10 Best Muscle-Building Shoulder Exercises You Should Try

The list you’re about to read is based on two factors: EMG tests, which measure electrical activity in the deltoids; and an exercise’s ability to accommodate load. For example, you may be able to do an overhead barbell press with 185 pounds, but use only 35-pound dumbbells on lateral raises.

More often than not, then, the press is the better choice, even if the lateral raise totally lights up the EMG.

For each exercise, we’ll tell you why it made the list and how to use it in the context of your workouts.

1. Barbell Push Press

Why it made the list: This press allows you to load up the most weight (or do more reps) above all other overhead pressing moves. It’s considered a bit more of a whole-body movement for developing explosiveness, so you lose some of the isolation effects if you do this same movement seated.

How to:

  • With the barbell atop your upper chest, bend your knees slightly and explode upward on the balls of your feet while pressing the bar overhead.
  • Your lower body, core, delts, triceps, and upper pecs are all involved.

This is considered more of a strength/power movement than a bodybuilding exercise, but building more strength here can help you load up more plates in any number of other lifts. Moreover, doing movements that engage a great deal of muscle mass boost muscle-building hormones better than movements that don’t.

In your workout: Because this variation uses so many muscle groups, don’t do it every workout. When you do use it, perform it first in your workout, after warming up well.

This isn’t the exercise to do every shoulder training day, but it’s a great choice for increasing strength and power. N5 Is Very Important!


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