Shoulder Workouts to Build Mass

Broad, strong shoulders are impressive, but unlike a chiseled chest, bulging biceps and 6-pack abs, they are actually always visible even when fully dressed.

Use the following shoulder workouts in your weight training program:

Dumbbell Press

This is a great shoulder building exercise and can be done using both hands simultaneously or alternating from one side and then the other. Dumbbell presses are should be performed from a sitting position on a backless bench or stool. Using a chair temps you into leaning back which will shift a great deal of workout energy away from the shoulders and to the chest.


Keep your back straight with shoulders back and relaxed and contract your abs to give support to your core. Hold the dumbbells out to your side with the top portions of your arms straight out and elbows even with your shoulders and your forearm held up to form a 90° angle. Your palms should be facing away from you. Either slowly lift both arms up and over your head until elbows are just slight bent, or lift one arm up and then the other.

Front Press

The front press will build shoulder strength as well as work out your pecs. You can perform front presses from either a seated position (seated front press) or from an inclined position (inclined front press).


Hold dumbbells in front of you with your elbows tucked into your sides and your shoulders held back and relaxed. Contract your abs, hold the weight steady and push it up until arms are extended with only a slight bend at the elbows. Hold for a moment and then slowly lower the dumbbells back down until your elbows are in the starting position. Repeat.

Front Raise

This strength workout builds the shoulders as well as arms and chest. Front raises can be accomplished from either a seated or standing position. However, if done standing, don’t use your legs to assist with the lift.


Relax your shoulders into a down and back position with arms straight down at your sides and holding the dumbbells. Slowly lift the weights up and out in front of you until your arms are parallel with the ground. Slowly lower to the starting position and repeat.

Side Raise

Side raises can be performed either with straight arms or bent arms and both will significantly increase shoulder strength and size although using bent arms will add extra stress on the elbow joints.

Straight Arm Execution:

Hold the arms down to the sides with hands clutching dumbbells, thumbs pointed out and shoulders relaxed and back. Contract your abdominals and slowly raise the weights up until your arms are in the flying position at your sides, both arms and shoulders forming a straight plane. Slowly lower back down and repeat.

Bent Arm Execution:

Start by holding your arms down at your sides with your forearms bent at a 90° angle and clutching the dumbbells out in front of you and with thumbs up. Contract your abs and slowly raise your arms up and out to your sides while maintaining the 90° angle. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

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