7 Best Barbell Exercises for Stronger Shoulders

Best barbell exercises for stronger shoulders. (image via Pexels/Photo by Pikx By Panther)
Best barbell exercises for stronger shoulders. (image via Pexels/Photo by Pikx By Panther)

If you’re looking for boulder shoulders, you must incorporate barbell exercises into your workout routine. They’re extremely effective in helping build muscles and improving your athletic performance.

In fact, you must always focus on having strong shoulders, as they're one of the most important joints and muscle groups in the upper body. They also support other muscle groups with various compound movements.

Best barbell exercises for shoulders

When you think of a barbell, you might think of lifting heavy stuff. However, that’s not the case. You can start off quite slow with barbells before moving to heavier plates:

1) Barbell overhead press

Barbell overhead press. (Image credits: Pexels/ Victor Freitas)
Barbell overhead press. (Image credits: Pexels/ Victor Freitas)

The barbell press is an exercise that targets your shoulders but also works the entire upper body.

You should do this exercise to improve strength and muscular endurance, as well as bringing a proper round shape to your shoulders.

2) Barbell front raise

Barbell front raise. (Image credits: Freepik)
Barbell front raise. (Image credits: Freepik)

Barbell front raises are extremely effective in building the shoulder muscles, especially the lateral deltoids. Additionally, it helps with working the lower and upper traps.

Shoulder muscles look incomplete if your traps aren’t built properly.

3) Barbell upright row

Upright rows are good barbell exercises to build traps along with the deltoids. You might not be able to do this exercise with a heavy plate, as the barbell itself has a weight.

However, make sure you’re using a barbell that suits your muscles, otherwise this is an exercise where you can hurt yourself. If the barbell falls, that'll pull your shoulder muscles with a heavy jerk.

4) Single arm landmine press

This exercise helps in isolating and stabilising the shoulders.

If you do it with both hands, it becomes a compound movement, where your chest muscles, shoulders and triceps gets worked up.

However, if you switch to single arm landmine chest press, that thoroughly works on your shoulders and builds your core strength as well.

Landmine press. (Image credits: Freepik)
Landmine press. (Image credits: Freepik)

5) Barbell lateral press

In this exercise, you place the barbell the way you would for a landmine press. Instead of standing in front of it, you stand beside it and do lateral presses.

This barbell exercise helps with building the anterior and lateral deltoids, upper back and traps.

6) Behind-the-neck press

These presses primarily help with the traps, but they're also considered one of the shoulder exercises that builds the rear deltoids.

If you continue to push through with heavier weights, the lateral and anterior deltoids also come into use during the exercise. However, this is a compound movement that works on the triceps and upper back as well.

7) Barbell shrugs

Another common exercise on this list is barbell shrugs.

Barbell shrugs. (Image credits: Freepik)
Barbell shrugs. (Image credits: Freepik)

Shrug targets the traps in particular and helps you build bigger and rounder shoulders. It also works on the upper back as well.

You must have this exercise in your workout routine on shoulder days.

Things to keep in mind when doing barbell exercises

If you want to have stronger shoulders, only barbell exercises will not help.

Your diet needs to be in place. Increase your protein intake so that your muscles get enough protein to build themselves back.

Do not skip warm-ups and cool downs. These are the two factors that will keep you from injuring yourself during workouts.

Keep your core strong. A strong core keeps you balanced and stable during exercises. As barbell exercises require you to use your entire body, an engaged core will prevent you from toppling over and injuring yourself.

Keep yourself hydrated at all times. Hydration is an important part of working out, and you need to constantly drink water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Edited by Bhargav