Sculpting your physique and achieving great shape takes time. But a long process doesn’t need to be a complicated process.
Today, we’re focusing on the basics for shoulders. The exercises here are easy to perform and don’t require a lot of weight in order to be effective. As long as you execute these movements using proper form, where you can feel the target muscles working, results will come.
Grab a bar with moderate weight, a pair of dumbbells, and find some open space. Your deltoids will be burning like a blowtorch in short order!
From the starting push-up position, slowly walk your hands back until your body forms an inverted V, with your hips in a peak. Remain in this position and perform as many push-ups as you can without sacrificing form. Shoot for around 8 reps. This angle, and keeping your elbows out, will do more work for the entire shoulder area while reducing chest involvement.
Front Barbell Raise
Your grip should be at shoulder width or a little wider to fully benefit the anterior (front) heads of the deltoids. If you want to work the front delts only, raise the bar until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Rising any higher from this point will recruit the traps.
A note on form: If you have to swing the weight up with momentum from your hips or legs, it’s too heavy. Going lighter will lessen the chance of injury and make your shoulders do the heavy lifting.
Rear Delt Barbell Row
As soon as you finish the front raises, go straight into rear delt rows without any rest. For this exercise, use an overhand grip with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Instead of pulling the bar into your bellybutton or waist like you would for a bent-over barbell row, pull the bar into your chest. Pause here at the top for a second before lowering the weight. Focus on contracting your rear delts and feeling your entire upper back working.
Choose a weight that’s challenging but can be handled with good form. Take 3 seconds to lower the weight in a controlled manner before raising the dumbbells again. The burn will be serious, but, hey, that’s what you want.
Bent-Over Rear Delt Lateral Raise
The rear delts are often neglected when it comes to training shoulders, so we’re doubling down with two exercises to target them. If you feel the rear delts are a weak area for you, then do these first before performing the lateral raises.
Bend over as far as you comfortably can, or do these seated with the weights going under your legs and your chest resting on your thighs. Just make sure your traps don’t join the party. Some people hold the dumbbells so their palms face behind them, while others use a neutral grip. Use whatever grip you feel more comfortable with.
Raise the dumbbells straight out to the sides, focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together and using your rear delts to move the weight, not your arms.