5 Amazing Shoulder Exercises to Strengthen Your Deltoid Muscles

Steve McQueen Working On His Shoulders
Steve McQueen Working On His Shoulders

Before you begin your upper body exercises it is vital to know about the deltoid muscles. The deltoid muscle is a rounded triangular shaped muscle which is found covering the top of the shoulder joint.

It consists of three sets of fibres namely anterior, middle and posterior. These three are connected by a very thick tendon. Its name is derived from the Greek letter Delta as there are similarities in their shape (triangular).

No matter how big your arms, chest or back are, an upper body just isn’t complete without well-developed shoulders.

It becomes indispensable for you to make sure that you work on your shoulder muscles (deltoids) as these muscles take the brunt of your arm movements and also allows a person to carry heavy loads.

Deltoid strain is one of the most common injuries and is characterized by sharp and sudden pain. You can experience intense soreness and pain or tenderness and swelling. Keeping the above factors in mind it is important for you to do exercises that directly toughen your deltoid muscles.

Our body is like any other machinery where all parts have to be in sync in order to run smoothly. Many a time people overlook the shoulder workout but you should remember that it helps us in doing the other upper body exercises.

Having well built and maintained shoulders also play a big part in your appearance and it further enhances your structure and confidence. So, we look at the five shoulder exercises that will directly help you to strengthen the deltoid muscles.

#1 Shoulder Push-up


The shoulder push-up is a push-up variation that helps in increasing the strength and stability of the shoulders.


Step 1: Start with a normal push up position with both your hands slightly wider and elbows locked out.

Step 2: Now keep your hip in a curved position towards the ceiling making an upside down ‘V’.

Step 3: After this slowly lower the top of our head towards the ground.

Step 4: Once your head is about to make contact with the ground pause for about 2-3 seconds and then press back to the starting position.

Tip: Performing the exercise in a more upright position will target the shoulders more than the chest. Do 3 sets of 7 reps each. (Note: Keep your toes closer to the body to create a sharper angle and make the exercise difficult)

Next up: Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

#2 Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press



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.

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.

Also, read 4 Useful Shoulder Press Exercises.

Shop Dumbbells Online at the Best Prices

Next up: Dumbbell Lateral Raise

#3 Dumbbell Lateral Raise



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.

Tip: Avoid bending your arms throughout the movement for greater efficiency. Do 2 sets of 10 reps each.

Next up: Dumbbell Front Raise

#4 Dumbbell Front Raise


The shoulder front raise is a dumbbell exercise which uses weights to strengthen the anterior deltoid or the front shoulder.


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 return back down with the same control.

Tip: 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. Do three sets of seven reps each. (Note: Pause for 1-2 seconds when the dumbbells reach shoulder height).

Next up: Barbell Push Press

#5 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.

Also, read 5 Powerful Deltoid Exercises for Bigger Delts.


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.

Do three sets of eight reps each.

Did we miss out any exercise from our list? Sound off in the comments section below!

Quick Links

Edited by Alan John