The best 4 exercises for shoulder training

  • MH US Director of Fitness Ebenezer Samuel and Celebrity Trainer Don Saladino share their best exercises to gain strength and size in your shoulders
  • With a kettlebell, with dumbbells… it’s time to gain muscle in the deltoids!
  • Shoulder Workout: Safely Bulk Up Your Delts With These 3 Gentle Dumbbell Exercises
  • Shoulder Workout: Safely Bulk Up Your Delts With These 3 Gentle Dumbbell Exercises

    Shoulders are an important muscle group if you want to build a strong and healthy physique, but there are a few things to keep in mind… “There are hundreds of shoulder exercises, but you don’t need them all,” says Ebenezer Samuel.

    The reason you should limit your repertoire of shoulder movements is not because the muscle group needs little work, or because only a few exercises are worth doing. According to celebrity trainer Don Saladino, it’s because his workout is probably too heavy on the shoulders in the first place. “Throughout the week, if we’re training our chest, we’re putting our shoulders into action, and if we’re training our triceps, too,” he says. “When we’re squatting, we’re creating tension in our shoulders, if we’re doing farmer’s walks or any form of transportation, like pushing sleds, our shoulders are involved as well.”

    With all of that in mind, Samuel and Saladino selected four moves they use to fully train the shoulder, keeping that weekly volume in mind.

    4 essential exercises for your shoulder training

    Head-Supported Rear Delt Fly

    Work around your shoulder and train your rear delts with this light dumbbell exercise. The key: use an incline bench to help maintain perfect posture and movement. Focus on lifting the weights, not swinging them. “I’m just focusing on doing a reverse fly and contracting those rear delts,” says Saladino. Try high reps with light weights.

    High Incline Lateral Raises

    You’ll stay on the incline bench for this move, but sit with your chest forward for support (again, to keep your posture on point). Assuming this position will help eliminate the momentum to raise the weights. “I love the high slope, it just keeps you from cheating, so I get a really good squeeze,” says Samuel. Again, he works with lighter weights and higher rep ranges for this exercise. Remember here tips to make your shoulder raises more effective.

    Seated Dumbbell Press

    Before we get started, Saladino points out that the straight-back bench position might not be best for everyone. If you have difficulty getting into the right spot for the vertical press (if you don’t have a great range of motion for external rotation or if you have a rounded back posture), you can move the bench to your highest incline. For this exercise, you can train with heavy or light weights, depending on your goals.

    Half-Kneeling One-Arm Kettlebell Press

    Switch up your workout with this surprise top pick. The move is also even more versatile than you might think: Saladino says you can press on the same side of the kneeling leg or the opposite side for a different effect. Samuel loves the move because the position prevents him from flaring his ribs or overextending his lower back, two common form errors in traditional standing overhead presses. “This becomes a great way to build that power that will translate into the shoulder muscle you want,” he says. Load the weight and do low rep sets for this move.

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