Is it important to do shoulder exercises to train the deltoids? The truth is that yes. The deltoid is one of the muscles that, when developed, contributes the most to improving the aesthetics of a physique. For men, a good deltoid gives them a more pronounced "V" shape. Apart from this, strong shoulders prevent injuries when carrying out all kinds of daily tasks. In addition, they improve strength in other exercises. Many people want to improve their maximum strength in  upper body exercises like the bench press or even the barbell row, but they forget to work their shoulders well.

Good deltoids improve body proportion. Plus, they make you look so much bigger and wider when you're wearing a t-shirt (something we all love). The shoulder basically has three parts: the anterior, lateral, and posterior . Let's see the best exercises that we recommend in Depor Trainer to train all the shoulder areas well.

The best exercises for strong shoulders

Learn to properly train your upper body. The best exercises are always done with free weights and not with machines. The free weights are the bars and dumbbells. In your shoulder routine, place barbell and dumbbell exercises first. In fact, it's ideal to start with pushing exercises (such as overhead presses and dumbbell presses), follow with elevations, and end with machines or cables. 

We reserve the force for heavy exercises and finish the pump with lighter movements. This combination will give us strong and beautiful shoulders. Remember to do all the runs and train with weights that you can handle well.

Standing Barbell Military Press

Standing Barbell Military Press Shoulder Exercise

This is the basic shoulder exercise; that is, the most important of all . In your delt routine, this exercise should come first, especially if you're still new to it. To do this, you're going to need a rack, from which you can lift the bar up to your chest.

  1. The exercise begins standing up and with the bar resting on the chest. Use a grip that you are comfortable with. Normally, it will be a little more than the width of the shoulders. Your elbows should point forward. Look forward.
  2. If you are already well positioned, fill your lungs with air. Drive the bar up explosively. The bar should pass close to the face. When you go to extend your arms, put your head under the bar and exhale.
  3. Now lean your head back again and lower the bar with control. The elbows will face forward. 
  4. Take a breath again, before the bar reaches your chest, so that it rests on a cushioning base. You will be ready for the next repetition.

You can do the exercise with one foot slightly forward for more stability. The barbell military press works the entire shoulder, but especially the front area. It also engages the triceps and upper chest. Try not to arch your back. Also, keep your legs and abs tight to gain stability and get the move right.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Dumbbell Upper Body Shoulder Press

This is the second shoulder exercise that I always recommend. It can be done standing up, but in this case, it is much better to be seated on a bench with a back . Let's see how to execute the movement.

  1. Drive the dumbbells up to start seated on the bench with arms extended. Keep your back in contact with the seatback.
  2. Take a breath and lower the dumbbells until they are close to your shoulders.
  3. When the dumbbells reach your shoulders, raise them again with explosiveness.
  4. Breathe out and finish the repetition with your arms outstretched again.

It is another excellent exercise to exercise the shoulder. If you want a trick to progress, go by varying the inclination of the backrest. For example, for a while, you can train with your back fully upright. Then you can try tilting the backrest a little . You will carry more weight. Don't over-incline it or it will end up becoming an upper chest exercise.

Seated Dumbbell Military Press

Bench Seated Dumbbell Military Press

That's right, the military press exercise also has a version with dumbbells. It can be done standing up, but it's much better sitting down. You need a weight bench with a backrest. It can be done by raising both dumbbells at the same time, but we like the alternate version better (it's the one we're going to explain):

  1. Do not put the back of the bench completely straight, but a little inclined (not much). Sit with your back on the backrest and the dumbbells resting in front of your shoulders. Elbows will be facing forward.
  2. Take a deep breath and push a dumbbell up.
  3. Extend your arm fully and exhale.
  4. Lower the dumbbell back to your shoulder with your elbow pointing forward. Remember to take a breath again. You can do another repetition of the same with the other dumbbell and alternate.

It really is one of the best  shoulder exercises in the gym for the front head of the deltoids .

