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Shoulder Workouts For Home Or The Gym

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Shoulder Workouts For Home Or The Gym
Shoulder Workouts

We’ve all been there — knowing you want to train a particular area of your body but just not knowing what the best exercises are to do to see results.

When it comes to training your upper body, ensuring you incorporate shoulder workouts into your training program is important if you want to strengthen and contribute to the overall tone of your upper body. Combined with doing regular shoulder stretches, you can set yourself up to get the best results!

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While doing shoulder workouts regularly can assist in giving your arms a more defined and lean look, it’s not just about aesthetics — your shoulder joints are very mobile and need protection. From a functional perspective, building up your rotator cuff strength around the shoulder joint can help do this and lessen the likelihood of injury in the long term.

The shoulder workouts in this blog can be done at home or the gym — as long as you have access to dumbbells and a kettlebell. 

Your shoulder muscles

Before we delve into some of the shoulder workouts you can do, it’s important to understand exactly what area of the body we are referring to and what muscles are involved.

While there are a range of muscles that help to stabilise your shoulder, such as the rotator cuff muscles, when it comes to shoulder workouts the main muscle group that you are working is your deltoids.

The deltoid is a triangular muscle that surrounds your shoulder joint. This muscle sits over the shoulder joint and comprises of anterior, lateral and posterior heads – these parts of the muscle cover the front, side and back of your shoulder joint and assist with your mobility in that region.

It’s the deltoids that help to give your shoulders shape and definition so doing shoulder workouts that focus on them is what helps with development and stabilisation.

Shoulder workouts for women

These shoulder workouts are suitable for all fitness levels — it’s just a matter of finding a weight that suits you. 

It’s really important that with any shoulder workouts, you choose a weight that is the heaviest you can do for the full amount of repetitions, with the correct form.

How can you tell? The weight you use should be heavy enough that you can get through the exercises with correct form but towards the end of the repetitions it should become quite challenging. The correct form will not only prevent injury but it will help you to achieve the best results possible. 

These shoulder exercises are structured as one single workout; it begins with a warm-up, then includes two supersets and ends with a circuit.

Shoulder Warm Up

This warm-up can help to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles and prepare them for the main part of the workout.

Band pull-apart

Shoulder Workouts Warm Up
  1. Plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Hold one hand on each end of the recovery band with an overhand grip (palms facing down) and extend your arms directly in front of your chest, ensuring that your elbows are completely locked. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale.
    Exhale. Using the muscles in your shoulders and back, pull the recovery band ends outwards and backwards until your arms are in line with your shoulders. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.
  3. Inhale. Hold this position briefly before gently drawing the ends of the recovery band together to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

Part 1: Shoulder Supersets 

Superset 1
Complete the first exercise (shoulder press), before moving on to the second exercise (side raise) — this is one lap. Complete three laps in total. 

Shoulder press with a barbell

Shoulder Workouts Shoulder Press
  1. Holding a barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing towards your body) directly in front of your body, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Bring the barbell forward and upwards into your chest. Your palms should now be facing away from your body. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale.
    Exhale. Using the muscles in both your shoulders and arms, extend your elbows and press the barbell up above your head, ensuring that your arms are in line with your ears.
  3. Inhale. Once your arms are fully extended, bend your elbows to lower the barbell into your chest.
  4. Repeat for 12 repetitions.

Side raise with dumbbells  

Good Shoulder Workouts
  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand in a neutral grip (palms facing inwards) with arms extended by your sides, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. 
    Exhale. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells outwards and upwards to shoulder height, ensuring that you draw your shoulder blades down and back.
  3. Inhale. Lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 15 repetitions.

Superset 2
Complete the first exercise (upright row), before moving on to the second exercise (front raise). This is one lap. Complete three laps in total. 

Upright row with kettlebell 

Shoulder Workouts Kettlebell
  1. Hold a kettlebell with both hands in an overhand grip (palms facing down) and plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. With arms extended, hold the kettlebell directly in front of your body. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale.
    Exhale. Using the muscles in both your shoulders and arms, bend your elbows outwards and upwards to bring the kettlebell up to your chest. Avoid “shrugging” your shoulders by drawing your shoulder blades down and back.
  3. Inhale. Extend your elbows to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 12 repetitions.

Front raise with dumbbell  

Shoulder Workouts Front Raise
  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing towards your body) in front of your legs, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale.
    Exhale. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, gently raise the dumbbells forwards and up to chin height.
  3. Inhale. Slowly lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 15 repetitions.

Part 2: Shoulder Workout Circuit

Complete the first exercise (arnold press), before moving onto the second exercise (bent-over reverse fly) and then finish with the last exercise (commandos). This is one lap. Repeat for three laps in total. 

Arnold press with dumbbells  

Arnold Press Shoulder Workouts
  1. Holding two dumbbells with an underhand grip (palms facing towards your body) directly in front of your chest, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale.
    Exhale. Using the muscles in both your shoulders and arms, extend your elbows to press the dumbbells above your head, rotating your wrists outwards (internal rotation) to turn your palms away from your body. Your arms should be in line with your ears on either side of your head.
  3. Inhale. Once your arms are fully extended, bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells into your chest and rotate your wrists inwards (external rotation) to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 12 repetitions.

Bent-over reverse fly with dumbbells  

Shoulder Workouts For Women
  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. 
    Hinge forwards from your hips so that your torso is parallel to the floor. Bend your knees slightly and extend your arms to hold the dumbbells directly below your chest. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale.
    Exhale. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells outwards and upwards from below your chest until they reach shoulder height. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.
  3. Inhale. Gently lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 15 repetitions.

Commando 

Shoulder Workouts Commando
  1. Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) on a yoga mat and extending both of your legs behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. 
    Exhale. Release your right forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your right shoulder and push up onto your right hand. Release your left forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your left shoulder and push up onto your left hand. Ensure that you keep your core activated to prevent your hips from swaying.
  3. Inhale. Release your right hand and lower your forearm to the mat, then release your left hand and lower your forearm to the mat to return to the starting position.
    Repeat this exercise, starting with your left arm. 
  4. Continue alternating between right and left for 15 repetitions.

How to modify shoulder workouts

  • If you find you are struggling to get through every shoulder exercise or are short on time, you can modify these shoulder workouts by reducing the amount of laps you complete to two.
  • Alternatively, instead of doing it as one big single workout, you can break each part up into mini shoulder workouts and incorporate them into another workout routine that also focuses on other upper body parts.

Strengthen your shoulders with these shoulder workouts

These workouts come straight from SWEAT trainer Kelsey Wells' strength-based program, PWR, on the Sweat app.

If you’re interested in developing your strength through weights-based training try one of these tricep workouts or download the SWEAT app and get your first 7 days for free!

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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