Strength training is an important part of maintaining good fitness, and training your shoulders is an integral part of that training. With so many exercises out there, if you’re not sure which shoulder exercises are best for you, we have the solution for you! From strengthening your upper body to improving functionality to improving your fitness routine, let’s take a look at some of the best shoulder exercises and why you should do them.
Health Shots contacted fitness expert Yash Agarwal to know what the best shoulder exercises are and what benefits they provide.
What are the best shoulder exercises?
1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Sit on a bench with back support or stand up straight.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
- Press the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended.
- Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height.
- Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
2. Forward raise
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms at your sides.
- Raise one dumbbell in front of you to shoulder height.
- Lower it again and repeat with the other arm.
- Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each arm.
3. Lateral elevation
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold the dumbbells at your sides.
- Raise both arms out to the sides to shoulder height.
- Lower them slowly again.
- Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
4. Posterior deltoid flying
- Bend at the hips and keep your back straight.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand under your chest.
- Lift your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor.
- Lower the dumbbells back down.
- Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- Lift your shoulders toward your ears while keeping your arms straight.
- Squeeze at the top and lower the weights.
- Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Start in a plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your body by bending your arms.
- Push back to the starting position.
- Beginners can start with knee push-ups.
- Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Also read: Here’s how to push up properly
What are the benefits of shoulder exercises?
1. Builds shoulder strength and stability
Strengthening the shoulder muscles helps improve stability in the shoulder joint, reducing the risk of injuries.
2. Improves posture
Strong shoulders can help maintain good posture and prevent round shoulders and related problems.
3. Functional mobility
Strong shoulders allow for a wide range of motion, making everyday activities such as reaching, lifting and carrying easier.
4. Prevents injuries
Well-conditioned shoulder muscles reduce the risk of strains, rotator cuff injuries and dislocations.
5. Sports performance
Strong shoulders can help improve athletic performance. Athletes benefit from strong shoulders because many sports involve overhead movements and throwing.
6. Relieves pain
Shoulder exercises can relieve the pain associated with conditions such as rotator cuff tendonitis or frozen shoulder.
7. Strengthens the upper body
Strong shoulders are integral to several upper body exercises, such as bench presses and push-ups.
8. Makes daily functional tasks easier
Daily tasks such as lifting groceries or carrying bags become easier with strong shoulders.
9. Promotes Bone Health
Weight-bearing shoulder exercises can promote bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Who Should Avoid Shoulder Exercises?
Here are some scenarios in which people should avoid or exercise caution with shoulder exercises:
1. Existing shoulder injuries
Exercises that aggravate shoulder conditions, such as a torn rotator cuff, should be avoided by people with acute or chronic shoulder injuries. You should seek advice from a healthcare professional before incorporating shoulder exercises into your routine.
2. Recent shoulder surgery
Those who have recently undergone shoulder surgery should avoid shoulder exercises until cleared by their surgeon or physical therapist.
3. Severe shoulder pain
If you experience severe and persistent shoulder pain during an exercise, stop immediately and consult a doctor.
4. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
Individuals with advanced shoulder arthritis should avoid high-impact or heavy-resistance exercises that can worsen joint pain.
5. Instability or hyperlaxity
Those with shoulder joint instability or hyperlaxity (loose ligaments) should avoid exercises that place excessive pressure on the joint.
Pregnant women should avoid heavy lifting or shoulder exercises. This is to prevent injuries as their ligaments and joints can be more relaxed during this time.
People new to exercise should start with light resistance and focus on maintaining proper posture. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can move on to more challenging shoulder exercises.
8. Chronic health problems
People with certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, should consult a health care professional before undertaking strenuous exercise.
Older adults may need to adjust their exercises due to decreased bone density and muscle mass. You should consult a fitness professional for advice.
Things to take into account
1. Maintain good posture
Those with poor posture may need to address posture problems before doing any form of shoulder exercise to avoid injuries. It is important to maintain the correct posture while performing these exercises.
2. Avoid overtraining
Overtraining the shoulder can lead to injuries. Maintaining good health requires adequate sleep and recovery from injuries.
3. Improper technique
If you cannot perform the shoulder exercises with proper form, you should consult a fitness expert as you risk getting injured.
4. Inadequate warm-up
Failure to warm up before shoulder exercises can increase your risk of injury. A good warm-up is essential for these exercises.
5. Be consistent
Choose a time that suits your daily routine and stick to it consistently to build a routine.
6. Consult a trainer
If you’re unsure, consider consulting a fitness trainer or physical therapist who can give you personalized recommendations.
7. Listen to your body
Pay attention to your body’s response. If at any time you feel more energetic and flexible, that may be the best time for you.
When is the best time to perform shoulder exercises?
1. Morning or evening
You can perform shoulder exercises in the morning or evening, depending on your preference and schedule.
2. Avoid doing them immediately after waking up
In general, it is not recommended to do intensive shoulder exercises immediately after waking up, as your muscles may be stiffer.
3. Before meals
Exercising before a meal can help prevent discomfort, as exercising on a full stomach can lead to indigestion.
4. Late at night
Try not to do heavy shoulder exercises too late at night as this can affect your ability to sleep.