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Shoulder Workouts for Men: 12 Best Exercises to Boost Shoulder Size and Strength


Craving for that V-shape? The best shoulder workouts for men will certainly give you the shoulder muscles you want. You can add a definition to your overall body shape by strengthening your deltoids. Plus, shoulder workouts for men heal pain and prevent shoulder injuries.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of shoulder exercises for men.

But, before checking them out, learn what your shoulder muscles are.

What Muscles Are There in Your Shoulders?

There are two groups in your shoulder muscles:

  • Intrinsic
  • Extrinsic

The intrinsic muscle group starts above the upper torso and extends up to the humerus. On the other hand, extrinsic muscles start at the torso and get connected to the shoulder bones.

These two groups of muscles have the following muscles.

Intrinsic Muscle Group

Rotator Cuff

Rotator Cuff is located around the shoulder joints. They prevent the popping up of upper arm bones of your shoulder socket regularly.

Teres Major

Teres Major are small muscles. From under the shoulder joint, they extend up to the armpit’s back. As they’re associated with latissimus dorsi, their nickname has become ‘lat’s little helper.’


Derived from the Greek letter delta, Deltoids have three main muscle fibers, anterior, middle, and posterior. All these fibers are connected through a thick tendon. It is this muscle that causes rotation of arms and prevents injuries.

Extrinsic Muscle Group

Levator Scapulae

Levator Scapulae lifts the scapula shoulder bone. This scapula bone connects the collarbone (clavicle) with the upper arm bone (humerus).

Latissimus Dorsi

Latissimus Dorsi is the broadest muscle in the back. Internal and external arm rotations occur due to this muscle.


These muscles are rhombus in shape. Thus, the name. They exist on the upper back, just in the middle of the shoulder blades.


Having a triangle shape, Trapezius supports your shoulder and arm when you raise them. These muscles run down the spinal cord and across the blades of the shoulder. Both of your right and left shoulder have trapezius muscles.

However, all the exercises listed here aim to add serious sizes to your shoulder. Therefore, it’s important for you to know the recommended shoulder size for men.

What’s the recommended Shoulder Size for Men?

A lot of factors decide the size of your shoulders. These factors can be body type, weight, and your genes.

According to Greg O’ Gallagher, the Hollywood fitness and physique expert, the ideal size of the shoulder is 1.618x waist. In that case, the waist has to be 45-47% of your height.

Now, comes the question, ‘how would you measure the shoulder’s width?’ So, here’re the steps.

Shoulder Workouts for Men

1. Reverse Cable Crossover

This is one of the best shoulder workouts. Strengthens your deltoids. Keeps your shoulders in balance. Prevents many shoulder injuries and rotator cuff problems. 

How to do

Grab the pulley with both hands and cross them. Keep your arm straight and move them upwards and downwards. Slowly return to the original position. 

Sets: 4 sets of 10 – 12 reps.

2. Dumbbell Shrugs

This helps to reduce the strain of your neck and the muscles of your shoulders. It also helps in strengthening the upper back also. Dumbbell shrugs improve postures. Hence, it is one of the best shoulder workouts to add to your daily routine.

How to perform 

Hold dumbbells in your hands and stand straight. Keep your abs tight with chest up. Relax your neck and shoulders. Tighten up your chest. Hold the dumbbell in an overhand grip and raise your shoulder up towards your ears. Keep the weight for 1 to 2 seconds and back to the starting position. As the weight raised higher, the trapezius works harder. As you are back to the starting position the stretch is greater at the bottom. 

Sets: 4 sets of 10 – 12 reps. 

3. Push press

This shoulder exercise helps in strengthening upper body muscle. The push press is one of the main parts of Olympic weightlifting. Athletic power is enhanced. It also improves the overhead stability. Besides, this workout is more advanced overhead training. 

How to do

Perform this exercise in a standing position. Keep the upper arms parallel to the floor with your elbows pointed outwards. Raise the barbell at the top of your upper chest. Take the weight higher with ample thrust, extending your elbows and arms. Lift the bar over your heads. Lower your hips. Hold the weight for 1-2 seconds. Come back to the starting position.

Sets:  3 – 4 sets of 8 – 12 reps. 

4. Lateral raise

This workout helps in extending the mobility of your shoulder. It makes moving like pulling, lifting, and pushing easier. You can kick the shoulders into high gear. It strengthens the anterior, medial, and posterior deltoids. 

How to do

Choose a manageable weight. Stand straight with your feet wide apart. Hold the dumbbell by your sides at arm’s length. Bend your arms slightly raise your arms up to shoulder levels. At the top of the level, your arms should face to the bottom. Slowly get back to your starting point with the weights you carry. To make the lateral raise harder use heavier dumbbell. Do it slowly. 

Sets: 8 – 12 reps. 

