7 Best Shoulder Exercises You’re Not Doing

7 Best Shoulder Exercises You’re Not Doing

So you want to know what the best shoulder exercises you are not doing are?

Shoulders are a difficult muscle to exercise. They get beat up so much on chest and back day that isolating them can seem redundant.

To make matters worse, our deltoids tend to have more stamina than other muscles as a result of all the stress they get – that means it’s’ hard to tell if an exercise is working well or not.

Typically most bodybuilders opt for a shoulder routine comprised of overhead press followed by some single-joint exercises for the side and rear deltoids.

While this might be effective for some time, you will need to mix things up and throw some different exercises at your deltoids if you want to shock them into growing more.

In fact, many studies show that changing exercises is absolutely crucial to long-term strength gains.

That means if you are performing the same old shoulder exercises day in and day out you can expect your progress to be sub-par.

So let’s begin here are the 7 best shoulder exercises you’re not doing.

7 Best Shoulder Exercises You’re Not Doing

7 Best Shoulder Exercises You’re Not Doing


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Kettlebell Shoulder-to-Shoulder Press

This exercise helps focus on the front and side deltoids. To perform this exercise hold the kettlebell over one shoulder and press it upwards.

When you bring it down, bring it to the other side and repeat.

You are essentially performing a shoulder press except you are going from side to side and using a kettlebell. To help you visualize the exercise picture yourself taking the kettlebell in a triangle movement.

The stress is alternated from one side to another between reps. If you don’t have any kettlebells available you can also perform this exercise with a dumbbell.

This exercise works the shoulder in a different way from the shoulder press since the shoulders are coming a bit more forward rather than outward to your sides.

It also provides some of the benefit of unilateral training given that you are lifting one side at a time. This will help expose any imbalance you have from the strength of one shoulder to the other.

Make sure you perform an even number of reps so you can balance out the amount of work that goes to each shoulder.

Aim for about 14 total reps – if you are able to do more than that you should look at increasing the weight.

Also, perform this exercise after your heavy presses like shoulder press and military press. It’s hard to overload your muscles with this exercise since lifting a 200 pound kettlebell over your head would be difficult (if you could even find one).

However, it’s a great exercise for later in the workout to finish the muscles off.

Single-Arm Landmine Press

To perform this exercise, attach a barbell to a rotational device that is fixed to the ground, also called a landmine.

Bend your knees a bit to help with balance, grab the barbell with one arm and press it overhead and forward until your arm is fully extended.

Do all the reps for one side then switch to the other side. This exercise tends to emphasize the front and side deltoids.

Many people prefer this to the overhead press as the traditional presses can cause pain in the shoulder joints.

The angle of this exercise also allows the shoulder to follow a more natural movement pattern making it a better exercise for people with shoulder issues.

Also, because you are pressing with one side at a time your body is off-balance which recruits your core muscles to keep your body balanced.

Landmine Shoulder to Shoulder Press

This exercise is similar to the kettlebell shoulder to shoulder press except you will be using the landmine barbell.

Since the landmine is fixed you will be able to add more weight and many people find it easier to grip the barbell compared with the kettlebell.

Remember that each side is being worked unilaterally here so you will need to perform an even number of reps.

Many people who commonly experience shoulder pain find that this exercise takes a lot of the strain off. The reason these are more effective is because you are moving the weight at an angle rather than lifting it straight above your head.

If you are performing this exercise in addition to shoulder presses than you should do it later. However, if you are performing this exercise as a substitute for shoulder press then feel free to do it at the beginning of your workout.

7 Best Shoulder Exercises You’re Not Doing

High Incline Shoulder Press

This exercise is great after your main heavy presses like military press or dumbbell press. It works the rear delts primarily and should be performed for 8-12 reps.

To do it, simply set up a bench to maximum incline and sit facing the seat. Press the weight upwards as if you are performing a shoulder press.

What you will find is that your rear delts and traps get a lot of work, making it a great balancing exercise after performing shoulder press which is generally more front and side-delt focused.

Leaning Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Grab a fixed, stable object with one hand and pick up a dumbbell with the other. Lean outwards with your feet together and your arm fully extended.

Then, raise the dumbbell upward as if you were performing a dumbbell side raise.

Given that this is a multi-joint exercise it should be performed at the end of your workout, after the heavier lifts, for 8-12 reps per set. This exercise tends to isolate the side deltoid and allows for a much larger range of motion than a traditional lateral dumbbell raise.

Single-Arm Cable Kick-Back

People tend to associate kick-backs as a tricep exercise, however that’s only the case if you are bending your elbow.

If you keep your arm straight you can actually transfer most of the work to the rear deltoid. Simply grab a pulley and bend over, pulling it backwards while keeping your arm straight. Keep your form strict and don’t start twisting your body just to get the weight to go back further – that will only take the stress off the shoulders.

This is a great finisher exercise as it doesn’t take much weight to work the rear deltoid hard.

Bent-Over Dumbbell Fly

A lot of people perform bent-over dumbbell flys with cables. However, research shows that doing them this way forces you to use a neutral grip which is not ideal for rear delt isolation.

Instead, use a pair of dumbbells with offset grip (palms facing each other) for optimal rear deltoid work.

Again make sure you use good form here and don’t just swing the weight up as that will take the pressure off the deltoids. This exercise can be performed at the end of your back workout as a finisher for the rear deltoids.

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Chances are that you have not been performing the 7 best shoulder exercises that most people are not doing.

They can be done with equipment found in just about every gym out there, yet most people ignore them for the staple seated shoulder press along with side and lateral raises.

The exercises above, however, are great compliments or even replacements for shoulder isolation exercises that you are currently doing.

They will throw a new look at your shoulders that they aren’t used to, forcing them to grow so they can handle the stress going forward.

Remember that you always want to perform the heavier, compound exercises first. These are the real mass builders with the isolation exercises meant as follow-ups to finish off the muscle.

If you are relying on dumbbell raises to build boulder-shoulders you will find yourself disappointed before long.

Finally, feel free to mix it up and see what works for you. Some people will have a lot of success with these exercises while others will find them unnatural and ineffective.

Having said that, once you do find an exercise that is effective for you don’t be afraid to swap it for something else after awhile.

It might be effective for you at first but over time that might change as your body adapts to it.

So there you have it these are the best shoulder exercises you’re not doing.

Finally, make sure you are constantly adding weight to these exercises. You need to be progressively overloading the muscles otherwise you won’t make any progress no matter what kind of routine you are doing.

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