5 Best Exercises for Shoulders


I believe that proper exercise selection is very important to help one achieve their goals.  If you are going to be busting your butt in the gym you want to spend your time on something that will actually give you the results you are after.  To that end I have compiled the 5 best exercises for the muscle group you want to work.  But, it is important to know what specific goal you have.  Are you trying to get stronger, get bigger, or build muscular endurance?  To help you out I am going to list my top 5 exercises for shoulders in each one of those categories.


Shoulders Strength Shoulders Size Shoulders Endurance
Push Press Smith Mx Mil Press Handstand Push-up
Barbell Military Press Power DB Lat Raise Barbell Military Press
DB Military Press Leaning DB Lat Raise DB Military Press
Power DB Lateral Raise Power DB Rear Delt Raise DB Lateral Raise
Leaning Lateral Raise Rear Delt Machine DB Rear Delt Raise


Remember, there are important training guidelines to follow for each goal:

  • Strength: For most sets use a heavier weight, use lower reps (1-6), and take long rests in between each work set (2+ minutes). Be sure to incorporate progressive overload in your workouts.
  • Size: For most sets use a moderate weight, use medium reps (6-12), take shorter rests in between each work set (1-2 minutes), and use a high volume of training (8-20 tough sets for the target area). Be sure to eat enough to facilitate growth.
  • Endurance: For most sets use a lower weight, use higher reps (12+, often in the 20 range), and take shorter breaks particularly if training for multiple set endurance. Be sure to keep your cardio high enough and your bodyweight low enough to handle the demands of this style of training.
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20 thoughts on “5 Best Exercises for Shoulders

    1. Tim Henriques

      A push press is an explosive power based movement where you use your legs to help initiate the drive. A barbell military press (same as a shoulder or overhead press) does not involve any leg drive.

  1. Olivia Smith

    Thank you for these exercises!
    I’d not been seeing results from past 2 months, and noticed that it wasn’t because of the nutrition, but because my rep choice wasn’t right. I was trying to do 4-5 heavy reps in each set, which did help me improve strength, but not in hypertrophy. I changed it to 8-12 and the came out of the plateau instantly!

  2. Giftsnroses

    In times of this pandemic we are all at home and this post is just in time for me. Looking to learn some exercises to do at home and some great ideas are provided here. Thanks for sharing, keep it coming.

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