You might be getting back into the swing of things at the gym, and want to build muscle. Or, you're rehabbing from an injury, and need to do shoulder exercises to regain mobility and build muscle. No matter what your situation, the right activities will help improve overall health, movement, and develop your muscles.

Most people don't work out their shoulders enough. It is one of the most underutilized muscles. Even avid gym-goers overlook the muscle group. It's one we don't use often. The muscles don't have as much development as others because of this. Many people only realize it once they suffer from an injury or lose their range of motion. If you're trying to build the surrounding muscles and develop upper body strength, you must focus on the shoulders. If you're trying to increase mobility after an injury, rehab requires you to work out the joints. There are many reasons to engage in different shoulder exercises. You might as well use your time wisely, and work on those that'll help you achieve your goals.

Shoulder Exercises - Benefits Of Performing

man squatting with barbel

There are numerous benefits individuals will experience by engaging in a variety of shoulder exercises. These exercises can help improve flexibility and mobility. By broadening the muscle group and developing strength, it's easier to utilize the muscle groups. It's also possible to improve posture and help recover from injuries. Focusing on the target muscles, will not only help develop them but also maintain and increase strength in surrounding tissues. Having strong shoulders can also prevent injuries, like a rotator's cuff injury.

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Improve Posture

good posture

Most people slump in front of a computer all day. Then, get off work and watch TV. And, at day's end, they lay down and follow this routine again the next day.

Rehab From An Injury

Sports Therapy

A well-structured conditioning program will help individuals recover from injuries. Shoulder exercises can help with shoulder injuries, rotator cuff, back, or even neck pain.

Shoulder  Exercise To Build Muscle 


Isolation shoulder exercises pinpoint the muscle groups individuals want to target. High-rep training and lower weight will help develop, tone, and sculpt the shoulders.

Shoulder Exercise To Increase Flexibility And Range Of Motion 

the shoulder exercise

It's the most mobile joint in the human body. However, most people don't perform shoulder exercises to help improve the flexibility of the joint.

Improve Posture

right posture

Most people slump in front of a computer all day. Then, get off work and watch TV. And, at day's end, they lay down and follow this routine again the next day. Poor posture is something many people struggle with throughout the day. Shoulder exercises can help improve this. By broadening the shoulders, opening the chest, and strengthening the shoulder blades, the posture naturally enhances itself.

Rehab From An Injury

couple doing physical therapy

A well-structured conditioning program will help individuals recover from injuries. Shoulder exercises can help with shoulder injuries, rotator cuff, back, or even neck pain. Something as simple as stretching, and engaging in movements of the shoulder blades, can help build strength back up. Working with a rehab professional or therapist is advisable. However, there are also several online guides and tutorials individuals can follow, when developing a routine with shoulder exercises.

Shoulder Exercises To Build Muscle

man squatting with barbel

Isolation shoulder exercises pinpoint the muscle groups individuals want to target. High-rep training and lower weight will help develop, tone, and sculpt the shoulders. People don't use these muscles often. Therefore, they aren't as strong as traps, chest, pecks, and arms. Understanding the anatomy of the shoulder will also help in developing a routine. This routine will help build the muscle group and build strength.

Shoulder Exercises To Increase Flexibility And Range Of Motion

man and woman in a gym

It's the most mobile joint in the human body. However, most people don't perform shoulder exercises to help improve the flexibility of the joint. A series of stretching shoulder exercises can help increase the range of motion and flexibility. By reaching over the head, behind the back, and over the shoulder, these stretches help stretch the muscle fibers. Over time, the muscles get stronger, joints increase fluidity, and individuals improve their range of motion.

Equipment Needed To Perform Shoulder Exercises

man doing a work out

Depending on whether individuals are doing strength training, or rehabbing, the items they'll need varies. Foam rollers, resistance bands, dumbbells, or circuit training equipment, are some items people need when doing shoulder exercises. If working out with a physical therapist, they might also incorporate specialty equipment in a studio. Every individual differs. When performing shoulder exercises, their focal goal/purpose will dictate the items they need. In many cases, no equipment at all is necessary to perform these exercises.

How We Reviewed These Shoulder Exercises

man working out at the gym

In reviewing these shoulder exercises, we utilized several resources. Informational sites, physical therapy sites, and different workout sites helped develop the different shoulder exercises we suggest. We also looked at isolation exercises, and those that specifically target the shoulders, deltoids, and underutilized surrounding muscles. Incorporating several different workouts and physical therapy sites, we developed a series of shoulder exercises to try.

The Best Shoulder Exercises To Perform

Best Shoulder Exercises

Of course, every individual differs. Therefore, the best shoulder exercises for one person, might not be the best option for the next person. Depending on the overall goals, the types of activities people perform will vary. Their current strength levels, how much weight they can lift, and their range of motion, also dictates their program. Regardless of the goals individuals have in mind, these are some shoulder exercises that can benefit them in multiple ways. They're not only beneficial in building strength, but also developing surrounding muscle groups too.

Improved Posture With These Shoulder Exercises

Shoulder exercises can help improve posture. An overhead press is one of the most common activities for improving posture. Standing with feet shoulder width apart, individuals will hold one dumbbell in each hand. From their side, they'll press each weight over their head, while rotating their hands 90-degrees in the process. When lowering the hands back to their sides, they'll turn their hands back to the starting position. The exercise is one that people can do sitting or in a standing position.

