Your shoulders comprise of three major muscles known as the deltoids – lateral deltoid, anterior deltoid and posterior deltoid. These muscles are the most important as you use them in your day to day lives but it is often neglected as far as exercises are concerned.
Delts are important to both developing a well-balanced physique as well as improving your sports performance. Strong delts will give you a strong competitive advantage in sports like badminton, wrestling to name a few.
Deltoids are a very complex and versatile muscle group. You can increase shoulder width with proper training. Since your deltoids surround your shoulder on the front, side, and rear it can be seen from all angles. Many of you who aspire to have a V-shaped body should remember that wide shoulders can increase this appearance of yours.
Shoulder exercises that strengthen the deltoids can be done at home, work or the gym. You can include these exercises in your regular workout routine or do them separately. You should be training your delts several times in a week to improve your shoulder health.
Here are some of the powerful deltoid exercises that can help in your quest for stronger shoulders.
#1 Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The dumbbell lateral raise is an isolation exercise that is an absolute must for your deltoids. This exercise helps in building boulder like shoulders and increase shoulder mobility. If done in the right form your core also benefits from it.
Step 1: Pick a dumbbell in each hand and stand with them by your side in a shoulder wide stance with palms facing towards your body or inwards.
Step 2: Keep your upper body in an upright position and still. Now lift the dumbbells by raising the arms to the sides until they are at shoulder level.
Step 3: Pause for 1-2 seconds and then lower the weights back to the starting position. Focus on moving in a slow and controlled motion.
Important Tip: Avoid bending your arms throughout the movement for greater efficiency. Do 2 sets of 10 reps each. Pausing for 1-2 seconds helps in greater muscle enhancement.
Next Up: Dumbbell Front Raise
#2 Dumbbell Front Raise
The dumbbell front raise is also an isolation exercise. It uses weights to strengthen the anterior deltoid or the front shoulder. This dumbbell exercise also improves stability through the shoulder joint.
Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the weights in each hand in front of your thighs with the palms facing towards you.
Step 2: Now lift the dumbbells to shoulder height and pause for 1-2 seconds.
Step 3: Return back down to the starting position with the same control.
Important Tip: Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps each. Avoid swinging the arms and don’t lower the weights too quickly. Maintain a slight bend of the elbows during the course of the exercise.
Next Up: Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
#3 Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The seated dumbbell press hits the lateral deltoids more intensely. It also helps in improved control and balance of the shoulders and upper arms as you move the weights individually with each hand.
Step 1: Sit on a bench or a chair and hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height with an overhand grip (palms facing forward away from you).
Step 2: Keep your head straight, spine aligned and press the weights above your head in an arc towards each other with both your arms fully extended.
Step 3: Do not let the dumbbell touch each other at the top. Reverse the motion under control back to the starting position and repeat.
Important Tip: This exercise requires a lot of coordination and focus when being performed. Make sure that you breathe normally. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.
Next Up: Barbell Push Press
#4 Barbell Push Press
The push press version combines a heavy overhead action for an effective mass-gain focused shoulder workout. This powerhouse exercise targets the anterior and middle deltoids.
Step 1: Set your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell at shoulder height with an overhead grip, palms up and the elbows pointing forward.
Step 2: Now bend your knees slightly and lower your hips in a semi-squat position.
Step 3: Push up with your legs to extend your arms and lift the bar above your head to form a full elbow extension. Hold in that position briefly and then lower the bar back to the starting position.
Important Tips: Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps each. At the top of the press make sure that your elbows are locked out and drive hips upward to perform the lift explosively.
Next Up: Seated Bent Over Lateral Raise
#5 Seated Bent Over Lateral Raise
The Seated bent over lateral raise is an isolation exercise to target your posterior deltoids. It includes movements that are mainly focused on two of our shoulder joints - the scapulothoracic joint and the glenohumeral joint.
Step 1: Sit on the edge of a flat bench with feet slightly less than shoulder width apart, bend at the waist so your chest nearly touches your knees and grasp the dumbbells with palms facing each other.
Step 2: Bend your arms slightly to lift the dumbbells straight up off the floor.
Step 3: With elbows still slightly bent, exhale and raise the dumbbells straight up to the sides until your arms are parallel to the floor.
Step 4: Hold for a moment and then inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back into starting position.
Important Tip: Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps each. Don to use too heavy a weight as it will lead to rocking and swinging.
Did we miss out any exercise from our list? Sound off in the comments section below!