Brian Parker

Shoulder exercises are not just for building muscle to look good, although this is a nice consolation prize that comes along with other benefits. Targeting your shoulders also increases the strength of the tendons and bones that surround and make up the shoulder joints. Regular overhead presses are perfectly fine to perform, but they are more focused on the middle shoulder head and may get boring performing over time. Want strong and boulder shaped deltoids? Then try these 3 shoulder exercises you’re probably not performing.

The Importance of Your Shoulders

Let’s first take a minute to remind ourselves of how important our shoulders are. The shoulder joint is basically what allows you to do anything with your arms and is placed under much stain on a daily basis. This strain over time can result in injuries due to either tight shoulder tendons or your joints are simply worn out. Performing movements with low to moderate weight helps strengthen your joints and possibly prevent future injuries.

You cannot prevent anything 100%, but you can at least decrease the chances significantly. Train your shoulders and never target them the day after you do a chest workout. A lot of people don’t understand that bench pressing movements use the shoulder muscles greatly along with the chest unless using dumbbells in a neutral grip.

1. Seated Arnold Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This is one of the best shoulder exercises to perform that is not really being utilized in shoulder training programs. The Arnold dumbbell press was created to target all three muscle heads of your deltoids. When you first start the movement and press it upwards, you are using your posterior deltoid. During the movement into the press you are using your middle deltoid, and while you lower the dumbbells down in front of your body your anterior deltoid is being used. Very god exercise for strength training and muscle building.

2. Wide Grip Upright Rows

Upright rows are pretty common with a close grip because people assume that being able to pull the elbows closer to their ears increases the contractions of shoulder muscles. This is often the case because we were taught to do this for decades until research and word of mouth from bodybuilders discussed wide grip being better. Studies show that using a wide grip during upright rows significantly targets the deltoids and middle trap muscles when compared to close grip. Try it for yourself and see how difficult it is.

3. Reverse Grip Barbell Shoulder Press

Aside from the dumbbell front raise, not too many exercises solely target the front deltoid muscle. All muscle heads need a little emphasis when it comes to building rock solid shoulders. The reverse grip version of the overhead press is also called supinated instead of reverse, which means your palms are facing towards your body in an underhand grip. This grip variant allows you to target your front deltoids along with your upper chest muscles. Very useful when performed with moderate weight settings.

You should still perform the regular grip overhead press in the standing pose since it’s a core workout for your body, but these exercises give an additional bonus to your training program and are often called “accessory” exercises. Try them out and see if your shoulders are capable of handling new movements for a change.