A body crawl is another great shoulder exercise to improve posture. As the name implies, this exercise requires people to get on their hands and knees to begin. From there, they'll crawl forward and backward on the floor, maintaining a straight back in the process. It's essential to move the opposite hand and foot together when crawling back and forward.

Lat pull downs are another great exercise. This exercise requires individuals to sit in front of the lateral pulley system. They'll use a lat bar, and pull down to about their chest and hold the bar for one to three seconds. Then, slowly raise the lat bar back up overhead to the starting position. Doing 10 to 12 reps, with low weight, can help improve posture over time.

Shoulder Exercises For Rehab

There are also several great shoulder exercises to help individuals in rehab. Depending on the injury, and the range they're trying to regain, the activities will vary.

Wall pushups are one great exercise for individuals who are in rehab. This exercise is one of the best shoulder exercises because it uses body weight. While in rehab, this movement limits the range of pushups which are great for building muscle and core strength. Depending on how much range of motion the person has, the depth they go down will vary. The stronger people get, the more they can do. They'll eventually be strong enough to complete knee pushups, instead of wall pushups. They will eventually build up the strength to complete standard pushups on the ground. Body weight exercises are great for rehab. They don't put undue stress on the shoulders. And, by doing the pushup off the wall, people aren't using their full body weight. It also helps prevent reaggravating the injury this way.

Pushups with alternating shoulder taps are also an excellent exercise for rehab. Once individuals build up their strength a little, they can do this exercise on the floor. To do this exercise engage in a pushup position. Then, raise the right hand and tap it to the left shoulder. Return to the original position, and do the same with the opposite hand/shoulder. Alternate sides and complete a series of three to five sets, of eight to 10 reps each.

This exercise is great because it doesn't require engaging in a pushup extension. It focuses on isolation, which is excellent for rehab. The training also focuses on building shoulder strength, and the surrounding fibers. It doesn't solely focus on developing muscle, but rather, improving mobility and strength after an injury.

Building Muscle With Shoulder Exercises

showing the muscle

Some people want to perform shoulder exercises with the sole purpose of building muscle. If this is the primary focus, then using weight, increasing reps, and increasing range, are focal points to consider. Every individual is at a different starting point when they begin. So, the amount of weight they'll use, and the number of reps, will vary.

A standing military press is one of the best shoulder exercises for building muscle. To do this exercise, individuals can utilize barbells or a single bar with weight plates. Standing with shoulder width apart, they'll raise the dumbbells or barbell straight overhead and fully extend the position. At the top, hold the position for three to five seconds before returning to the chest/starting position. Repeat this exercise for three to four sets, of five to ten reps. The amount of weight and one's current muscle mass will also affect the reps/sets they'll do.

The seated overhead barbell press is another great shoulder exercise to perform. It's similar to the military press. However, it is an exercise that people complete while sitting. And, instead of using dumbbells, it requires the use of a single barbell. The barbell requires a higher degree of strength from the triceps. Sitting down also minimizes momentum when doing the exercise. So, it requires individuals to focus solely on the shoulder and building that muscle group.

A lateral raise is a third great exercise for building muscle. With this exercise, the individual's hands are at their sides and can use dumbbells or resistance bands. From their side, they'll raise the arms towards up as possible. Lifting the dumbbells to the side, with palms facing toward the body, focuses on the deltoid muscles. Once they reach the peak, they'll slowly bring the arms back down to the starting position.

Shoulder Exercises To Increase Your Range Of Mobility

When it comes to a growing range of movement and motion, the best shoulder exercises are often stretching. They require individuals to stretch the muscle, pull the fibers, and this eventually helps increase overall range and mobility.

One great stretch is the cross body stretch. As the name implies, they'll begin with their hands by their sides. Then, raise one hand up across their face, and with the opposite arm, pull the raised arm across the body. Hold this stretch for 30 to 45 seconds at a time, then switch arms. This stretch focuses on the rotator cuff. Doing two to three sets is a good base, and will help open up the shoulders and increase mobility steadily.

Lat foam rolls are also a great way to increase the range of mobility. Body rolls using a foam roller, in general, are great ways to improve the range of motion. This exercise helps reduce pain in areas which are tight. Individuals will lay on the foam roller, and roll back and forth over the tight muscle fibers. It will initially feel painful because of tension and built up muscle tightness. It is also an area people don't use often, so it doesn't get much work. Once the area loosens, it will help increase range and will help soothe and mobilize the lats and shoulders.

Benefits Of Incorporating Shoulder Exercises Into Daily Workouts

There are so many great benefits people will achieve when they perform shoulder exercises each day. From building muscle, to increasing their range or recovering from an injury, several advantages exist. The great thing is that you can perform a few shoulder exercises, that will benefit you in many ways. Additionally, you can incorporate these exercises into a full body workout, to build overall strength, and develop surrounding muscles.

No matter what your focal goal is, shoulder exercises are highly beneficial for everyone to perform. It's the most used joint in our body, and one we underwork meaning it needs additional attention. These are some simple exercises anyone can incorporate into their workout, to build muscle, improve mobility, and prevent injuries. The benefit of doing these shoulder workouts is that you'll get stronger. So, over time, you'll notice a change in body composition. You'll also feel stronger, and you'll find it easier to perform tasks you previously thought were difficult.

Like anything, the more time you take in developing the shoulders, the more improvement you're going to see. These are some great shoulder exercises that will benefit you in numerous ways. Incorporating these into your workout will help improve range, mobility, build muscle, and help minimize the potential for injuries.