Everyone loves shoulder day. It’s a chance to really show off your strength without killing off your energy. And yes, sculpted delts look great. There’s no question that part of the appeal is aesthetics, but focusing on shoulders isn’t like overdoing biceps. They’re crucial for every day function.
So if that’s the case, why do we stick to the same few shoulder exercises every workout? We do standard presses, lateral raises, and maybe throw in some upright rows. Is that enough? Hell no. You can do so much more with your shoulder workout. It doesn’t have to be a slow, heavy lift day. Take some of these exercises if and crank your delt day up!
Bottoms Up Shoulder Press
The press is still king. It’s the biggest shoulder movement, and it should be the start of your workout. But it doesn’t have to stop at dumbbells and barbells.
Pick up a kettlebell in ONE HAND, and hold it with the ball pointing up.
You’re going to want to drop weight significantly, because you’ll feel your hand shaking immediately.
With a neutral grip, press the kettlebell up, keeping it balanced.
Feel free to let your other hand follow up, hovering a few inches from the ball.
Lower it down slowly, and repeat 8 to 10 times. Switch hands and go again.
The main benefit of the bottoms up press is that it forces your whole body to stabilize. You also have to think a lot more about your form. That’s not just in your shoulders, however. Your whole posture has to step it up and be perfect. That means that you’re going to execute heavier movements with that improved form. Plus, after doing a few sets of this, your shoulder day definitely won’t be a slow day.
Prone Rear Flies
Chances are, you’re not doing enough for your rear delts. We get it. They’re not mirror muscles, so why would you think about them? Let’s change that.
- Grab two dumbbells and lay face down on a bench.
- Hold the weights even with your chest, and then raise them up and out, keeping your arms just short of straight.
Rear delts are crucial for preventing injury. Rotator cuff impingement can often be linked to a weakness there, and that will take you out of the game for a while. Of course there are other rear delt exercises, but a lot of them either put your back at risk, or don’t hit them with a full contraction.
This is an advanced move that beginners should avoid, but if you’re looking to spice up your already A1 shoulder game, Olyimpic lifts are the way to go.
A dumbbell snatch is an easier and safer version of the famous Olympic move. You’re not going to be going for 1RMs on this, but it’s going to get your heart pumping.
- Stand with a dumbbell in between your feet. Grip the weight, and make sure your back isn’t rounded.
- From here, tighten your core and explode upward, driving from your hips. Once the weight passes your knees, perform a powerful upright row, launching the weight to full extension above your head.
Not only is this a great front (and all) delt move, but it’s also a total body workout.
One problem with traditional overhead and military presses is the strain bad form can put on your back. Unfortunately, most people have that bad form if they’ve never worked to correct it. Especially with overhead presses, we tend to lean back and push from our chests.
If you find yourself no having the mobility to fix that, landmine presses are a great alternative. If your gym has a landmine, set up is easy.
If they don’t, just put one end of a barbell into a corner. Throw some plates on the other end, and grab just above them.
Press up, and it will naturally move on an arch away from you. This will eliminate and back extension.
Don’t let your shoulder days get stale. A workout that isn’t well-rounded is one that will leave you injured. While there are hundreds of moves out there, this is a good introduction to getting out of a shoulder rut.