Building Shoulder Muscles – Best 5 Exercises

An upper body is not complete without strong and muscular shoulders. Your arms, back, and chest maybe big but when you don’t have big, round delts that pop, you’re overall look will not be as great as you want it to be. You might be pouring lots of hours and sweat to work on those shoulders but only to be disappointed. It’s not easy to build impressive shoulders, you need to work on them a lot in the right way and you must have the patience to achieve amazing results. It can be done, yes. You just have to learn the best exercises for building shoulder muscles.

Why the Need for Shoulder Exercises?

The shoulders are composed of three major muscles called deltoids or delts. In bodybuilding, all three deltoids must be developed because if one is falling behind, it will be clearly obvious. The anterior deltoids usually get trained with chest workouts but the lateral and posterior deltoids can be worked best with shoulder exercises.

It is important that you know the right shoulder exercises to avoid mistakes that will impede the growth of the muscles in the body especially the smaller muscle group in the shoulders. Focusing too much on isolation exercises, high-rep training, and machines will not give you big, round delts, in fact, they are detrimental to building shoulder muscles.

Why You Can’t Build Big Muscles?

Your current routine may not be enough or not the right workout to build big shoulders. Here are nine reasons why you have failed at every attempt to get those wide and meaty shoulders:

  • Using too much weight with incorrect or poor form
  • Neglecting deltoid training
  • Working more on the anterior deltoids
  • Not executing the proper form which results in deltoids not contracting correctly
  • The middle delts are not worked enough
  • The shoulder reps are too low
  • The frequency of shoulder exercises is too low
  • The exercise program is not balanced

Great shoulders can be achieved without drugs. All you need is the right information, patience, and hard work. These two strategies work and they’re simple enough to follow:

  • Lift heavy weights to make your shoulders bigger and stronger. Focus on 4 – 6 or 5 – 7 repetition range.
  • Give more attention to shoulder exercises that allow progressive overload. If you continue to add more weight to the bar, you’ll continue to grow bigger and stronger.

As a general rule in weightlifting, the heavier the reps – the fewer you can do each week. Lifting heavier weights will require more time for recovery. If you persist in doing more, you will be at risk for overtraining.

What are the Best Shoulder Exercises?

To make your delts pop impressively, these 5 shoulder exercises are the best.

1. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This version beats the barbell version but just for a bit. They both offer a complete delt routine and would be ideal to rotate with one another regularly. However, the dumbbell shoulder press targets the middle deltoids – considered the most important of the three delts when it comes to width, mass, and overall roundness while barbell press works more on the anterior delt that is already developed with the help of heavy incline bench press.


  • Prevent strength imbalances due to separate dumbbells.

2. Seated Barbell Shoulder Press

The Seated Barbell Shoulder Press is not for sissies. It is a high-intensity activity that is challenging and a bit uncomfortable. But, it is one of the best and one of the most efficient ways to get huge, popping shoulders. These workout targets all three deltoids: anterior, middle, and rear deltoids.


  • It is more appropriate for heavier loads than dumbbell press.

3. Face Pull

The Face Pull is a multi-joint- rear-delt exercise for various type of sculpting that will create clearly defined, striated rear delts. It targets the middle trapezius and rear deltoids. The activity involves the use of a pulldown station and weights that are heavy enough to counterbalance your own weight.


  • It demands the middle trapezius to work and includes some leverage that will allow you to take on more weight. This leads directly to muscle growth.

4. Push Press

This is considered an absolute powerhouse which combines just the right momentum with heavy overhead action. If you want a workout that focuses on mass gain, this would be the effective leadoff exercise. It mainly targets the anterior and middle delts.


  • It ensures that your muscles from your shoulders down to your legs work synergistically.

5. Cable Reverse Fly

The rear deltoids don’t get too much attention in some shoulder workouts. If you love wearing shirts, you should have the shoulders for it. Meaning, your anterior, middle, and rear deltoids are all meaty. The anterior and middle delts get additional work when you perform chest and shoulder presses but the rear delts – they need to be given exclusive attention to grow well. The Cable Reverse Fly add an element of balance and muscle control on the rear deltoids that the reverse pec-deck fly cannot attain.


  • Due to the counter-pulling resistance with cables, your rear deltoids will never get a break with your reps. With barbells, dumbbells, and some other machines, the tension lessens at specific points of the body’s range of motion due to inertia and gravity.

The shoulders are one of the most important parts of the body that works regularly. They should be in good condition to enable people to lift and carry things. If they are injured, performing tasks will be uncomfortable or almost not possible. Even if you don’t want to build shoulder muscles, they should still need to be exercised regularly to increase their flexibility and strength and to prevent shoulder injuries. Incorporating shoulder stretches into your workout routine will help isolate these muscles to lessen the risk of injuries to the joints and ligaments. This also promotes blood flow to the shoulders that will be a great help when performing heavy weight lifting.

If building shoulder muscles are your goal, you would benefit the most by doing the best 5 exercises listed above. By adding patience to those, you will certainly get you the barn door shoulders that you want.