Shoulders Workout With Dumbbells

Shoulders Workout With Dumbbells

In this post, we’ll go through an effective shoulders workout with dumbbells. This workout is easy to follow, effective, and enjoyable.

Performing Shoulder Exercises With Dumbbells

For an optimal shoulder workout there are some important things to mull over; First, use a slow and controlled range of motion, particularly during the eccentric portion of the movement, because it creates maximum muscle resistance.

When looking at most dumbbell shoulder exercises, removing the traps as much as possible is important because it helps isolate the targeted muscle group. The traps are a very large/strong muscle that your body will naturally try to involve during shoulder exercises to make them easier.

To avoid over-involving your traps, think of pulling your shoulders directly towards the floor, which will activate the lats (an opposing muscle to the traps). Maintain this posture throughout each set, or at least attempt, to minimize trap involvement. 

Although it is nearly impossible to keep the traps totally out of most shoulder movements, the less work the traps are doing the harder the shoulders work. 

Additionally, squeezed shoulder blades are another facet to consider. Similar to engaging the lats, contracting the shoulder blades activates the scapular and helps remove trap involvement, further isolating the shoulders.

Visual Demonstrations

Rotator Cuff/Scapular Stabilizers

Rotator Cuff/Scapular Stabilizer exercises are an important piece of maintaining a healthy, well-functioning body. Countless weightlifters, athletes, and ordinary people struggle with shoulder pain and poor shoulder mobility.

A great way to combat this is by incorporating daily or near-daily quick, easy, lightweight shoulder movements into a routine. There are a variety of exercises to be performed, using a plethora of tools such as dumbbells, bands, a stick, a towel, or no weight at all that can pose tremendous benefit for your shoulders.

Side-Lying External Rotations

The Side-Lying External Rotation is an excellent Rotator Cuff exercise that uses light dumbbells. Start by grabbing a very lightweight dumbbell and lying sideways on a bench, bed, or floor; all work well. Tuck the arm close to the body and bend it to a 90-degree angle.

Two things to think about throughout the Side-Lying External Rotation are keeping the elbow tucked tightly against the body and to keep the arm at a 90-degree angle. An optional component of this exercise is to place a small hand towel in between your arm and torso.

After 10-25 reps, there should be a burn in the back of your shoulder. The Side-Lying External Rotation is one of many exercises that is very beneficial for rotator cuff health and strength.

Shoulder Press (Military Press)

The Shoulder Press is a beneficial exercise for your shoulders. This exercise primarily uses the deltoids and anterior deltoids (front and side of shoulders). Triceps, traps, and chest are secondary muscles in this movement.

While performing the Shoulder Press with dumbbells, think of rotating the shoulders so that the elbows are at slightly less than a 45-degree angle relating to the torso. Squeeze the shoulder blades and activate the lats throughout the exercise.

Lateral-Shoulder Raises

The Lateral-Shoulder Raise is a fantastic exercise that targets the deltoids. Traps and rear delts are secondary muscles in the Lateral-Shoulder Raise. If performed correctly, this movement can even be challenging with a small sum of weight.

Hold the dumbbells to the side with a bend in the arms. When raising, think of leading with the back of the arms or elbows. This will allow for a better deltoid contraction than leading with the weights. The Lateral-Shoulder Raise can be made more challenging by stopping the range of motion short at the bottom of the movement. By not coming down quite as far, the shoulders do not rest at any point during the exercise.

Front-Shoulder Raises

The Front-Shoulder Raise primarily uses the anterior (front) deltoids. The secondary muscles used are the chest and traps. Similar to Lateral-Shoulder Raises, a significant amount of weight is not needed for it to be challenging.

During this exercise, work hard to keep the neck and traps from helping as much as possible; direct the primary focus towards the front of your shoulder and upper chest. The Front Shoulder Raise should cause a burn in the front of the shoulder around the collar bone, although it shouldn’t be painful or uncomfortable.

Rear-Delt Rows

Rear-Delt Rows use the posterior deltoids. The biceps, traps, scapular, and lats are secondary muscles. With standard Bent Over Rows, the elbows align parallel to the torso, which involves the lats. On the other hand, Rear-Delt Rows eliminate most lat involvement by having the elbows aligned perpendicularly to the torso, rather than being parallel. The change in arm angle puts more focus on the back of the shoulder and less on the lats.

To perform this exercise correctly, pull the weight straight up from the floor, leading with the back of the elbow. For maximum contraction, squeeze the scapular at the top of the movement.

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