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Top 6 Shoulder Exercises for Mass

The shoulders have a dramatic impact on the silhouette of the body. Strong, broad shoulders are universally respected as a symbol of power and authority. If your chest and arms are gigantic and your shoulders are under developed and narrow, you are still going to look weak. A lot of women’s clothes have shoulder pads built into them, and some men’s clothes too, so achieving broad, sleek shoulders can be beneficial to both sexes.

Strong shoulders will help improve the form of other exercises involving the arms, such as bench presses and deadlifts. If you are a professional fighter, well-conditioned shoulder muscles will help you keep your stance together longer and avoid injury. A strong shoulder girdle, including the rotator cuff, will vastly improve the chances of avoiding weightlifting and other sports injuries.

Military Press

Often referred to as a standing overhead press, this is a monstrous training exercise that can add great size and definition to your shoulders. Many trainers consider it to be one of the mandatory exercises for all serious weightlifters, in league with the squat and bench press.

Ideally you would set up your bar on a rack of some kind, but if you are able to clean the weight from the floor, more power to you. Starting with the weight resting on your upper chest press the bar upwards, directly in front of your face to the point just before your elbows lock. While maintaining control, bring the weight back down to the chest. Do not use your legs at all during this exercise, or it will be a push press, which is still effective for building overall strength, but is a different exercise and utilizes leg drive as well.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This particular movement is among the best shoulder exercises because it carries the following benefits:

First, you must lift and control each dumbbell independently; thereby improving your control by stimulating more stabilizer muscles.

Second, dumbbells also make it more difficult to cheat because you can’t compensate for your weak side with your strong side.

Third and finally, you can target the outer deltoid head much more directly than you can with other barbell shoulder press movements.

And while it’s impossible to lift as much total weight as you can with the barbell presses, you can still press some pretty heavy-ass weights…

…In other words, this is still an effective for strength and muscle building exercise even though barbell movements let you lift heavier loads.

Hang Clean and Press

Possibly the best shoulder exercise ever invented. The hang clean is often compared to the high pull, or upright row, and if you can flow through with the momentum, you can press much more weight than you can from a dead stop. To set up, stand with your feet just outside of shoulder width apart and put both hands on your bar at just about the same place as your feet are on the ground. While holding your back flat and your chin up, deadlift the weight into the standing position with the weight against your thighs for the starting position.

From the starting position, you should lower the weight down to just above your knees, bending at both the knees and the waist. To perform the hang clean, you must extend your ankles, flex your knees and traps, and perform a ¾ upright row to bring the bar up in a straight line in front of your body until it reaches your shoulders. From here, rotate your elbows and arms under the weight, catching it in front of your shoulders with upward facing palms. Bending slightly at the knees can assist with the catch. Then lower the bar back down to your shoulders and then down the thighs to complete the rep.

Overhead Squat

This exercise can be awkward at first, but with some practice it can become second nature. Despite the name, this squat does very little for the legs. The weight used is often far less than what would be chosen for standard squat exercises. The main goal is to increase stability in the shoulder muscles and the surrounding tissues, creating better control and definition.

To accomplish this, begin by snatching your barbell into an overhead position. How you get it there is a matter of personal preference, but once there it is important to maintain the snatch position with your shoulder blades pinching together and the weight directly above your head and ankles. While holding the bar steady, do a squat. The bar may end up behind your head as you reach the bottom of the squat, but as long as you hold position utilizing outward force of the hands against the bar, you should be in good shape to stand back up and finish the rep.

Dumbbell One-Arm Shoulder Press

This is one shoulder exercise that you don’t see everyday. But that sure as heck doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. Indeed, it’s one of the best shoulder exercises.

This is a unilateral exercise, which means that you train each side separately. By training one arm at a time, you can quickly even out strength and size differences between the shoulder and upper arm muscles on your right-hand and left-hand sides.

Seated or Standing Military Press

Barbell pressing is extremely effective because it focuses on all three shoulder muscles, so you’re really building up your shoulders. Plus, you can push some serious weight without worrying about getting hurt. Some people prefer the seated military press position, because when you do the standing version of it, you need to focus on a lot of balance and stability in your lower back in order to perform it properly.

If you have a lot of lower back training already, from things like squats and deadlifts, you aren’t going to need any additional lower back training.Make sure you bring the weight all the way down to your chest in a slow, controlled way. You don’t want to stop at the 90-degree point – just keep your elbows right under the bar and fight the feeling to want to flare them out.