build strong shoulders and lateral delts. If you are wondering what you should be looking for, check out this workout:

  • Push Press. Do three sets, each consisting of eight reps, then give yourself two minutes’ rest.
  • Seated presses. Again, you’ll want to do three sets of 12 reps. You have 90 seconds to rest.
  • Rear delt row. You should do three sets, made up of 10 reps. After 90 seconds of rest move on to the next set.
  • Lateral raise. Finish the workout with three sets of 10 lateral raises, with 90 seconds of rest between each set.

Over time, you will be able to increase the difficulty. You can either add more reps to each set or you can increase the amount of weight you are lifting.


Tips For Safe Bulking

Your body is going to tell you if you can do more of if you need to complete fewer reps or use a lower weight. Listen to what your body is saying. Soreness is an excellent barometer for understanding your workout needs. Slower progress over time is more sustainable than extreme gains that might cause pain or injury. Taking an all-natural bulking stack can help amplify your workout routine and increase strength and muscle mass quicker.

Don’t forget to also drink water during and after your workout. Hydration is just as important as working out when it comes to building muscle. Your summer body starts now! Take your workout and your progress one day at a time. You will see your hard work pay off in no time.  

Muscular man with dumbbells