When it comes to looking great, having strong shoulders should not be overlooked. The shoulder is the most flexible joint in your body allowing you to move in almost any direction. Your deltoids, or “delts”, are responsible for arm flexion and abduction (shoulder movement).

exercise for strong shoulders

Additionally, strong shoulders promote good posture which helps prevent injuries. Working on building your strength will build muscle mass but also build stability; this makes you less likely to injure yourself when doing everyday tasks around the house or playing sports. 

If you’re looking to improve your shoulder strength and stability, you’re in luck! Here are 10 simple exercises for strong shoulders that will help you get the most out of your shoulder workouts. Implement these tips into your routine and you’ll be on your way to achieving strong, defined shoulders. let’s get started!

1: Push-Ups 

Everyone knows how good pushups are for their chest muscles but did you know they’re also one of the best exercises for your shoulders? Pushups build strength in your chest, triceps, deltoids, and core. Because it’s a bodyweight exercise you can do push-ups anywhere – perfect for when you’re stuck at home or traveling!

build strong shoulders

2: Barbell Shrugs 

This is one of the most overlooked shoulder exercises but is actually one of the best mass builders. To perform barbell shrugs grab a bar with an overhand grip and hold it in front of you while standing straight up. Next, lift the bar up as high as you can (your traps will contract) and squeeze before slowly lowering back down to starting position. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps to ensure maximum gains.

3: Dumbbell Side Laterals 

This exercise for strong shoulders is one of the most effective for building shoulder mass. You can do them standing or sitting which makes this a very versatile workout that you can build into your routine anywhere. Here’s how to perform dumbbell side laterals: hold two medium-weight dumbbells in each hand and start by holding them next to your sides with arms bent at 90 degrees (elbows should be close to your torso). Next, while keeping the 90-degree bend in the elbows slowly raise them to head level; make sure you squeeze at the top! If you want more resistance try doing them with your palms up (towards the ceiling) as opposed to down (parallel to the floor). Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

4: Cable Front Raises 

Most people love cable front raises, they build a lot of strength and really make your shoulders pop. To do these, grab a low pulley bar with an overhand grip and face the weight stack from a few feet away. With arms straight out in front start by squeezing at the top before slowly lowering back down to starting position. Make sure you don’t lean backward while performing this exercise as it will build less stabilization in the muscles being worked. Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

strong shoulder workout

5: Side-Lying External Rotation 

Finally! A shoulder exercise that doesn’t require weights! This is the best exercise for strong shoulders because you can do it anywhere, anytime. All you need is a resistance band or towel and to sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. With arms at 90 degrees from your torso, place the middle of the resistance band under both armpits and grab each end with opposite hands. Keeping elbows close to your body slowly raise your arms out to your side until they are parallel with shoulders; squeeze them together before slowly lowering back down – do 3 sets of 8-12 reps!

6: Keep Hydrated

When you regularly workout, the last thing you want is to cause additional damage by not staying properly hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but especially before and after your workouts. If you’ve ever experienced that groggy post-workout feeling or found yourself severely cramping up during exercise, it’s likely because you didn’t stay hydrated enough (or at all) beforehand. Proper hydration helps reduce muscle fatigue while also reducing inflammation in joints, which may aid in injury prevention. In addition to drinking plenty of water, be sure to keep a bottle of electrolyte-enhanced water with you during the day. This is especially important if your workout routine involves sweating profusely and/or engaging in strenuous physical activity for more than an hour at a time.

7: Develop Stabilization Skills

Improving stabilization strength can help build stronger, more controlled shoulders that are less susceptible to injury. To build these stabilizing muscles, try stability ball exercises for strong shoulders such as partial pushups and crunches, as well as stability ball wall squats and planks. If you’re looking for over-the-counter stabilization equipment, Ripstixx offers high-intensity training (HIT) sticks, which can be used to build even greater shoulder stability when trying out advanced fitness moves such as handstand push-ups and various other plyometric exercises.

get stronger shoulders

8: Focus On Scapular (shoulder blade) Positioning

One of the first pieces of advice I give to those looking to build stronger shoulders is to keep their shoulder blades pinched and retracted throughout their exercise routine. A proper retraction movement involves pulling your shoulder blades back and down while also squeezing them together slightly as if you’re trying to pinch a pencil between each one. This will build strong rear deltoids, as well as build greater control over the shoulder area for preventing injury. Retracting your shoulder blades can be done anytime during an exercise routine – try using it when performing overhead presses, lateral raises, front raises, upright rows, bent-over rows, and various other exercises.

9: Engage in Dynamic Stretches

Dynamic stretching is a great way to build stronger shoulders as well as build flexibility throughout the shoulder area. Dynamic stretches build strength through these movements by engaging multiple muscle groups at once – this is so you build strength from head to toe with one exercise, as opposed to isolating muscle groups during traditional static stretches (which only works 1 body part at a time). Try performing 5 sets of 10 reps of dynamic arm rotations and you’ll begin to feel the burn in your deltoids and surrounding muscles. Another good dynamic stretch for building shoulder strength is shoulder dislocates performed using elastic bands or tubing; start off with 3 sets of 15 reps and build up from there.

10: Practice Form And Build Momentum

Improving your form when building strength in the shoulder area is crucial for preventing injury. Also, you’ll build stronger muscles more quickly by engaging all of your major muscle groups at once than if you were to move through an exercise and only engage some of them. For example: say you’re performing a seated row using a cable machine and your goal is 3 sets of 8 repetitions. Instead of pulling the weight into your body while stopping short of extending your elbows fully (which engages only certain muscles) try scooting back slightly further to build momentum towards the end of the movement so that just before completing your third repetition, you’re pulling with enough force to stretch out completely rather than hunching over halfway through. This will build stronger, more defined shoulders by engaging all the muscles in your back and deltoids during each movement in addition to improving form for preventing injury.

best exercises for strong shoulders


Now that you’ve got the 10 best exercise for strong shoulders, all you have to do is build them into your routine! Implement these tips into your shoulder workouts next time you hit the gym or work out in the comfort of your own home. Remember not to neglect shoulder strength as it will build better posture, increase your ability to lift heavier weight, and make you feel better! Follow these tips for a stronger more defined upper body.

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