The shoulders are, perhaps, one of the most undervalued groups when we talk about workouts in the gym and yet they are at the same time perhaps the part of our body that we should most care for and train along with our core. By its structure, the shoulders intervene in infinity of movements and actions of our day to day of the superior train and usually they are not atrophied but they are behind muscularly speaking.

For this reason, incorporate exercises that work the shoulders effectively and effectively to our routine is the best way to ensure good health in these joints and muscles. In addition, the shoulders allow us to perform unilateral work, so it will be easier to correct possible decompensation.

Military press with bar

The military barbell press is one of the most classic exercises that can be seen in a gym and, in the modality that is performed standing, in addition to helping us to work the strength of our shoulders (mainly the frontal head) will require also a work of stabilization of our core , especially when we incorporate heavy loads to stabilize us, do not beat backwards and avoid injuries to our back .

The main work in this exercise is going to take the anterior deltoid and, to a lesser extent, the lateral portion. The posterior deltoid is just going to intervene in this exercise. For this reason it is very common to see that those who work a lot with the military press along with the bench press, present the shoulders “rotated” forward, since the anterior head pulls the shoulder anteriorizing its position. This is usually associated with a weak posterior deltoid and increased risk of injury.

Battle rope

The famous rope battle are often used to perform cardio in HIIT workouts , but at the same time is an element that, if we perform the routine correctly, we will require a great effort both arms and shoulders . We must not forget that these ropes because of its composition, usually have a certain weight, so we are not leaving to work with loads and, when trying to move as quickly as possible, we are conducting work force .

This exercise can be done either with one arm or with both or, if we prefer, alternating both arms.

Military press with dumbbells with supine grip

In the dumbbell press with supine grip , the palms of the hands will be facing towards us, and although the mechanics of the movement will be the same as in the classic military press with dumbbells, the work done will be more localized in the anterior head of the deltoid. In addition, it presents the advantage of any exercise performed with dumbbells: it allows unilateral work that will help us correct decompensation .

This is a more demanding exercise than the classic dumbbell military press, since it eliminates much of the work done by the lateral head of the deltoid and loads it in the anterior portion, so we will have to use smaller loads when we start to introduce it into our routine.

Press Z

The Z press is a magnificent exercise (and very little known inside the gyms) created by the Lithuanian strongman Zydrunas Savickas, also known as Big Z. Unlike the rest of the military presses, this exercise we will perform sitting on the floor and , if possible, without any support on our back (now we will explain this, and why it makes it such a complete exercise). For both beginners and those who already work with heavy loads, the recommendation is to use a rack on which we can drop the bar if we fail during a lift forces.

What makes this exercise as complete as indicated above is that by not having any support in our back, we are going to be forced to do an intense job with our core to stabilize the position and avoid alterations in it that can affect us. cause bad posture with the back and, therefore, an injury.

If you begin to include this exercise in your with little weight, after a short time you will be observing the results both in the strength and hardness of your shoulders and in the level of stability and strength in the core .

Press Arnold

Cataloged as one of the most complete exercises (not to say the most complete) that we can include in our routine to work our shoulders, this exercise receives its name as not, in honor of the great Arnold Schwarzenegger , who had it as one of his Basic exercises for this part of the body.

What makes it so complete is that, during the course of the dumbbells, practically all the portions of the shoulder are recruited , so that the work falls almost exclusively on the shoulder (while in the other exercises we can tend to compensate the weakness of the shoulder with activation of other adjacent muscles).

For this exercise I recommend not to start loading a lot of weight, because its mechanics, it is an exercise that with a moderate weight can leave the shoulder burning, and an excessive weight could cause us some injury.

Front lift with bar with supine grip

This exercise is a variant of the classic frontal elevations . If you look at the video, we have to place it in such a way that when we lower our arms, our hands just touch the edge of the scott bank and we automatically go back up. To include it in your routine, I recommend you start with low weights, since this exercise works exclusively on the anterior head of the shoulder and, as you can on my face, it will make you suffer (but it will also put your shoulders like two coconuts) .

Dumbbell side lifts

Another of the most classic exercises that you will see in a gym when it comes to shoulder training. In this exercise, there are different ways to do it depending on what is most comfortable for each one: there are those who do it with fully stretched arms, who bend slightly the elbows to relieve the tension caused by the weight and there are those who flexional. elbows at 90 degrees.

Be that as it may, the work is going to be located in the lateral portion of the deltoid mainly . For this exercise I suggest two points to consider: the first is that when climbing, the elbow (and the wrist) never exceed the horizontal shoulder(and if it stays slightly below better), since this way you will avoid a possible excessive compression of the supraspinatus tendon among others and minimize the risk of injury.


The birds is one of the exercises, along with the face pull , which will affect the posterior head of the shoulder , and as we said at the beginning of the article, this usually presents a deficit of tone and strength in most people , so including these two exercises in our routine is more than advisable.

Depending on how we like to work, we can do this exercise sitting on the edge of a bench leaning forward, standing tilted almost 90 degrees forward or, if we prefer to start with a less demanding variant, we can start making openings in pulleys (the movement and the mechanics are the same as if we did the classic exercise with dumbbells).

Pine flexes

Also called “inverted push-ups” , it is one of the most demanding exercises to work the strength of our shoulders, since it will require besides strength and a good muscular tone, a good condition of our core to stabilize us (whether or not we use a support like it can be a wall or a trellis). The basic mechanics of this exercise is the same as in the military press, except that this time we are in a position to do the pine and supported on the floor on our hands.

Face pull

As we said in the section on birds, this is another of the exercises that will allow us to work the back of our shoulders .

For those who have never done it, you can start with the most basic form that would be using elastic bands to adpatandoos the mechanics of movement and then move on to use the pulleys to continue working the posterior deltoid. Combining the face pull and the birds on a regular basis in our routine will make us have strong and healthy shoulders (if we work safely and do not do things we do not owe).

Slam ball

The slam ball is another exercise very similar to the battle rope that will allow us to do an intense job from the cardiovascular point of view while working the strength of our arms and shoulders . The mechanics of the exercise is very simple: it consists of taking a slam ball (similar to medical balls but of a more resistant and less rigid material) and throwing it on the ground, picking it up and throwing it again . And so for as long as we have stipulated in our routine (usually this exercise is included in routines type HIIT).

Bonus: what you should never do with your shoulders

And as we mentioned the eleven best exercises to include in your work routine to strengthen your shoulders, now comes the little bric-a-brac of the day, that is, what you should not do when working your shoulders if you do not want to suffer an injury .

We already said in the introductory paragraph that the shoulder is a very peculiar joint due to its influence on the movements of our day to day and, moreover, it is the most mobile articulation of our entire body . But it also has certain limitations that we must take into account if we do not want to injure ourselves . One of these limitations is the exercises “behind the neck”, which are those in which we work mainly with a bar and this passes behind our head (hence the name “behind the neck”).

The problem of this type of exercise is that they subject the shoulder to a very forced position of abduction plus an external rotation , with which the sleeves of the rollers suffer too much and, therefore, we are significantly increasing the risk of suffering a injury. And there will be someone who says: “because I have been doing them all my life and I have not been injured”. True, but there are also people who have been on the highway at 200 km / h and have not been killed. If we can reduce the risk of injuring ourselves, why should we “tempt fate”?