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Home Shoulder Workout | Best Shoulder Exercises To Do At Home

Home Shoulder Workout | Best Shoulder Exercises To Do At Home
Grant Koch
Writer and expert3 years ago
View Grant Koch's profile

If you’re trying to improve aesthetics, then well-developed shoulders are essential. Broad shoulders, combined with a wide back, help to give the illusion of a narrow waist. This is known as a V-taper look — something that most people aspire to.

The trouble for most of us is finding time to work out when we don’t always have time for the gym. So, what’s the solution? Developing your shoulders from the comfort of your own home. We’re going to look at the best shoulder exercises and workouts for you to do at home — so you’ve got no excuses. Let’s get started.


Shoulder muscles:

The shoulders are commonly referred to as your delts (deltoids) and consist of three primary muscles — the front (anterior head), the side (lateral head), and the rear (posterior head).

The shoulders work in two motions. The first motion is a push, which includes exercises such as push-ups, handstands, and bench or overhead presses. The second is when you lift something away from your body, that includes lifting in front, to the side of you, or even swinging your arms backwards. The direction of the movement determines which of the shoulder muscles are predominantly working.


Home Shoulder Workout | 7 Exercises to Build Huge Shoulders

We've teamed up with Ben Prentice to bring you the seven exercises you'll need to build bigger shoulders, all from the comfort of your own home.  For this home shoulder workout, you'll need some dumbbells and resistance bands.


Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises

There are many bodyweight exercises that will directly, and indirectly, target your shoulder muscles. Bodyweight exercises are perfect as they require very little equipment and can be completed from the comfort of your own home.

Any pressing movement like push-ups will target the shoulders, chest, and triceps. The angle of the exercise will determine which muscle is worked the most. To get your shoulder muscles working as hard as possible, you need to press vertically.



This is a staple of beginner- and advanced home workouts alike. Primarily working the chest and triceps, with a little bit in those shoulders as you get further through your reps.

  1. Start with your hands just outside your shoulders with your abs engaged (make sure you are not arching your lower back and dropping your hips)
  2. Lower your chest so your shoulders are in line with your elbows or slightly lower (remember it’s how low your chest goes, not your nose)
  3. Return to the starting position by pushing through the heel of your hand and actively thinking about squeezing your chest.

Decline Press-Ups

By raising your feet on a bench, table or chair, you can still work your shoulders, but with more ease. The higher the position of your feet, the harder your shoulder muscles will work.

  1. Get into a push-up position and raise your feet onto a table or chair.
  2. Keep your body and arms straight, palms on the floor, just wider than the shoulders.
  3. Slowly lower yourself down to the floor whilst keeping your feet elevated.
  4. Hold at the bottom for a second, then push back up. Repeat the sequence.
  5. Start with 3 sets of as many reps as possible. Try build up the number of repetitions each week.


By adding a rotational component, this exercise will help strengthen your shoulders, by constantly changing the point of contact on the ground.

  1. Start with your hands just outside your shoulders with your abs engaged (make sure you are not arching your lower back and dropping your hips)
  2. Lower your chest so your shoulders are in line with your elbows or slightly lower
  3. Think about the distance your chest travels, not your face. Resist the urge that we all seem to have, to move your head like a pigeon on each rep – you know what I’m talking about!
  4. Return to the starting position by pushing through the heel of your hand and actively thinking about squeezing your chest
  5. At the top, rotate your entire body to face the wall and simultaneously lift the arm on the same side as your rotation
  6. In this side plank position, allow your ankles to touch the floor (remember, full rotation)

Handstand Press-Ups

Okay, we know what you’re thinking — there’s no way I can do a handstand push-up. They might look intimidating, and near impossible, but you actually don’t need to have superhuman strength to do them.

Handstand push-ups are a skill that might take you a while to master. But, you’ll never know unless you try. So give them a go.

  1. Start by doing a handstand against a wall.
  2. Straighten your legs and rest your feet against the wall.
  3. Lower your head down to the floor by bending your elbows.
  4. Hold your position at the bottom for a second and then push back up until your arms straighten up.
  5. Rest at the top for a second and repeat.


Bear Crawl

This exercises will leave no muscle untrained with a special focus on your shoulders and abs.

  1. Start with your hands under your shoulders and your knees roughly 3 inches off the floor directly under your hips
  2. Move your left hand and right foot forward together, just a short distance, and then repeat for the opposite side
  3. With every forward or backwards step, you should be focused on fully engaging your abs to prevent your hips from twisting


Avoid this bodyweight shoulder exercise mistake

If you’re trying to put on mass we’d recommend you avoid doing too many circuits exercises, as they tend to have more of a conditioning effect. Rather than doing circuits, work on one specific exercise at a time with set reps in mind — focusing on maximal contraction to get the best effect for strength and growth. If you’re finding the exercise too easy, look for progression to make it harder and increase your muscle-building potential.