Lateral raises with dumbbells, shoulder exercises that should not be missing

Lateral raises, exercises for lateral deltoids

It's one of our  favorite deltoid exercises . No matter how many years go by, it will always be effective and everyone should include a few sets of lateral raises in their shoulder routine . Although it is a very basic and simple movement, it is also one of the worst executed.

  1. Begin by grasping a dumbbell in each hand and arms extended to either side of the body. He grasps the dumbbells with a neutral grip and touching the lateral thighs. Some people are comfortable starting with the dumbbells in front of the thighs (this is another way to do it).
  2. Take a breath and raise your arms until they are horizontal and the dumbbells are in line with your shoulders. You can slightly bend your elbows to be more comfortable.
  3. Breathe out and lower your arms again in a controlled manner to return the dumbbells to the starting position.

This is the main movement among the lateral deltoid exercises . Exercise the head side of the shoulder. There are two other ways to do this exercise:

- With a lateral deltoid machine .

- With a pulley .

In both cases, the movement will be a lateral raise of the arm.

Dumbbell Front Raise, An Anterior Deltoid Exercise

Front raises, exercises for anterior deltoids

The military press  already exercises the frontal head of the shoulder very well as a basic exercise. However, it is possible to add a good isolation job for the anterior shoulder area. We will achieve it with the front elevations , a very simple movement to perform.

  1. Grab two dumbbells and start with your arms extended, touching and in front of your thighs. The basic exercise is done with the palms of the hands facing the legs. You can also do it with a neutral grip or with the palms of the hands facing out (in these cases, it is better to start with the arms on either side of the body).
  2. Take a breath and raise one arm forward. Describe a 90º angle in front of your body until your arm is in front of you and in line with your shoulder.
  3. Release the air at the end of the movement and return the arm to the starting position describing the same 90º angle. Do the next repetition with the other arm and go alternating.

Another way to do this exercise is to raise and lower both arms at the same time (it is more intense). They are  anterior deltoid exercises to isolate the front area of ​​the shoulders. You can also do the move with a pulley . 

Rear lateral raises or Rear Deltoid Exercises 

Seated Bench Shoulder Dumbbell Birds

Personally, I like to do the rear lateral raises sitting on a bench. The birds are the rear deltoid exercises with dumbbells. This move can also be done standing up, but we'll explain the seated version.

  1. Position yourself on the edge of a weight bench. Grab two dumbbells and place them on either side of your legs (or between your legs if you want more travel). Squat down so that your torso is on top of your legs.
  2. Fill your lungs with air. Afterward, she lifts her arms apart. She pulls the weight up toward her back. Release the air at the top of the movement.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position to complete the repetition.

You should feel the work of this exercise on the back of the shoulder . It can also be done with cables on a pulley.

Dumbbell Arnold Press

Dumbbell Arnold Press

This exercise was invented by Arnold Schwarzenegger and is a variant of the classic dumbbell press. It becomes more comfortable sitting on a bench with a back. If you want bigger, more defined shoulders, give the Arnold Dumbbell Press a try.

  1. Begin seated on a bench with a backrest with your arms extended overhead, exactly the same as in the regular dumbbell press. 
  2. Take a breath and lower the dumbbells to your shoulders (as in the dumbbell shoulder press). 
  3. In this shoulder exercise , as you lower the dumbbells, you will have to rotate your arms. When the dumbbells are at shoulder height, your forearms should be tucked in. The palms of your hands should be close together and facing your chest. Hold the air in the lungs.
  4. Now, open your arms to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders. She does the reverse twist again to raise the dumbbells overhead. He exhales and ends with his arms outstretched.

You can do this exercise with the bench upright or at a slight incline. The best thing about the Arnold Press is that it strengthens all three parts of the deltoid (lateral, front and rear) in a single movement. It might be a good idea to progress if you're already stuck on the dumbbell shoulder press.

Seated Barbell Military Press

Seated Barbell Military Press Anterior Deltoid Exercise

It is another way to do military press. Actually, it has its advantages. For example, sitting means that it is not so necessary to control the balance. Therefore, it is possible to focus more on shoulder work. We need two things: a weight bench with a backrest and a support to remove the bar comfortably.

