Dumbbell Shoulder Workout

By Ehren Allen, DPT, COMT

Which Exercise is Best for the Shoulder?

This article will describe the best dumbbell shoulder workout by JOI Rehab Clinicians.  Sculpting the shoulders is something you can do from home or in the gym.  At home, all you need is some dumbbells.  The shoulder is actually a joint group that moves to allow you to lift and move your arms.  Strengthening the shoulders with dumbbells is a great way to work all of the components of the shoulder.

image of woman doing shoulder workout with dumbbells on beach

Dumbbell shoulder workout on the beach

Dumbbell Shoulder Workout 

Sculpting the shoulders is something you can do from home or in the gym.  At home, all you need is some dumbbells.  The shoulder is actually a joint group that moves to allow you to lift and move your arms.  Strengthening the shoulders with dumbbells is a great way to work all of the components of the shoulder.  Some of the best exercises for a dumbbell shoulder workout are:

  • Front Raises
  • Lateral Raises
  • Side-lying External Rotation
  • Horizontal Abduction
  • Dumbbell Rows
  • Biceps Curls
Dumbbell shoulder workout

Bicep Curl With Weight

  • Triceps Extensions
  • Overhead Presses
  • Dumbbell Extensions

What Exercises are Bad for Shoulders?

Exercises that compress the rotator cuff muscles are not recommended for the shoulder. Using improper technique with shoulder exercise can be harmful to the shoulder, and the shoulder is avoided or adjusted.  Some examples of bad shoulder exercises include:

  • Lat pulldown exercises behind the neck can be compromising to the shoulder and the neck. It is best to pull the bar to the chest, in front of the body.
  • Military barbell press overhead behind the neck can also expose the shoulder and neck to problems. Bring the bar in front of the body.

To learn more about Bad Shoulder Exercises, Read this article on The 5 Worst Shoulder Exercises, 5 Best Rotator Cuff Exercises, Types of Shoulder Surgery, Rotator Cuff Repair, and Rotator Cuff Tears.

How Do I Build Muscles on My Shoulder?

In general, strength training is the key to better shoulder definition. Dumbbells are a great tool to use at home or in the gym. Choose a weight that allows you to perform the exercise properly for 8 to 12 repetitions.  It is also important to make sure the muscles around the shoulder blades are strong.  This can help place the shoulder in a better postural position and improve the mechanics of the shoulder.  It also may give the appearance of better muscle development.

At JOI Rehab, we recommend the following dumbbell exercises for your shoulder health.

Shoulder Workout with Dumbbells

Perform these exercises with 10 repetitions and try to do 2 to 3 sets.

Forward Raises

woman performing Dumbbell Shoulder Workout

Forward raises with dumbbells

Lateral Raises

woman performing Dumbbell Shoulder Workout

Lateral Raises with dumbbells

Side-lying External Rotation

Side-lying external rotation with dumbbells

Side-lying external rotation with dumbbells

Horizontal Abduction

Horizontal abduction exercise

Horizontal abduction

Dumbbell Rows

woman performing Dumbbell Shoulder Workout

Standing Row Exercise

Dumbbell Extensions

Prone Extension exercise

Prone Extension

Biceps Curls

biceps curls with dumbbells

biceps curls with dumbbells

Triceps Curls

triceps with dumbbells

triceps with dumbbells

Dumbbell Overhead Press

overhead press with dumbbells

overhead press with dumbbells

What if I Have Pain With The Dumbbell Shoulder Workout?

These are basic dumbbell exercises to increase strength and stability in the shoulder muscles. If you have pain or irritation with any of these exercises, attempt lowering the weight. It may be worth seeing a physician and getting a referral to physical therapy to develop a safe and effective exercise program for the shoulders if the pain does not go away. To learn more, go to the best shoulder workouts reduce injury or the 3 top shoulder exercises

If you would like to make an appointment with JOI, call 904-JOI-2000. For physical therapy appointments, please call 904-858-7045, or click below for MD appointments.

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Ehren Allen, DPT, COMT is a content writer for JOI.

Ehren Allen, DPT, COMT – Medical Content Writer


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