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7 Best Cardio Exercises for Strong Shoulders

Effective cardio exercises for strong shoulders. (Image via Unsplash / Anastase Maragos)
Effective cardio exercises for strong shoulders. (Image via Unsplash / Anastase Maragos)
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Soniya Y

Building strong, functional shoulders that look great is not an easy task. If you just go into the gym and pump away on shoulder presses, you'll only get so far.

If you don't work on supporting muscles and shoulder structures, you can leave gains on the table. That's why doing a variety of shoulder exercises is so crucial for packing on mass, strength and stability, all at once.


Best Cardio Exercises to Get Strong Shoulders

Here are seven excellent shoulder workouts to build capped deltoids while also improving shoulder health and function:

1) Push-up

Push-ups are beneficial for shoulders, as they enable your shoulder blades to move freely, developing the serratus anterior, a key muscle that maintains your scapula firm and allows it to rotate upward. When you press overhead, a robust serratus anterior reduces shoulder impingement.

How to do push-up:

  • Start with your palms flat, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked precisely over your wrists, legs extended behind you and your core and glutes engaged in a high plank.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor.
  • Push through the palms of your hands as you straighten them, keeping your arms straight. This is one repetition.
  • Repeat for another 45 to 60 seconds.

2) I-Y-T Raise

The IYT stretch series strengthens and stabilises the muscles surrounding your shoulders by targeting the middle and lower trapezius and infraspinatus. This will assist your body unscrunch from all the hours spent hunched over your computer.

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To do the IYT raise:

  • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart is ideal. Hinge forward slightly with your core engaged, keeping your knees slightly bent.
  • Straighten your arms, and maintain them in line with your shoulders. The "I" portion of the exercise is now complete. Bring your arms to your sides.
  • Raise your arms to a 45-degree angle, and straighten them. The "Y" portion of the exercise is now complete.
  • Bring your shoulder blades together, and extend your arms straight out to the sides. This is when the workout takes a "T." Bring your arms to your sides. This is one repetition.
  • Repeat for another 45 to 60 seconds.

3) Half-Kneeling Landmine Press

The half-kneeling unilateral landmine press combines vertical and horizontal movements, making it ideal for those who don't have enough shoulder mobility to do overhead pressing. Moreover, if you're recovering from a shoulder issue, this is an excellent overhead press regression.

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How to do the half-kneeling landmine press:

  • Place the barbell in a half-kneeling position, with your knee underneath your hip and ankle underneath your knee.
  • Using an overhand grip, hold the barbell at shoulder height in the hand nearest your back leg.
  • Press up at about 45 degrees, and reach toward the ceiling at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly lower down under control, and repeat.

4) Dumbbell Punches

The dumbbell punch is a popular boxing move for improving speed, agility and strength. This exercise tones and sculpts your upper body by targeting your shoulders, triceps and lats.

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To do the dumbbell punches:

  • Stand with your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart, and make sure your feet are solidly planted and pointing forward.
  • Maintain a boxing position at chest level, with your hands firmly grasping the dumbbells.
  • Tighten your abs, and punch with your left arm while maintaining it parallel to the ground.
  • Pull your left arm back, and punch swiftly with your right arm, alternating punches.
  • Punch as quickly as you can in one minute, and do at least three sets.

5) Double Leg Donkey Kicks

The double leg donkey kick is a fun, full-body cardio move that's great for your upper body, as well as your agility and flexibility. It also makes your core look tight and flat.

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To do this exercise:

  • Get down on all fours, with your hands and knees precisely beneath your shoulders and hips. Your neck should be neutral, and your back should be flat.
  • Raise your right knee off the floor, and press the sole of your right foot up toward the ceiling while keeping your arms straight, core engaged and knees bent 90 degrees. At the top of the movement, squeeze your right glute (butt muscle) as hard as you can.
  • Return to the beginning position by dropping your right knee.

6) Arnold Shoulder Press

The Arnold press, which is named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, is used to train all three deltoid heads. Furthermore, because of the greater range of motion and rotational nature of the exercise, it increases duration under strain, resulting in increased development.

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To do the Arnold press exercise:

  • Starting in a seated position, lift dumbbells up to a traditional curl position.
  • Rotate your hands till your palms are facing toward you, like the top of a biceps curl.
  • Press the dumbbells, and rotate your palms forward till they are facing forward or are behind your ears.
  • When you're ready, slowly reverse the move, and repeat.

7) Incline Y Raise

The upper back and traps are targeted by the incline Y raise. The overhead position is also ideal for targeting your posterior deltoids from a different angle while training all four rotator cuff muscles.

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To do the Incline Y Raise:

  • Put a bench at a 45-degree incline, and you're ready to go.
  • Lie face down with your knees slightly bent and arms extended straight under your shoulders.
  • Keep your shoulders down and chest up as you raise the weights up and out with your triceps.
  • Keep your arms straight till they are fully extended, with only a soft bend in your elbows.
  • Slowly lower back to the starting position, resetting before you repeat.

Bottom Line

The seven shoulder exercises outlined above are highly effective at building strong and functional shoulders.

They’re great additions to most workouts, but remember that they don’t have to be done separately. A substitution for one of these exercises in any given workout won't hurt.


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Edited by Bhargav
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