Dumbell Shoulder Exercises

Your shoulder muscles–the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids–cap your shoulder joint much like football shoulder pads and are important for the health, appearance and function of your shoulder joint. To avoid muscle imbalances that could lead to chronic shoulder problems, it is important to train your shoulders using a variety of exercises to ensure that your shoulders are developed evenly. There are a number of different shoulder exercises that that you can choose from to achieve this.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This exercise focuses on your anterior or front deltoid. Adjust the backrest of an exercise bench so that it is vertical. Sit with your back fully supported holding a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbells to be level with your shoulders with your palms facing forwards. Keep your back fixed and stable and push your hands overhead so that the dumbbells come together over your head. Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder level and repeat.

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise

To emphasize your medial or side deltoid, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Allow your arms to hang down from your shoulders so that your hands are outside your thighs and your palms are facing inwards. Bend your elbows slightly and fix them in position. Keeping your torso still, lift the weights out to the side of your body up to shoulder level. Hold the top position for a second before lowering your hands back to the starting point. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dumbbell Rear Flies

The posterior or rear deltoid is often overlooked as it is out of sight, out of mind. However, the posterior deltoid is important as it helps to balance out the stronger anterior deltoid and also contributes of the appearance of the shoulders when viewed from behind. To target this muscle, lie on your front on an exercise bench holding a dumbbell in each hand. Allow your arms to hang down towards the floor–you may need to elevate the bench so that your hands don’t rest on the floor. From this position and with slightly bent elbows, extend your arms backwards at shoulder level. Your arms should form a T shape when viewed from above. This is a challenging exercise and can only be performed using light weights. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Dumbbell L Flies

Most chest and shoulder exercises encourage medial or inward rotation of the shoulder joint. L flies promote external rotation and, as such, can help balance your shoulder musculature. Lie on your side with your legs bent and your head resting on your outstretched arm. Hold a dumbbell in your uppermost hand. Tuck your elbow into your side and hold your arm at a right angle. Allow the weight to pull your arm down towards the floor before rotating it outwards until the weight is raised towards the ceiling. Your elbow should stay tucked in throughout. On completion of your set, roll over and change arms. This is a therapeutic exercise and should only be performed using light weights.

About this Author

Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. Also a lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a major contributor for Ultra-FIT magazine and has been involved in fitness for 22 years. Other than a five-year service in the Royal Marines, Dale has always worked in health and fitness and never intends leaving.