best shoulder exercises


The shoulder is one of the most flexible joints in the body, and it can rotate, raise, lower, and move in any direction. Shoulder muscles help maintain posture, allow heavy lifting, and safeguard the unstable shoulder joint. Overuse can lead to aches, pains, and even injuries. So, know the best shoulder exercises to do at home to strengthen and define your shoulders without going to the gym or relying on a personal trainer.

It's time to start your home workout routine with our shoulder workout chart.

Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises

Here are the best shoulder workouts for building muscle and shaping your shoulders. You can do them at home, but ensure you warm up before workouts. For your convenience, we have divided shoulder exercises into two parts, namely:

1). Bodyweight shoulder exercises

2). Dumbbell shoulder exercises

Also, we have elaborated on each of them and their forms in detail.  

Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises

Bodyweight shoulder exercises are among the most effective shoulder-strengthening exercises to build strength and improve shoulder and upper back flexibility.

You can do these exercises anywhere since they don't require any equipment and are apt during travel or for a quick workout at home.

Here is the list of best bodyweight shoulder exercises:

1) Push-ups:

They are the best exercise for all body parts, including the shoulders. They help build muscle definition, making your shoulders more toned and defined. They increase strength, making it easier to lift heavy items or perform other tasks that require strong arms and chest.

To do pushups, Get down on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up. Perform 20 reps.

Once you've mastered these basic pushup variations, try doing one-handed ones or clapping while lowering yourself down into position!


2) Handstand Wall Walk and Holds:

Handstand wall walks and holds are an excellent way to strengthen your shoulders, wrists, and arms and improve balance.

To perform this exercise for shoulders at home,

Begin by standing under a wall. Place both hands on the floor about shoulder-width apart.

Slowly walk your feet up the wall until you are in a handstand position with your body facing the wall.

Walk along the wall by moving your feet and hands in sync to strengthen your shoulders and arms and improve coordination and balance.

Handstand Wall Walk and Holds

3) Pike Pushups and Hold:

Pike pushups are a great way to strengthen your core, arms, and shoulders. The pike position is a good starting point for beginners and can be modified as you get stronger.

To do a pike pushup, Start in the plank position with your hands on the floor and under your shoulders.

Contract your abs and raise your hips toward the ceiling until they form an inverted V-shape with your body.

Bend your elbows and lower yourself until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause at this point for two seconds before pushing yourself back up to starting position. Perform 8 controlled reps.

Pike Pushups and Hold

4) Plank to Downward Dog:

A plank is an excellent way to exercise without using weights. When you switch to Downward Dog from there, your shoulders work hard, helping you attain strong shoulders and physique. This exercise benefits your entire body, including your shoulders, chest, abdominal region, legs, and glutes.

To begin, get into a high plank position with your hands aligned beneath (in line with) your shoulders, forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Maintain a comfortable spacing between your feet - about shoulder width - and make sure your hips do not slump or fall downwards.

Next, easily transition into Downward Dog by raising your hips towards the ceiling. Allow your heels to move closer to the ground as you do this while keeping your legs and arms straight throughout the exercise. At the end of the movement, your body should form a V shape.

Plank to Downward Dog

5) Tricep Dips:

Tricep dips are great for strengthening the back of your arms and improving arm and shoulder muscles. You can do them in various ways depending on your strength.

It is important to do this workout correctly - it helps you target the right muscles while also ensuring the neck and shoulders don’t get impacted. In the beginning, it may be difficult to get the hang of the right technique, but paying attention to the details will get you there.

Here's how you can do it:

Tricep Dips

Place your hands on the bars with your arms straight. Lean forward and keep your shoulders relaxed. Cross your legs and get into a comfortable knee bend. Use a band to support your knees if you have one. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your upper arms are flat against the floor like a table. Maintain a close grip on your elbows. Return to the initial posture by straightening your arms. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.

6) Side Plank with Leg Raises:

It is beneficial to move the joint in different directions to offer your targeted muscles comprehensive exercise. This exercise ensures that all of the muscles surrounding the joint get stronger and are more balanced.

The side plank is also a wonderful exercise for working on your shoulders and core. It engages and strengthens your core muscles while simultaneously working your shoulder muscles.

How to do it:

Side Plank with Leg Raises

Lie on your side with your lower arm bent and your forearm on the ground, palm up. Lift your lower hip off the ground with your forearm, forming a straight line from your foot to your head. Raise your upper arm to the ceiling. Try elevating your top leg while maintaining your chest open to the side if you can. Now, lower your leg, then return your hips to their original position. Repeat this motion 8 to 10 times. Hold the side plank while lifting and lowering your upper leg 8 to 10 times before dropping down for added difficulty. Repeat the entire process on the other side with the same reps.