  1. Place the back of the bench slightly inclined. Sit on the bench and grab the bar with the most comfortable grip for you, which is usually a little more than shoulder width.
  2. Drive the bar until your arms are extended above your head. This will be the starting position.
  3. Take a breath and lower the bar with your elbows pointing slightly forward. 
  4. When the bar touches your upper chest, push it up.
  5. Breathe out and finish the repetition with your arms outstretched.

The seated barbell military press is one of the best  exercises for the middle and front deltoids . It can also be done with the Multipower machine.

Military press with Multipower or Smith machine

Military press on a Multipower machine

It is done the same as the free weight modality, but the movement will be guided by the Smith machine. Work is lost on the stabilizing muscles, but some people get better deltoid isolation on this machine. It also allows you to move weight safely.

Seated Behind Neck Press, an exercise for the posterior shoulder

Seated neck press shoulder exercise

The behind the neck press is another of the  shoulder exercises that works the rear deltoids. It can be done standing up, but due to its complexity, we recommend a bench with a back to sit on. You will also need a rack, which you will place behind the bench to start with the bar high.

  1. Grab the bar with a grip wider than shoulder width. Take the bar off the rack and start with your arms extended above your head.
  2. Take a breath and, controlled, lower the bar until it reaches behind your head. The depth of the descent will depend on the mobility conditions of each person. Some athletes will only be able to go down to the ears, and others will be able to get the bar to touch the trapezius muscle.
  3. Forcefully push the bar up again and exhale.

Many people are not comfortable with this exercise. Give it a try and only do it if you can run it without any hassle. Do not include it in your routine if you have cervical problems or pain.

Behind neck shoulder press with Multipower or Smith machine

 Seated neck press exercise on Multipower machine

Another way to do the behind the neck press is to use the Multipower or Smith machine. The technique will be the same as in the free weight movement. Do the press behind the head with the machine only if you have no discomfort.

Shoulder press exercise on lever machine or Hammer apparatus

 Shoulder press exercise on Hammer machine or disc machine

This is another good choice among  shoulder exercises . Normally, a lever machine is loaded with disks. The advantage is that each arm will work unilaterally.

  1. Carry enough weight that you can control. Sit on the machine, grab the levers and take a breath.
  2. Hold your breath and propel the load up with an explosive movement.
  3. When you have extended your arms, breathe out and lower them again controlling the weight.

It's almost a free weight exercise. It isolates the shoulder very well, but also strengthens the triceps.

Rear deltoids on machine

 rear deltoids on machine

Normally, this machine is in all gyms and includes two exercises. If you sit with your back glued to the back of the bench, you can do pectoral openings. If you sit with your chest against the backrest, you will be able to exercise the posterior area of ​​the shoulder .

  1. Position yourself with your chest against the back of the bench. Grab the handles of the machine.
  2. Take a breath and move the handles back as far as you can.
  3. Feel the contraction of the deltoids and exhale. Move your arms back to the starting position.

Shrugs, exercises for trapezius

 Dumbbell Shrugs

The trapezius muscle is usually trained alongside the deltoid. Exercising shoulders and trapezius on the same day is a strategy of almost all bodybuilders. The reason is that both muscles form a very close set and, normally, exercising one of them implies strengthening the other. 

  1. Grab two heavy dumbbells and extend your arms to either side of your body.
  2. Take a breath, shrug your shoulders up, contract your trapezius, and exhale.
  3. Drop your shoulders again.

To do this movement well, you have to focus on lifting the dumbbells with the trapezius. Try not to push off with your arms, which should only remain straight as if they were hooks. It is the best exercise for trapezius .

You can do it with the bar if you want. Grab the bar at shoulder-width and do trapezius-force shrugs. The bar allows you to carry much more weight . You can also do it in the Smith machine.

Upright row, another trapezius exercise

 Z-bar chin up row, exercises for trapezius

It is the second most famous trapezius exercise in gyms. It is simple, but not everyone has the mobility to do it. We recommend using the Z bar.

