Building the muscle of the shoulder area through an effective gym routine is a great way to increase strength in this area and create a more defined physique. If you are new to the gym then you may not know what the best exercises for this aim are, so today we are going to share some of the best shoulder exercises!

Before we get started, let’s have a quick anatomy lesson!

There are three major muscles in the shoulder area – the lateral deltoid, the anterior deltoid and the posterior deltoid. It is important that you work all three of these deltoids when you are trying to build bigger shoulders.

If you already engage in chest exercises regularly, then your anterior deltoid will also feel the benefit of this. This means that it is a good idea if you focus the majority of the attention of your shoulder workout on the lateral deltoid and the posterior deltoid. The first two exercises listed below actually have a prime focus on the anterior deltoid, and the third and final one is of benefit to the posterior deltoid at the rear of the shoulders. 

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press

This exercise targets all three of the deltoids but places the most strain on the anterior deltoid.

To do the seated barbell shoulder press you will need to sit in an upright position on a bench with your feet firmly on the pegs. Your lower back and shoulders should be flat against the seat with the barbell resting on the shoulder rack just above your head.

Position your hands on the barbell just slightly further apart than shoulder width. Keep your core tight and your back straight as you lift the barbell up over your head. You can then lower the barbell down. Make sure you bring the barbell all the way down to the top of your chest and then extend the arms fully as you push the weight back up.

You can either choose to keep the weight low and manageable and do more repetitions, or increase the weight to push yourself out of your comfort zone and do less reps. Either way, aim for three to five sets of your chosen rep pattern.

Dumbbell Overhead Press

The anterior deltoid is the first muscle to be activated in the shoulders by the overhead press, with the lateral deltoid and posterior deltoid also contributing to the completion of this move.

This exercise can be done both sitting on a bench or standing up! However, as we all tend to spend so much time sitting during the day anyway, why not do this exercise standing up!

This is a fairly simple exercise and all you need to do is hold a dumbbell in each hand either side of your head and then fully extend the arms up. You can then return to the start position and then repeat.

As with the seated barbell shoulder press you can either do a high number of reps at a manageable weight, or a lower amount of reps at a higher weight. Between three and five sets for each workout will be adequate.

Standing Cable Reverse Fly

This movement is great for enhancing your posterior deltoid muscle, although your other shoulder muscles will also benefit.

To do this exercise you will need to use the cable machine at the gym. Begin by standing in the middle of the cable machine and taking the left cable handle in your right hand and the right cable handle in your left hand. Hold the handles in a neutral position straight out in front of your body with your knees slightly bent. You can then pull both arms back laterally so that they are extended to either side of the body. Be sure not to lock your elbows and then return your arms to the start position.

Similarly to the other two movements you can either do a high number of reps at a manageable weight, or a lower amount of reps at a higher weight. Between three and five sets for each workout will be adequate.

Exercise for Best Results

Consistency with your exercise regime is the best way to ensure that you continue working towards your goals. As you persist with your workout schedule and continue to increase the amount of weight that you are lifting, you should find that your strength and your physique will change accordingly. Remember, progress takes time but within a few months of sticking to a serious routine you should begin to see some changes to your body. This is also of course dependant on your diet and you will also have to eat to support your body building goals. For all those of you who are unsure how to do this we will write an article soon to help you!