5. Overhead Press

If you’re looking for shoulder workouts for men to increase the size and strength of biceps, triceps, and trapezius muscle, Overhead Press is perfect for you. It helps you to keep things at a higher shelf or a cabinet. This workout will shape your upper body. The shoulder press is the other name of this exercise. Practicing this workout will also prevent your shoulder from getting injured easily.

How to do

Stand straight holding the bar. Before put on the weight set the bar on the support rack of your shoulder. Squeeze your shoulder blades while holding the bar. Push your chest out and stabilize your core. Lift the bar. Move your head slightly backward while lifting the bar. Make sure that the bar is horizontally aligned with the back of your head. Maintain the position for a moment. Then lower the bar back to the level of your shoulder. 

In case, you’ve got any confusion, watch this video.

Sets: 3 – 5 sets of 4 – 8 reps. 

If you’re new to this shoulder workout, try seated overhead press.

6. Front Raise

Front Raise isolates the joint of your deltoid muscles. This is one of those shoulder workouts for men that tone up the upper muscles of your body at the right places while strengthening the two areas. When you’re lifting a heavyweight by the range and improving your mobility, it protects you from future injuries. 

How to do

Take two dumbbells and stand shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet on the floor and your back straight. Put your arms down. Cross the dumbbell onto your thighs horizontally in a way that the face of your palms is towards your thighs. Make sure that you have a firm grip. Hold the abdominal muscles. Raise the weight upward. Inhale. Stretch your arms to the front and palms facing down. Reducing the stress of your joints, bend your elbows slightly. Stop while your arms are horizontal to the floor. You can feel your shoulder muscles tightened. Return to the starting point slowly. Exhale.

Sets: 2 – 3 sets of 8 – 16 reps.

7. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This is another awesome shoulder workout for men. It reduces the risk of osteoarthritis by improving bone density. The trapezius, triceps, and upper chest also get strengthened by this exercise.  It also improves the strength of ligaments, tendons, and bones. This workout will enable your joints to stay at a proper place by improving the stability in your elbows, wrists, and shoulders. 

How to do

Select the desired weight and adjust the bench at a 90° angle. Use a neutral grip to pick up the dumbbells from the floor. Sit on a bench and keep the position of the ending point of the dumbbells on your knees. To get each dumbbell into place kick your knees up one at a time in a safe and controlled motion. Face the dumbbell forwards and rotate your palms. Tightening the deltoids and extending your elbows, take a deep breath, and press the weight overhead. Lower the dumbbell slowly to the starting position. 

Sets: 3 shoulder presses for 1 minute. Then, take a break. Repeat the process for 10 minutes.

Have confusion? Check out this video.

8. Pec Deck Rear Fly

Pec Deck Rear Fly isolates the deltoids’ rear. Consequently, you don’t have to give a lot of pressure here. The pec deck machine ensures that the resistance remained consistent during eccentric and concentric movements. Finally, the muscles get more strength.

How to do

Adjust the seat to take the handles of the machine at your shoulders’ level. Grab the handles with your palms. Make sure that both the palms are facing inwards. Now, tighten your torso. Extend your arms out to the sides. Then, take the arms back through the semicircular plane of the dec. Return to the original position.

Sets: 2 slow warm-up sets of 18 reps. And 4 working sets of 12 reps.

However, everyone cannot afford to go to the gym. Sometimes, the gym fees are high. Besides, many people don’t have a gym center near the house. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t have broad shoulders. Luckily, there are much effective yoga poses to increase shoulder size. The list is given below.

Yoga Poses for Shoulders

1. Forward Fold

Forward Fold improves the lower back flexibility and reduces the tightness. This yoga is more effective after exercises that focus on the lower back such as lifting, walking, running, etc. Controls blood pressure and improves circulation and sleep. Heals headaches. This forward fold helps in reducing the tension if you allow the gravity and relax your neck and head.

Sets: 5 – 10 times 

shoulder workouts for men

 2. Wide Legged Forward Fold

This yoga pose opens up your chest muscles and gives you broad shoulders. Stand keeping your feet wide apart. Bend your upper body in a way that the backbone remains straight. Extend the arms to your sides. Aim to touch the feet as is shown in the picture below.

Sets: 4—8 times

shoulder workouts for men

Image Credit: BeYogi.Com

3. Standing Side Stretch

Stretch all the muscles around your armpits with this exercise. Make sure you’re not shrugging your shoulders while practicing this yoga pose.

Sets: 10-12 reps on each side

4. Rolling Panda

Popularly known as Thread the Needle Pose. This is extremely effective to heal stress from shoulders. It targets the outer layer of the shoulder and the shoulder blades.

Sets: 5-6 reps

Image Credit: Banziris/sur1clic.com

If you face any issue in doing any of these shoulder workouts for men, stop immediately. Make sure you’re following the instructions strictly. Otherwise, you may get hurt.

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