  1. Start standing up, gripping the bar in the center and with your arms extended in front of your legs.
  2. Take a breath and raise the bar close to the body until it reaches the chin. Remember to stick your elbows out.
  3. Breathe out and lower the bar again.

Some people do not have enough mobility to bring the bar closer to the chin. If this is your case, take the bar only up to your chest. This exercise works the trapezius and deltoids . You can also do it on a low pulley .

Shoulder routine PDF to have 3D deltoids

You already know the best exercises for shoulders in the gym . However, you need a good routine to carry them out. We want to offer you a simple alternative. It is a training with only 9 effective series . Do you dare to try?

1. Standing Barbell Military Press :

- Warm-up and approach

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 8-12 repetitions

2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press :

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 8-12 repetitions

- Third series x 8-12 repetitions

3. Triset: Lateral Raises + Front Raises + Rear Lateral Raises:

In this case, each series includes three exercises without rest (you will have to do the indicated repetitions for each one).

- First series x maximum repetitions (laterals, fronts and seated bird)

- Second series x 15 repetitions (laterals) x 15 repetitions (front) x 15 repetitions (sitting bird)

4. Barbell Shrugs :

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 20 repetitions

The exercises are strategically chosen to achieve the greatest pump in the shoulder. If you decide to do these deltoid exercises at home , you may not have a bar and rack available. If you only have an adjustable bench and dumbbells, you can still do this workout. Simply start with the dumbbell overhead press. Do the dumbbell military press or the Arnold press as a second exercise. Substitute dumbbell shrugs for barbell shrugs.

 shoulder routine

Upper body routine: pectoral and shoulders

Can I train the pectoral and do  deltoid exercises in the gym in the same routine? Yes. In fact, it's a great idea. The deltoids already get a lot of work when doing pectoral exercises. You can pre- exhaust the deltoids with a chest workout, then move on to shoulder exercises. The following is an upper body workout for chest and shoulders in PDF .

1. Barbell Flat Bench Press :

- Warm-up and approach

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 8-12 repetitions

- Third series x 8-12 repetitions

2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press :

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 8-12 repetitions

3. Deeps for pectoral :

(ballast if necessary)

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 8-15 repetitions

4. Flyes with dumbbells on a flat bench :

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 10-15 repetitions

5. Crossovers with pulley cables :

- One series x maximum repetitions

6. Standing Barbell Military Press :

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 8-12 repetitions

7. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press :

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 8-12 repetitions

- Third series x 8-12 repetitions

8. Triset: Lateral Raises + Front Raises + Rear Lateral Raises:

Each series includes three exercises without rest (you will have to do the indicated repetitions for each one).

- First series x maximum repetitions (laterals, fronts and seated bird)

- Second series x 15 repetitions (laterals) x 15 repetitions (front) x 15 repetitions (sitting bird)

9. Shoulder press on lever or Hammer machine :

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 8-15 repetitions

10. Barbell Shrugs :

- First series x maximum repetitions

- Second series x 20 repetitions

In total, there are 10 exercises and 21 work series. It is a very complete training that will bring you very good results. You can do these  shoulder exercises at home if you have the right equipment to do them.

How to progress?

3D Shoulder Routine

As you have seen, in the first series of each exercise, we usually do the maximum possible repetitions. Every so often, add 5 pounds more to barbell (or machine) exercises or use 5 pounds heavier dumbbells for dumbbell exercises. Eventually, when you get to a weight where you can only do 8 reps, go back to the weight you started with for that first set. Try to beat the record you made with all the weights.

It is very important that you take notes. Write down all the weights you move and the repetitions you do in your routine. The progress is to overcome these marks to become stronger and stronger in the  exercises of deltoids in the gym . If you gain strength, your shoulders will get bigger and bigger.

This is all we can teach you about  shoulder exercises . Here are 15 dumbbell deltoid exercises and some variations. Do them correctly and go to the beach next summer with big and impressive 3D shoulders. Put on a tight shirt and start marking your shoulders like never before.

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