Dumbbell Shoulder Exercises

Dumbbells are some of the best tools that you can use to develop your shoulders. They can be kept at home without taking up too much space and are extremely versatile — with so many exercises you can perform. Unlike bodyweight exercises, dumbbells also encourage you to use different plains of movement. Bodyweight exercises often limit shoulder movement to simply pushing, whereas dumbbells enable a more comprehensive range of movements in all directions.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The dumbbell shoulder press exercise targets your shoulders while placing some emphasis on your triceps and upper back. This is one of the best exercises to add mass to your upper body as it involves a multitude of muscles working together. The more muscles that are involved the more weight can be lifted, which directly leads to muscle growth.

  1. Pick a suitable weight for your required number of reps. Raise each weight up and let the dumbbells sit on your shoulders (or just above them), with your palms facing forwards.
  2. Push the weight up above your head and, still above your head, touch the dumbbells together. Next, lower the weight back down until the dumbbells are sitting back on your shoulders.
  3. Make sure you do full repetitions — all of the way up and down. Repeat the steps for a suitable number of reps and sets.


Dumbbell Front Raise

The front raise strengthens primarily the shoulder (delts) but also works the upper chest muscles (pectorals). The dumbbell front raise should only be used in this part of your shoulder is lacking in size. The front of the shoulders will get worked a lot with pressing movements so be careful not to overtrain this part of your body.

  1. Stand tall while holding a set of dumbbells against your thighs, and with your palms facing you.
  2. Raise one dumbbell in front of you at a time, so that the dumbbell comes just above your shoulder line, parallel to the floor. Your arm should be almost straight, but your elbow soft, and your palms facing towards the floor. The opposite arm should be resting against your thigh.
  3. Hold the dumbbell at the top of the movement for a second and slowly lower it back down. Next, raise your other arm and repeat the sequence.

Dumbbell Side Raise

The dumbbell side raise works the lateral head of the shoulders. This is the muscle on the side of the shoulder that when fully developed gives that 3d look and adds width to your physique. The exercise works the shoulder by lifting a dumbbell away from the body.

  1. Stand tall and grab a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing inwards, next to your thighs.
  2. Lift your arms up to the side so that your knuckles are in line with your shoulders and your weights are parallel to the floor. Hold this position at the top for a second and slowly lower the weight back down to its starting position.
  3. Make sure you keep your core tight and avoid swinging your hips to shift the weight.

Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise

The bent-over dumbbell raise works the posterior or rear shoulder head. The posterior head is responsible for giving that fully developed rounded look to the shoulders and is often the most difficult to develop. This shoulder muscle is activated when lifting weight away from your body (shoulder abduction) but the body is bent over instead of being upright.


  1. Start by sitting down, leaning forward slightly and holding a dumbbell in either hand, so that they're resting above your feet.
  2. Stay bent forward as you raise your arms to the side, bringing the dumbbells level with your shoulders.
  3. Bring the weights back down and repeat.


Dumbbell Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulder shrugs will work your shoulders. But just because it's an isolated movement, that doesn't mean its benefits are isolated to just the traps.


  1. Start by holding your dumbbells with your hands down at your sides. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  2. Slowly shrug your shoulders up as far as possible.
  3. Pause, and then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.


Take Home Message:

You don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym membership to effectively work your shoulders. If you incorporate these exercise into your regular workout routine, you should start to see noticeable improvements within weeks.

Just remember to focus on optimal form, with a full range of motion, to ensure your shoulder muscles are worked and strengthened correctly. Once you are familiar with these exercises, start gradually increasing the number of reps to make the exercise harder.

Grant Koch
Writer and expert
View Grant Koch's profile

Grant is a sports nutritionist and certified strength coach. He has multiple postgraduate diplomas in nutrition and strength coaching as well as a Master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Nutrition, with a specific focus on protein. Grant has worked in the fitness industry for well over a decade and has helped coach professional athletes and sports teams, as well as the average gym-goer looking to get in the best shape possible. He now spends most of his working time teaching fitness professionals and coaching people remotely.

He’s a big believer in practising what he preaches and has been involved in resistance training and martial arts for over 20 years. In his spare time, Grant enjoys being with his wife and daughter as well as the family dogs and catching up on the latest Netflix series.

Find out more about Grant’s experience here and about his personal training here.