Shoulder Exercises - Know The Fundamentals


Shoulder exercises - do it right. These pages are devoted to showing you plenty of shoulder exercises to utilize in your shoulder toning or bodybuilding development or gym routine male or female.

If bodybuilding or fitness training, male or female, is your intention, please read this webpage on shoulder muscle (it is fascinating) and should be required for any aspiring bodybuilder or female fitness athlete/model etc.


If your shoulders are a weak point in your training, see this page on correcting the issue. 

If you want to know which exercises target the front, side and rear deltoids see this webpage, otherwise, see below for how to use perfect form in doing your shoulder exercises. Note there are several pages of exercises, just click the continue link at the bottom of each page to go on. 

Shoulder Exercises - Where it's at.

Schwarzenegger doing pressesArnold Presses


Purpose: To develop the front and side heads of the deltoids. This is the very best deltoid exercise, and Scwarzenegger always included it in his shoulder routine. By using dumbbells in this manner, lowering them well down in front, you get a tremendous range of motion. 

Execution: 1) In a standing position, elbows at sides, grasp one dumbbell in each hand and raise the weights to your shoulders, palms turned toward you. 2) In one smooth motion, press the weights up overhead, not quite to the point where they are locked out, and at the same time rotate your hands, thumbs turning inward, so that your palms face forward at the top of the movement. 3) Hold here for a moment then reverse the movement, lowering the weights and rotating your hands back to the starting position. Don't get so concerned with pressing the weight overhead that you begin to sway and cheat; this movement should be done strictly, keeping the dumbbells fully under control. By not locking the arms out when you press the weight overhead, you keep the stress on the deltoids the whole time. This exercise is half Lateral Raise and half Dumbbell Press, and works both the anterior and medial heads of the detoids thoroughly. 

Drawing of a man seated on a bench presses weight upwards behind his neck to work his shouldersBehind The Neck Presses


Purpose: To train the front and side deltoids. Any pressing movement involves the triceps as well. 

Execution: You can do these Presses standing, but Arnold prefers doing them sitting, since it makes the movement stricter. 1) Either lift the barbell overhead and set it down on your shoulders behind your head or lift it off the rack of a seated press bench (Schwarzenegger personally prefers to hold the bar with a thumbless grip.) 2) Press the weight straight up and then lower it again, keeping it under control and your elbows as far back as possible during the movement. 

Dumbbell Presses


Purpose: To train the front and side deltoids. This exercise may seem to be similar to Barbell Presses of various kinds, but there are important differences, the most significant being the greater range of motion you get using dumbbells. 

Execution: 1) Hold one dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, elbows out to the sides, palms facing forward. 2) Lift the dumbbells straight up until they touch at the top, then lower them again as far as possible. You will find that you are able to both raise and lower the dumbbells farther than you can a barbell, although the need to control two weights independently means that you are lifting slightly less poundage. 

Schwarzenegger lifting a barbell with weight, seated, above his head and back down to his upper chestMilitary Press


Purpose: To train the front and side deltoids. This is the granddaddy of shoulder exercises. When done from a seated position the movement will be stricter than when standing.

Execution: 1) From a sitting or standing position, grasp a barbell with an overhand grip and hold it at shoulder level, palms underneath for support, hands outside your shoulders, elbows tucked in and under. 2) From a position about even with the collarbone, lift the bar straight up overhead until your arms are locked out, being careful to keep the weight balanced and under control. Lower the weight back to the starting position. 

Page 2 of shoulder exercises


› Shoulder Exercises
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