You’ve finally decided that it’s a high time to give your shoulders the necessary attention, and you want to know which exercises are the best for this newly found purpose of yours.
Before we start, you need to know that shoulders are not the easiest body part when it comes to working out. They participate in so many of the chest and back exercises, that often it seems utterly unnecessary to do any shoulder isolation exercising.
Since the delts usually have more stamina compared with the other muscles, sometimes it can be rather difficult to determine whether the exercising have any effect.
One of the shoulder routines that the most of the bodybuilders choose usually consists of overhead press, after which they do single-joint exercises that target the side and rear deltoids. Although this combination may work for a while, it’s essential to add diversity into your routine, including a variety of exercises that target your deltoids in order to shock them and prompt the growth.
In fact, the alteration of the exercises has been scientifically proven as one of the most important methods in strength gains on the long run. In other words, doing the same shoulder exercises on the repeat will get you nowhere.
We offer you a list of 7 shoulder exercises that you may want to include into routine.
1. LUMBERJACK KETTLEBELL PRESS
The lumberjack kettlebell press targets the front and side deltoids, while challenging your core. Hold the kettlebell over the right shoulder with both hands. Extend your arms to lift it over your head. Bring it down to the other side. Repeat the movement.
What you are doing is essentially a shoulder press with the added side-to-side movement with a kettlebell.
By moving the kettlebell from side to side, you alternate the stress distribution between the shoulders with each rep. Also, by putting the shoulders slightly forward you target them slightly differently than with the shoulder press. Another benefit of this exercises is that it provides unilateral training to your shoulders, because you lift each side separately. This way you can straighten any imbalance of strength that you might have in your shoulders.
To achieve this it’s crucial that you keep the reps in an even number. Ideally you should aim for 14 reps in total. If you find this too easy, don’t increase the reps count, but take heavier weight.
This exercise works the best if you perform it after doing heavy press exercises. Because it is hard to lift heavier weights over your head, this exercises is not something you would usually use for overloading your muscles. However, if you included it later in the protocol it can be a great tool for annihilating your shoulders.
2. SINGLE-ARM LANDMINE PRESS
This exercise is performed by attaching a barbell to fixed rotational device called a landmine, and primarily targets the front and side deltoids.
Grab the barbell with one and make sure that you’ve found your balance by slightly bending your knees. Press the barbell with your arm taking it overhead and forward until it is fully extended.
Return to the starting position and do all the reps before switching to the other side.
This exercise is preferred by many people, because the traditional presses – like overhead press – can be painful for the shoulder joints. The movements of this exercise are much more natural, and as a result it’s preferable for people suffering from shoulder pains.
In addition, since the exercise involves only one side of your body, you are constantly out of balance, and you need to employ your core muscles to keep you straight.
3. LANDMINE SHOULDER TO SHOULDER PRESS
The landmine barbell can be used for performing another exercise which closely resembles the kettlebell shoulder to shoulder press.
The fixed position of the landmine allow you to handle additional weight, and since you are using a barbell instead of a kettlebell, the grip is much more natural. Keep in mind that the number of reps in this exercise should be even, because you are alternating the sides.
The landmine shoulder-to-shoulder press is especially good for people suffering from shoulder pain. This is due to the fact that you are not lifting the weights above your head, but moving the weight at an angle.
If you have shoulder presses in your daily routine, this exercise should be performed later in the training. If you have chosen to use this exercise instead of shoulder presses, than you should move it to the early stages of your workout.
4. REVERSE INCLINE SHOULDER PRESS
We recommend doing 8-12 reps of this exercise after you have finished with your heavy presses. It primarily targets the rear deltoids and traps.
First adjust your bench to maximum incline. Grab the weights and site with your belly flat on the bench. Press the weights upwards with the same movements as in the shoulder press. Because this exercise puts most of the strain on the rear delts and traps, it is a fantastic follow up exercise for shoulder press.
5. LEANING DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE
Stand next to a fixed bar grabbing it with one of your hands. Take the dumbbell in your other hand. Holding your feet together lean to the side holding your dumbbell until the arm holding the fixed bar is fully extended. Once in this position start raising the dumbbell up in the same manner as the dumbbell side raise.
This is a multi-joint exercise and we recommend doing it at the end of your workout. Stick to 8-12 reps per set. By isolating the side deltoid, this exercise involves a much wider range of motion compared with the lateral dumbbell raise.
6. STRAIGHT ARM CABLE KICK-BACK
Although many people think that the kick-backs primarily target the triceps, this is only true when you bend your elbow.
On the contrary, keeping your arm straight will allow a greater transfer of the strain to rear deltoids. Stand in a bent position and grab the pulley.
Start pulling backwards, but remember not to bend your arm in the elbow. The key factor of this exercise is maintaining a strict from. If you twist your body in order to get the weight go further then you are not recruiting your shoulders to their fullest.
We recommend performing this exercise as a finisher, because you don’t need heavy weights for working the rear deltoids.
7. BENT-OVER DUMBBELL FLY
Although many people choose to do the bent-over dumbbell flyes with cables, research has shown that this is not optimal for isolating the rear deltoids. The reason for this is that when you use the cables, you have to grip them in a neutral way.
If you really want to hit the deltoids we recommend using dumbbells with offset grip.
Once again it’s crucial that you maintain your form and avoid swinging the weights. This will only reduce the strain you put on the deltoids. This exercise is ideal finisher for the back days.
Shoulders are one of the most difficult body parts for targeting. As they participate in many of the exercises you perform for the other muscle groups, you need a good plan when you want to isolate them in your training.
Including these 7 exercises will greatly help you in the process. Although they are not very complicated and can be performed with the equipment found in any gym, not many people choose to ignore them.
Don’t be one of them. They can be fantastic addition, or even a substitute for your current shoulder isolation exercises.
By targeting your shoulders from different and new angles, they prompt their growth, providing them with sharp look.
Just keep in mind that the heavier, compound exercises should be performed first, because they are the ones that rally make your muscle grow. The isolation exercises should always be used as finishers at the end of your exercise.
Relying solely on isolation movements will get you nowhere.
It’s also crucial that you keep on experimenting and exploring. Mix things up, add some diversity and find out which exercises are most efficient for you. While our selection of seven has worked for us, some of you may find them hard and unproductive.
And remember that even the most effective exercises should be substituted with another movement after a while.
Although at first they may provide you with fast muscle growth, our bodies are known to adapt making the exercise less effective in the long run.
As a final advice, we recommend that you constantly add weight. Without progressive overload of your muscles the progress will elude you, no matter how hard you apply yourself.