The shoulders are for the upper body what the hips are for the lower body. Since your shoulders are responsible for many of the activities that you perform using your upper body, training them is incredibly important if you want to improve your fitness and mobility.
In this training guide, we'll break down the best ways to get a great shoulder workout at home, including a few routines to get you started. You won't need a ton of equipment to perform these home shoulder workouts, but you will need your best effort to see the results.
Benefits of Shoulder Workouts
The anterior head of the deltoid helps with pushing while the posterior delt assists with pulling. Then there's the lateral head of the shoulder which helps you lift your arm to the side and assist the other two heads when necessary. Training the shoulders in all these functions will not only help improve shoulder development, but it will help improve your ability to perform pressing and pulling movements, as well. Perform one of the following shoulder workouts every week, and your commitment will pay off.
Dumbbell Shoulder Workout at Home
You can train your shoulders very effectively with dumbbells alone. If strength and size are what you need, then dumbbells are a must-have. These five exercises will provide a well-balanced routine that you can do every 5-7 days. Perform 3 sets of each exercise for 10-15 reps each. Rest for 45-60 seconds between sets.
Arnold Press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
You can perform this exercise seated or standing.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand in the top of a curl position at shoulder height.
- Press the weights over your head and rotate the dumbbells out while doing so. At the top of the movement, your palms should be facing away from you, and your arms should be straight.
- Reverse the motion to return to the starting position and repeat.
Dumbbell Front Raise: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand tall with your arms at your sides.
- Raise both dumbbells up and out in front of you while keeping your arms straight.
- Once your arms are parallel with the floor, pause briefly before controlling the weight back to the starting position.
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Sit on a chair or bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows slightly.
- Lift your arms out to the sides until your upper arms are parallel with the floor.
- Pause briefly, then lower your arms under control to the starting position.
Dumbbell Upright Row: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Stand with a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs.
- Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells straight up your body toward your shoulders. Try to bring your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together to maximize the contraction.
- Once the weights reach chest or shoulder height, slowly return them to the starting position.
Dumbbell Rear-Delt Fly: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge your hips back and bend to a 30- or 45-degree angle, keeping a soft bend in your knees.
- Allow your arms to hang in front of you while holding the dumbbells. Your palms should face each other.
- While keeping your arms straight but not locked out, lift the weights out to the sides as far as you safely can. Return to the starting position.
No-Equipment Shoulder Workout at Home
While there aren't many bodyweight exercises for the shoulders, you can get a solid shoulder workout at home with your own body. These three exercises can be performed in circuit fashion: Do 20 reps of each exercise with no rest between exercises. Once you finish all three exercises, rest for 2 minutes and perform another round of each exercise.
Side Delt Plank: 20 reps
Training the side delts with bodyweight alone may be difficult, but it can be done with this exercise.
- Assume a forearm plank position with your elbows below your shoulders.
- Push your right forearm into the floor and turn your body away from it, lifting your left side up into a side plank position.
- Lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat. Once you finish the reps on one side, repeat on the other side.
Pike Push-up: 20 reps
- Begin in a downward-facing dog yoga position. Your feet and hands should be on the floor with your hips elevated. Keep your back as straight as you can and maintain length in your legs.
- Bend your elbows and lower your head toward the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position.
Wide-Grip Inverted Row: 20 reps
- Lie on the floor next to a desk, dining table, or similar piece of furniture that is strong enough to hold your weight.
- Hold onto the edge of the desk or table with your hands as wide as possible, your legs bent, and your feet flat.
- Drive your feet into the floor, raise your hips, and pull your upper body up until your head is close to the table or desk. Allow your elbows to flare out to focus on your shoulders instead of your back.
- Lower yourself safely back to the starting position.
Resistance Band Shoulder Workout at Home
Like dumbbells, resistance bands can be used for building strength or muscle. They can be taken anywhere thanks to a gym bag, but they are also a great tool for at-home shoulder workouts. Perform each exercise for 3 sets of 1 minute each. Do as many reps as you can before the time expires. Rest for 45 seconds between sets.
Standing Band Press: 3 sets of 1 min.
- Stand in the middle of a resistance band with a handle or end in each hand. Pull your hands up to shoulder height with your palms facing away from you.
- Press up until your arms are straight overhead. The tension of the band should increase as you press.
- Release that tension by lowering your hands to the starting position.
Band Pull-Apart: 3 sets of 1 min.
- Grab a band with your hands shoulder-width apart and hold it out at arms' length in front of you.
- Keeping your arms straight, pull your hands apart as far as you can. The band tension should increase.
- Pull until your arms are out to your sides or as close as you can get to that point. Slowly return to the starting position.
Band Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 1 min.
- Stand in the middle of a band and hold an end in each hand. Stand straight and tall with your chest out and shoulders back.
- Lift your arms out to the sides until they are at shoulder height, parallel to the ground. Slowly return to the starting position.
Band Face Pull: 3 sets of 1 min.
- Wrap a band around a pole or other solid object at shoulder height and hold an end in each hand.
- Stand far enough back that there is tension on the band with your arms straight in front of you. Brace your core and dig your heels into the floor.
- Pull the ends of the band toward your shoulders and hold the contraction for a count of one.
- Slowly extend your arms to return to the starting position.
At-home shoulder workouts don't require a lot of time or fancy equipment. All you need is around half an hour and simple items such as dumbbells or bands. Perform these workouts for at least eight weeks, and the results will speak for themselves.