The shoulder is a ball and socket joint and it’s essential for performing many everyday movements. When compared to any other joint in the human body, the shoulders boast the broadest range of motion. Maintaining this large range of motion helps prevent injury, and it can be improved by working on the strength, flexibility and mobility of the shoulder joint.
When the shoulders are weak, this can lead to issues like poor posture, a limited range of motion and an increased chance of injury. By training the shoulders, everyday tasks that involve lifting and carrying items are made easier and your posture will improve. To top it all off, your physique improves, too! Nice, rounded shoulders help give your arms the sleek, toned look that many women desire.
These are some of my favorite shoulder workouts that I do with my female clients to build strength, improve their physique and decrease the risk of injury. They only require one set of dumbbells. I’m using 3-pound weights, but you can go up to 5 or even 8 pounds. I recommend starting lower and then working your way up, or simply staying at the lower weight and increasing your number of repetitions over time.
These three shoulder workouts each have three exercises. For a solid routine, pick one workout and run through the three exercises for three rounds total (this will get you to 30 repetitions of each exercise). That will make for a great upper-body workout to bookend a walk or another cardio activity!
Shoulder workout 1
This exercise is an alternative to traditional bicep curls that works the arm a bit differently. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and turn the arms so that palms face your body. Hug the elbows in toward your waist. Reach the weights up toward your shoulders as you keep the elbows hugged in. Lower the weights down by your sides and repeat 10 times.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet as wide as your hips and reach the arms down along your sides. Pull the abs in. Then extend the arms straight out to the sides and up as high as the shoulders. Relax the neck. Lower the arms down to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, start with the arms in a goal post position. The upper arms will be parallel to the floor at shoulder height with your hands pointed up toward the ceiling. Press the weights up and in front of your head slightly so that with your peripheral vision you can see the weights above you. Be careful not to reach the weights behind your head as that will strain your neck. Lower down to the starting position, and repeat 10 times.
Shoulder workout 2
Neutral grip shoulder press
Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Bend the elbows and bring the weights up to your shoulders, with both palms facing each other. This is your starting position. Then, extend your arms up straight up toward the ceiling. Slowly return back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Before you set up in a plank position, come on to all fours and place a dumbbell on either side of you, next to your shoulders. In tabletop position grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Then push up into a plank position or a modified plank position on your knees. With your back straight and core engaged, keep your hips and shoulders square to the floor as you drive your left elbow up toward the ceiling. Lower back to starting position. Alternate arms, performing 10 repetitions on each side.
Front raises (neutral grip)
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and allow your arms to hang at your sides by your thighs. Engage your abdominal muscles, keeping your back straight. With palms facing each other, focus on utilizing your shoulder muscles to extend one arm straight up and out directly in front of you. Lift the weight up until your arm is extended out in front of you at shoulder height. Slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position and repeat on the alternate side. Perform 10 repetitions with each arm.
Shoulder workout 3
Angled shoulder press
Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Bring the dumbbells to shoulder height at your sides with your elbows tucked in. Think about making a “W” shape with your arms. Then, extend your arms up straight up and out, into a “Y” shape. Slowly return back to the starting “W” position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, allowing your arms to fall naturally to your sides. Turn your palms so that they are facing forward. With a slight bend in your elbows, raise your arms out at a diagonal and up toward the ceiling until you form a wide “Y” shape. Slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and allow your arms to hang at your sides by your thighs. Engage your abdominal muscles, keeping your back straight. Turn your palms so that they are facing toward the back of the room. Focus on utilizing your shoulder muscles as you extend both arms out directly in front of you. Lift the weights up until your arms are shoulder height and your palms are facing down at the ground. Slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.