Dumbbell Shoulder Exercises

Shoulder workouts with dumbbells help strengthen arm and shoulder muscles and improve balance and coordination. They tone the upper body by working all three parts of the shoulder—the front, middle, and back—and help create a definition between muscles that can be difficult to achieve with cardio or weight training alone. Dumbbells allow you to work each muscle group separately, increasing focus on specific areas, which get results faster than other forms of exercise such as running or cycling. Adding dumbbells to your workout routine will help improve balance by increasing the strength of key muscles in the hips and lower back.

Here is the list of best dumbbell shoulder exercises:

1) Dumbbell Shoulder Press Exercise:

The dumbbell shoulder press is an excellent way to strengthen your shoulders (deltoids) and work out your triceps. It helps build muscle tone in the arm and shoulder, making them look stronger and more defined.

Here's how to do it:

Sit down or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold two dumbbells at shoulder height with palms facing forward.

Push the weights straight overhead until your arms are straight but not locked out.

Lower the weights back down until by your ears, then repeat for reps as desired.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press Exercise

2) Dumbbell Front Raise:

This exercise targets the anterior deltoid, one of three muscles that make up the shoulder complex and is also a warm-up for other shoulder exercises, like dumbbell lateral raise and dumbbell overhead press.

To perform this move correctly,

Place your feet at shoulder width, with palms facing inward and parallel to each other.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand to hang at arm's length beside your sides with palms facing down.

Raise both arms straight out in front of you until parallel to the floor, keeping them as straight as possible throughout the movement (no hunching). Pause for a second at the top of the movement before lowering back down to the starting position.

Dumbbell Front Raise

3) Dumbbell Side/Lateral Raise: 

This exercise is great for building your medial deltoids- muscles on the sides of your shoulders.

To perform this exercise,

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand upright with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing in, and the weights should hang down at your sides.

Raise your arms to the sides, lifting the elbows and upper arm together. Then, lower them back down to complete one rep.

Do 8-12 reps on each side for three sets.

Dumbbell Side/Lateral Raise

4) Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise:

It's among the best shoulder exercises that strengthens the upper back and shoulders. The bent-over dumbbell raise works mainly the rear shoulder head—the part of your shoulders that gives them their rounded look and is often neglected in typical workouts.

To perform this exercise,

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length in front of your thighs. Bend forward at the waist as far as you can go without arching your back or raising your torso.

Raise the weights straight up to your sides until they're in line with your ears, keeping your elbows close to your body and palms facing each other throughout the movement.

Keep control over the weight at all times; don't use momentum to lift it.

Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise

5) Arnold Press:

Named after Mr Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger, the exercise involves rotating motion at the end, which targets the anterior deltoids and is more impactful than the standard bench press.

Sit on a bench and hold dumbbells in front of you. Make your palms face your shoulders and 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.

Arnold Press

6) Reverse Fly:

Dumbbell reverse fly exercise is one of the best shoulder exercises to assist your upper back muscles. This move targets the muscles between your shoulders and upper back. Robust upper back muscles keep your shoulders robust and less prone to injury.

Sit with your knees bent and a dumbbell in each hand. Lean forward, keeping your arms close to your legs and your elbows slightly bent. Slowly raise the weights until your elbows are at the shoulder level. Then, slowly lower them back down. The stretch will be felt in your shoulders and upper back muscles.

Maintain a straight back and prevent arching or hunching. Don't even think of swinging the weights! Control the movement using your upper back muscles for this shoulder exercise.

Reverse Fly

7) Seated Military Press:

This shoulder exercise engages the front, side, and back shoulder muscles and the upper back.

For this, sit down, take a dumbbell in each hand, and raise both to shoulder height with palms facing out and elbows bent. Straighten your arms and push the weights up and towards each other. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows at the peak. Return to the starting position by progressively lowering the weights for this shoulder exercise. Repeat around four sets of 10-12 reps each.

Seated Military Press

8) Plank Dumbbell Shoulder Raise:

This shoulder exercise will be a game-changer for your shoulders and includes other muscle groups as well. This workout exercises your core and shoulders simultaneously, saving time and being quite efficient. Grab the dumbbells and perform a plank on your hands and toes, keeping your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Bring your feet closer together to make it more challenging. Then, lift one arm straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground. While remaining in the plank position, alternate arms for reps for this shoulder exercise.

Plank Dumbbell Shoulder Raise

Final thought

We hope you enjoyed this article about shoulder workouts at home.

Remember, the most important thing to do to be fit is to just get started. There is no perfect time to begin a workout. You can always make time for your health and fitness goals—you just need to make them a priority.

Try our best whey protein range to help you build lean muscle mass. And if you want more inspiration to keep going, check out our blog for more tips and tricks on staying motivated in your fitness journey!

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