The Best Shoulder Exercises For Men – Build Bigger Shoulders

The Best Shoulder Exercises For Men – Build Bigger Shoulders

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Shoulder exercises should be a part of your workout routine. Failure to broaden out up top will mean that no matter how many sit-ups you do and how slim your waist is, you’re not going to be able to carve out that coveted V-shape. To get that, you’ll need shoulder exercises. In this article, you’ll find out what are the best shoulder exercises for men.

But it’s not only about the looks. It’s about health too. In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy patients with rotator cuff related shoulder pain saw significant improvements in pain and function thanks to a three-week home programme of daily shoulder exercises.

So for the good of your health, and to get you the best pump up top, let’s see, first of, what muscles make up your shoulders and then we’ll jump to exercises.

What Muscles Make Up Your Shoulders

The shoulder is made up of two groups of muscles: extrinsic muscles, which originate from the torso, and attach to the bones of the shoulder, and intrinsic muscles, which originate from the scapula and/or clavicle, and attach to the humerus.

The Shoulder’s Extrinsic Muscles

  • Trapezius

Your trapezius is the triangle-shaped muscles that run down along your spine and across your shoulder blade. You have both a right and left trapezius; these muscles support your arms and shoulders, and are needed to raise your arms.

  • Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi muscle is one of the largest muscles in your back, and is partially covered by the trapezius. Developing your “lats” will make it easier for you to manage your own body weight.

  • Levator Scapulae

Your levator scapulae muscle is located at the side and back of the neck. Its primary function is to lift the triangle-shaped bone located at the back of the shoulder (scapula) that connects your upper arm bone (humerus) with the clavicle (collarbone).

  • Rhomboids

The rhomboids are the muscles at the top of the back and middle of the shoulder blades. When they contract, they pull your shoulder blades together.

The Shoulder’s Intrinsic Muscles

  • Deltoids

Your deltoid is made up of three main sets of muscle fibres: anterior, lateral and posterior, which are connected by a very thick tendon and are anchored into a V-shape. The deltoid muscle is primarily responsible for arm rotation, but it is also responsible for stopping dislocation and injury to the humerus when carrying heavy loads.

  • Teres Major

Teres major is a small muscle that’s located on the underside of the upper arm. It’s sometimes called “lat’s little helper” because of its partnership with the latissimus dorsi.

  • Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons, including teres minor, that surround the shoulder joint. They keep the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder.

The Best Shoulder Exercises For Men

1. Seated bent-over rear delt fly

Sit down, lean forward and hold a dumbbell in either hand so that they’re resting above your feet. Stay bent forward as you raise your arms to the side, lining the dumbbells with your shoulders. Bring the weights back down and repeat.

Reps: 10 / Sets:3 / Rest: 60 secsseated-bent-over-rear-delt-fly-exercise


2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

A proper deltoid workout simply isn’t complete without the seated dumbbell shoulder press. Here’s how to do it:

Sit on the bench holding two dumbbells at shoulder height with an overhand grip. Keeping your head and spine perfectly straight, press the weights up above your head until your arms are fully extended. Hold the position for a few seconds and then carefully reverse course. Repeat.

Reps: 6 /Sets: 3 / Rest: 60 secsseated-dumbbell-shoulder-pres-exercise

3. Arnold Press

Sit on a bench with your dumbbells held out in front of you. Your palms should be facing your shoulders as though you’ve just finished a bicep curl. Push the dumbbells up over your head while rotating your arms until your palms face away from you. Straighten your arms, pause, then reverse the movement.

Reps: 6 / Sets: 3 / Rest: 60 secsarnold-press-exercise


4. Front Raise

You can use either a weight plate or barbell for this shoulder exercise, which targets the anterior delts. No matter what you decide to use, prepare for a seriously intense workout that brings no shortage of healthy pain. For that reason, don’t max out on the weight, as it will quickly turn healthy pain into unhealthy injury.

To execute, keep your hands at hip height as you hold the weight in front of you. Your feet should be even with your shoulders and your core should be tight. Next, retract your shoulder blades and keep your arms straight as you lift the weight to shoulder level. Breathe steadily and lower the weight carefully. Repeat.

