5 exercises for big shoulders

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5 exercises for big shoulders

Your shoulders are a key part of your physique and strength and many people may struggle to build them. The first step to getting bigger and stronger shoulders is training them and making sure you are doing the right exercises. If you’re looking for some great exercises to build your shoulders then we are going to be sharing 5 of the most basic shoulder exercises you should be doing to build those shoulders into boulders and increase their strength. Whether its increasing overall strength, muscle mass or losing weight then training your shoulders is going to help and skipping them will make it harder for you to reach your fitness goals.


Why train your shoulders?

Your shoulders like every other muscle group are very important and you need to make sure you’re training them and not skipping them. By training your shoulders you put yourself at a lower risk of injury when training other muscles. This is due to other workouts like bench press using your shoulder muscles so making sure these are strong will decrease the risk of getting injured during these movements. Also, as shoulders are involved with training other muscles, making these stronger will also improve the other movements as they will be able to cope with the increased load and progress as the other muscles do.

Your shoulders also play an important role in how you look and not training your shoulders can make you look less symmetrical which is not a great look. Having bigger shoulders will make your chest and shoulder area look bigger and broader. This can make your waist look smaller which will give you the gym goer look, and people will marvel at your amazing physique. Your shoulder is made up of many muscles and these are separated into two main muscle groups. One of the muscle groups is the extrinsic group and these stretch from the torso and attach to the shoulder bones. The other muscle group is the intrinsic muscle group and this attaches at the scapular and end at the humerus.


Seated dumbbell shoulder press

A common exercise that you have likely seen many people do at the gym is the seated dumbbell shoulder press. This involves sitting on a bench with the back upright so you can lean back and remain upright. You then lift dumbbells starting at your shoulders and then extend your arms over your head. Doing this exercise will help build bigger shoulders as it targets the delts. These will make your shoulders appear wider and can help make your waist look smaller. Your delts are also used in many other movements and training these will increase your performance in other areas also.

780 Shoulder Press Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Overhead presses are also good for building your stabiliser muscles. These are the muscles responsible for keeping your body parts stable when supporting a load. This will make you less likely to injure yourself when doing other movements that involve supporting a weight from your shoulders or chest. As you may have already guessed one risk of doing this movement is that you can drop the weight on yourself or seriously injure your shoulder. To decrease the chances of this only do this movement on weight you are comfortable with and have someone spot you if needed.


Front raises

The front raise is an exercise that works your deltoids and also some of your chest muscles. To do this movement you need to lift a weight with your arm straight forwards, so its parallel with the ground. For beginners, this movement may seem difficult and like it puts a lot of stress on your shoulder. But the key is to keep your arm straight and start on a light weight. You also need to avoid swinging as this can cause injury and works your muscles less so you are getting less out of the exercise. You can also do many different variations of this exercise like alternate or try doing them sitting down.

Full-Body Workout Routine: 6 Single-Dumbbell Exercises | Shape

Doing dumbbell front raises offer more benefits than you may think. The further out your arms are from your body the less weight they can support. Well, this exercise trains just that and you will realise your able to support more weight when reaching out. This can come in handy for day to day activities or work if you have a demanding job for example in construction. It can also help support your shoulder joints and ensure they are kept strong.


Lateral raises

Side lateral raises is a common shoulder exercise that incorporates all three heads of the deltoid. Although it works all three of the deltoid heads it works the lateral head more and is one of the best exercises to work this muscle. This workout is done by standing and holding weights on either side of your body in each hand. You then raise each arm until they are parallel to the ground and then repeat this. This is similar to the front raises but instead is done the weights at the side of your body and can be done standing or sitting down.

50 Lateral Raise Videos and HD Footage - Getty Images

This workout like many has different variations that you can do. One example of a variation is doing each arm alternately or doing the workout seated instead of standing. Another benefit of this exercise is that it can help with joint health and flexibility as it has a wide range of motion and will help keep those shoulder joints loose and healthy. This workout can also help with any size or strength imbalances as it incorporates both of your shoulders together.


Arnold press

The Arnold press is a favourite of the Mr Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger who was also a Hollywood movie star. This movement is similar to a seated dumbbell press, but your hands are facing inwards to start so your knuckles are facing outwards like the end of a bicep curl. You then press upwards and rotate your arms while doing so like a dumbbell press. This workout offers many benefits one being that it activates more muscles than your standard press. This means more muscle fibres that are going to get damaged which leads to more growth and strength increase.

780 Shoulder Press Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Another benefit of the Arnold press is that it can also work your chest muscles and biceps so it’s a compound exercise. This means your burning more calories and making more gains by doing this exercise. Also, this workout can help with core stability and can develop your back muscles, leading to a better posture. As this exercise involves you rotating your arm mid exercise, this makes you more likely to get injured and make it serious. You also do not want to start on a high weight as this will also make you more likely to get injured.


Barbell overhead press

Here we have another pressing movement that works your deltoids and traps. This can be done either seated or standing and involves you lifting a barbell over your head and fully locking out. Be carful to put the guards up or use an assisted bar just in case the worst did happen, the chances of you getting injured is minimised.  Doing this workout can improve core stability as well as work your shoulders. It also targets stabiliser muscles as a barbell overhead required your muscles to work to get it balanced. It also works your deltoids and trapezius muscles making it a good compound exercise.

Coach watching male weightlifter squatting barbell overhead in arena -  CAIF10073 - Chris Ryan/Westend61

One benefit of overhead presses that usually goes overlooked is the improved posture. Like many pressing exercises this works your shoulders, core, and back muscles all of which are crucial to your posture. So, making these muscles stronger make your posture stronger and can make you less prone to things like back pain. Remember to grip the bar at an even distance each side and keep your feet planted and at shoulder distance apart. Also make sure you have a spot present and guards up to prevent the risk of falling and the weight injuring you.


When trying to build big shoulders then there are many reasons why you should do this. As well as making you look better and making your upper body look a lot bigger, you will also gain strength which is going to help increase your performance on many other movements like bench press. In this article we have only mentioned a few of the most common shoulder exercises but there are still many more out there that you can fit into your workouts.