6 Best Exercises to Sculpt Your Shoulders

Certain exercises sculpt and strengthen the shoulders. (Photo via Unsplash/John Arano)
Certain exercises sculpt and strengthen the shoulders. (Photo via Unsplash/John Arano)

Healthy and strong shoulders are important for every task, especially as we start to age and begin to lose muscle and bone density. They are integral to almost every arm, back, and chest movement.

Having a well-built shoulder also ensures results when strengthening the triceps, biceps, back, and chest muscles. For all these reasons, it's crucial to incorporate shoulder strengthening exercises into your workout routine to keep the muscles healthy and away from injury.

Fortunately, there are several exercises that can help tone and strengthen the shoulders. Below, we’ve curated a list of some of the most effective exercises you can do to add more size, stability, and strength to your shoulder muscles.

Best Shoulder Exercises

Here's a look at the six best exercises to strengthen and tone the shoulders:

1) Dumbbell Shoulder Press

To do this exercise:

  • Stand tall with your feet at hip distance. Keep your knees slightly bent, and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend your elbows, and lift the dumbbells over your shoulders.
  • Extend both your arms overhead while bringing your biceps towards your ears.
  • Lower the dumbbells back towards your shoulders, and repeat.
  • Perform this exercise for two sets of ten reps.

2) Half-kneeling Landmine Press

To do this shoulder exercise:

  • Start in a half-kneeling position with your bent knee under your hip and ankle under your knee. Keep a barbell in front of you.
  • Grab the barbell in your hand that’s nearest to the back leg, and position it at your shoulder level.
  • Press up at a 45-degree angle, and at the end of the lockout, reach towards the ceiling.
  • Lower the barbell down with control and slow movement, and repeat.
  • Complete ten reps on each side.

3) Dumbbell Lateral Raise

To do this exercise:

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and stand tall with the dumbbells at your side. Make sure to keep your palms facing in towards the body and toes turned out.
  • Stand straight with your back flat, core engaged, and shoulders back and down.
  • Maintaining this position and keeping your upper body stable, raise the dumbbells out to your sides, with your elbows slightly bent.
  • Keep the weights a bit higher than your forearms, and continue to lift the dumbbells till your arms get parallel to the floor.
  • Lower the weights back to the starting position, and repeat.
  • Complete at least 15 reps.

4) Push Press

To do this exercise:

  • Stand straight, and take a position as you would for a barbell overhead press. Keeping your torso upright, bend down four inches, and keep your knees over your toes.
  • Push your chest and torso towards the ceiling through the barbell, and use your legs to forcefully push yourself and the barbell up.
  • Continue to push till lockout.
  • Return to the starting position, and repeat.
  • Complete ten reps.

5) Barbell Overhead Carry

To do this exercise:

  • Start the exercise by loading the barbell with the appropriate weight. Hold the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Slowly press the weight over your head, and make sure to move your biceps behind your ears. Keep your shoulders away, and take controlled and slow steps forward.
  • Pay full attention to your balance, and keep your core muscles engaged throughout the exercise.
  • Walk for at least 10-15 steps, and return to the starting position.
  • Lower the barbell on the floor, and repeat a few times.

6) Wide Grip Row

To do this exercise:

  • Set yourself up like you would for a regular seated row exercise. However, make sure to use a straight bar attachment.
  • Use an overhand wide grip till your upper arms get at a 45-degree angle to the torso.
  • Keep your upper body straight, and start to row the bar to your sternum. Continue the movement till you feel a strong stretch in your upper back.
  • Return to the starting position, and repeat the exercise.
  • Perform 15 reps.


Now that you know these exercises, try them out in your next workout session to sculpt and strengthen your shoulder muscles.

If you're a beginner, make sure to start with light weights and fewer reps, and gradually increase your pace as you gain strength. If you experience pain or discomfort, stop immediately, and relax for a while.

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Edited by Bhargav
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