Reps: 8 / Sets: 3 / Rest: 60 secsfront-raise-exercise

5. Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

This wildly effective shoulder exercise targets your middle deltoids, though it also builds upon your overall physique. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your chest up, your back flat, your knees slightly bent, and your eyes focussed toward a fixed point on the floor. Now, bend over until your core is basically parallel with the ground, and hang the dumbbells directly underneath you, all while keeping your elbows in a slightly bent position. Next, raise both dumbbells up and out to your sides, forming an arc until your upper arms are even with your torso. Take a brief pause at the top before lowering the dumbbells back into starting position. Repeat.

Reps: 10 / Sets 3 /Rest: 60 secsbent-over-lateral-raise-exercise


6. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

This lateral raise also targets the middle deltoids and works wonders when executed properly. Start in the standing position, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, your abs tight, your chest up, your head straight, and your shoulders pinched. Hold the dumbbells at either side, retaining a neutral grip. Now, here comes the hard part. Using just your shoulders and arms, raise the dumbbells a notch above shoulder level, and hold for a few seconds. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, and repeat. Your elbows and hands should be moving together in harmony the entire time, and you should be maintaining a neutral, balanced position. If you find that your core or neck is shifting as you perform each rep (i.e. you’re utilising your body’s momentum), lower the weight accordingly.

Reps 10 / Sets 3 / Rest 60 secdumbbell-lateral-raises-exercise


7. Two arm dumbbell upright row

Hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting in front of your thigh. Lift the dumbbells vertically until they’re in line with your collar bone, with your elbow pointing towards the ceiling. Lower the dumbbell back down and repeat.

Reps 8 / Sets 3 / Rest 60 sectwo-arm-dumbbell-upright-row-exercise


8.Barbell Push Press

A staple of heavy-compound workouts. However, even the experts usually start light (sometimes using nothing but the bar), adding weight as they go along.

To start, grab a barbell and hold it at shoulder height with palms facing forwards. Set your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees to initiate the move. Push up with your legs to explosively press the barbell straight above your head. Return under control to the start position.

Reps: 6 / Sets: 3 / Rest: 60 secsbarbell-push-press-exercise


How Often To Do Shoulder Workout

It’s recommended that you practice shoulder exercises 1-3 times a week and take at least a day of rest between workouts. Work your way up to higher weights and intensity levels as you progress.

If you are new to a quality shoulder workout regimen, you’ll discover that these muscles develop rather quickly compared to other areas of your body. However, don’t take that to mean shoulder exercises are easy. On the contrary, a decent number of men dread shoulder day as the workout can get quite intense.


Shoulder exercises for men, described above, bring you one step closer to that desirable V-shape. Indeed, strengthening your delts gives the appearance of a slimmer waist while adding definition to your overall physique. Furthermore, studies have determined that the best shoulder exercises relieve pain and decrease the possibility of future dislocations.

Thank you for reading this article. If you have any question, or want to leave a comment – impression, suggestion, your thoughts, experience… please do so in the comment section below, and I’ll be happy to help you out.

3 thoughts on “The Best Shoulder Exercises For Men – Build Bigger Shoulders

  1. 8 exercises on one body part is a bit hard for me to accomplish. When I did a shoulder day I would start with a barbell military press, then I will did lateral raises on my front, side then my rear deltoids with dumbbells, then I end with upright rows on an EZ curl bar. Each set I did was part of a superset, meaning I would add weight to each set I did. As the weight got heavier I would rest for up to 90 secs. between sets. If I was lucky I would finish a body part in an hour and 15 min. Sometimes I would change up my workout and do my military presses with dumbbells and do Arnold presses. I would start off with 40lb. dumbbells and end up with 60lb. dumbells on my last set. When I trained I did two body parts per workout so I was in the gym for 2-1/2 hours per workout, not including my cardio. I like your regimen, but in my opinion doing 8 exercises on one body part for 3 sets is kind of a lot. No offense intended. You brought up some great memories for me as I’m going back to my gym as soon as the pandemic relaxes. You wrote a great article.


    1. Hi Courtney, no offence taken, you can choose exercises you like and think are good for you. But let me tell you something dear, you’re a superstar already 🙂

  2. I just got a bench and a set of barbells for home and was looking for some exercises for shoulders. I think this is a very good set and I’ll put it to action immediately. Thanks a lot for sharing!

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