Dumbbell Shoulder Exercises

On this page you'll find a list of several shoulder exercises that be done using a simple pair of dumbbells. You'll also find comparison notes that hopefully will help you sort through them all.

  1. Shoulder Press (Standing with Palms-In)
  2. Shoulder Press (Seated with Back Support and Palms-In)
  3. Shoulder Press (Standing with Palms-In; Alternated)
  4. Shoulder Press (Seated with Palms-In; Alternated)
  5. Shoulder Press (Standing)
  6. Shoulder Press (Seated)
  7. Shoulder Press (Seated with Back Support)
  8. Lateral Raise (Standing)
  9. Deltoid Raise (Bent-Over Using One-Arm)
  10. Lateral Raise (Seated)
  11. Rear Deltoid Raise (Bent-Over)
  12. Rear Deltoid Raise
  13. Rear Deltoid Circle
  14. Front Deltoid Raise with Arms Straight
  15. Upright Row
  16. Front Raise
  17. Shoulder Shrug
  18. Push Press
  19. Rear Deltoid Row (Crouched)

Shoulder Press (Standing with Palms-In)

Shoulder Press (Standing with Palms-In)
  • The Shoulder Press exercise can be used to target your shoulder muscle using a lone set of dumbbells.

  • While your front deltoids will do most of the work your triceps will need to kick in as well.

Shoulder Press (Seated with Back Support and Palms-In)

Shoulder Press (Seated with Back Support and Palms-In)
  • The Shoulder Press with Back Support allows you to stabilize your upper body in order to focus squarely on the actual exercise movements.

  • Like the standing version strong triceps will help you achieve this exercise.

Shoulder Press (Standing with Palms-In; Alternated)

Shoulder Press (Standing with Palms-In; Alternated)
  • The Alternated Shoulder Press is a variant where you raise one arm at a time while the other hand is being lowered.

  • Some people prefer this alternated version because it allows you to carry a momentum to a certain extent.

Shoulder Press (Seated with Palms-In; Alternated)

Shoulder Press (Seated with Palms-In; Alternated)
  • The Seated variant of the Alternated Shoulder Press lets you sit down in order to stabilize your upper body.

  • This variant is useful if you find yourself exercising where the ceiling is too low to allow for the standing version.

Shoulder Press (Standing)

Shoulder Press (Standing)
  • The Standing Shoulder Press with both hands facing forward allows you to shift a bit more of the workload towards your rear deltoid muscles.

  • Again, your tricep muscles will assist you for this exercise.

Shoulder Press (Seated)

Shoulder Press (Seated)
  • The Seated version again allows you to stabilize your upper body.

  • This enables you to focus squarely on the shoulder press movement (shoulders and triceps).

Shoulder Press (Seated with Back Support)

Shoulder Press (Seated with Back Support)
  • This back support version allows you to further stabilize yourself.

  • It offer an additional step if you are looking to isolate the targeted movements from the tone ones.

Lateral Raise (Standing)

Lateral Raise (Standing)
  • The Lateral Raise exercise is very popular and is achieved by raising your hands away from your body.

  • You'll want to make sure to keep the angle in your arms still throughout the exercise.

Deltoid Raise (Bent-Over Using One-Arm)

Deltoid Raise (Bent-Over Using One-Arm)
  • The Bent-Over Deltoid Raise is one of the best way to target your rear deltoid muscles.

  • For added difficulty and efficiency you'll want to try to reduce the momentum created by the movement, resting slightly between reps.

Lateral Raise (Seated)

Lateral Raise (Seated)
  • The Seated Lateral Raise, like the standing version is excellent at targeting your outer deltoids.

  • And again, you'll want to either keep you arms extended or at least keep the angle in your elbows still throughout.

Rear Deltoid Raise (Bent-Over)

Rear Deltoid Raise (Bent-Over)
  • The Bent-Over Rear Deltoid Raise has you sitting on one end of a bench and tilting your upper body forward.

  • It is particularly well suited if you want to focus the workload on your rear deltoids.

Rear Deltoid Raise

Rear Deltoid Raise
  • The Prone Rear Deltoid Raise has you lying prone on a high flat bench.

  • While excellent at targeting your rear deltoids you'll also need considerable input from your lats and other back muscles.

Rear Deltoid Circle

Rear Deltoid Circle
  • The Rear Deltoid Circle puts you in a similar position to that of the rear deltoid raise, lying prone on a high bench.

  • The idea here is to keep the dumbbells raised up and move them forward or back, requiring significant input from your back muscles as well as your rear deltoids.

Front Deltoid Raise with Arms Straight

Front Deltoid Raise with Arms Straight
  • The Front Deltoid Raise with Arms Straight has you raising dumbbells straight up in front of you.

  • You'll want to keep your arms straight throughout or keep a slight angle in your elbows still.

Upright Row

Upright Row
  • The Upright Row using dumbbells holds the same benefits as the traditional exercise which uses a barbell.

  • It represents a very effective and popular way to strengthen the rear deltoids and the muscles located in the upper back.

Front Raise

Front Raise
  • The Front Raise exercise is similar to the front deltoid raise with the difference that you stop raising the dumbbells when your arms reach the height where they are parallel to the floor.

  • As with many other shoulder exercises you'll need input from your upper back muscles as well to complete this exercise.

Shoulder Shrug

Shoulder Shrug
  • Although the Shoulder Shrug can be considered more of a back exercise it was added to the list because people associate it with the shoulders.

  • In it you simply raise the dumbbells up the sides of your body while keeping your arms straight parallel to your body, perpendicular to the floor.

Push Press

Push Press
  • The Push Press is similar to the shoulder press with the exception that you are allowed to use your legs and back to push up and use the momentum created to raise the weights up.

  • Because you're getting help from your legs and back you can expect to be able to push up heavier weights.

Rear Deltoid Row (Crouched)

Rear Deltoid Row (Crouched)
  • Finally, the Crouched Rear Deltoid Row is a fantastic exercise to strengthen your rear deltoid muscles.

  • Being in a crouched position you'll also strengthen the muscles located in your back and especially legs.

Use this link to access more dumbbell exercises