The shoulder is one of the most abused parts of your body. It’s the most moveable and has the widest range of motion. That being said, it’s also vulnerable to injury. For your shoulders to remain stable, you must keep the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in place. How? You can start by doing shoulder exercises at home!
With the many activities that you do daily involving your shoulders, it’s only fitting that you keep them strong. They must be able to handle all levels of stress well. If you’re an athlete, there’s no excuse not to train your shoulders.
Here are some of the most effective shoulder exercises that you can do right at your home:
#1 – Bow And Arrow
To do the bow and arrow exercise, assume a side-lying position. You must lie on the bed or floor on the side that won’t be involved in the exercise. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Slide your involved hand forward until you feel a mild stretch. Reverse the direction as though you’re pulling back a bow back. Pause and reverse direction as though you’re letting the arrow fly.
Your elbow must touch the bed’s surface behind you. The goal is 10 repetitions in two sets per day.
See how the Bow and Arrow exercise is done in this video here.
#2 – Grasp
To do the grasp exercise, stand and clasp your hands behind your back. Stretch by sliding your hands on the forearms until you reach a comfortable tightness. Your shoulder blades must be pulled back and down. Doing so will intensify your stretch, but not too much that it may strain your triceps. Hold that position for 60 seconds.
Repeat this shoulder exercise until you see progress. How do you know you’re progressing? You’re progressing if you can now slide your hands towards the opposite elbows without much of a strain. Grasp is one of the best shoulder stretches. Ideally, try to do two sets of grasp per day.
#3 – Scapula Plank Push-Up
Get into your regular plank position. Move the chest away from the floor by pressing up through your shoulder blades. Your next move is to lower your chest to the floor in a controlled manner. This exercise improves your scapula’s stability. While doing this exercise, try to resist arching your back. Arching will defeat the purpose of this shoulder exercise.
A scapula plank push-up is an excellent serratus anterior exercise. If you wish to have “wings”, then this is your beginner shoulder training exercise.
See how the Scapula Plank Push-Up exercise is done in this video here.
#4 – Shoulder Scaption
Begin by standing with your arms at your sides. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and thumbs should be facing outwards. Now, raise your arm to shoulder level as though your arms are forming a “Y position”, and then lower your back slowly to your starting position. Repeat the exercise. You can also add weights for a stronger workout.
Scaption is a movement that effectively engages your rhomboids and scapula. This shoulder exercise will make lateral exercises easier for you as it strengthens the muscles and parts involved in doing lateral workouts. Your middle back also becomes stronger as you develop strength with this exercise.
See how the Shoulder Scaption exercise is done in this video here.
#5 – Internal Shoulder Rotation
This exercise works your rotator cuff muscles. Begin with a side-lying position on a bench. You can use either a dumbbell or a resistance band for this exercise, but for instruction purposes, we’ll use the dumbbell. Now, hold the dumbbell in one hand. Position your elbow on the edge of the bench.
Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Your palm must be facing inward towards your abdomen. Pull the dumbbell up to your other shoulder and return to the starting position slowly. It’s important that you maintain the 90-degree angle bend of your elbows and its position on the edge.
See how the Internal Shoulder Rotation exercise is done in this video here.
#6 – External Shoulder Rotation
As with internal rotation, external shoulder rotation requires you to place your elbow on the edge of the bench. Assume a side-lying position and bend your knees. Hold a dumbbell in your upper hand. Now, bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle while keeping your upper arm supported on your side.
This shoulder exercise strengthens your rotator cuff muscles that help stabilize your shoulder joints. Pull your lower arm and lift the dumbbell up until it’s at your top side’s level. Return to starting position slowly.
See how the External Shoulder Rotation exercise is done in this video here.
#7 – Face Pull
A Face Pull exercise lets you balance your workouts, what with all the vertical and horizontal presses you do each week. Face pull exercises help prevent injuries. This shoulder exercise is highly effective, and it works for different muscle groups. When you do face pull, you work these following muscles: Deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, trapezius, and the rhomboids.
Face pulls are a great addition to your strength training. It’s an underrated workout that most gym-goers skip, but they’re actually a multi-function exercise that’s great for improving your posture and your shoulder health. You just need to substitute cables with dumbbells for your home workout.
See how the Face Pull exercise is done in this video here.
#8 – Arnold Press
You can do the Arnold Press exercise in two ways – the Supinated grip or Pronated grip. A supinated grip means your palms are facing out. You lift the dumbbells, and they can rest on your shoulders before you press upward. A pronated grip, on the other hand, positions your hands facing away from you.
With the Arnold Press, you start by standing with two dumbbells in front of your shoulders. Your palms are facing your body, and your elbows are under your wrists. Bring your elbows out to your sides. Press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are straight. Now, lower the dumbbells to the front of your shoulders in an opposite pattern.
Repeat the exercise. Ideally, you’d want to do four sets of 8 repetitions. See how the Arnold Press exercise is done in this video here.
#9 – Handstand Push-Up
If you’re a beginner, you can start by leaning against a wall to practice your handstand. Otherwise, do a proper Handstand Push-Up by going from a handstand to a headstand position, and back up again to handstand. It’s an advanced exercise, clearly, but one that yields maximum results not just for your shoulders, but to your overall physique.
You can do several progressions, but for a home workout and to strengthen your deltoid muscles, the basic yet proper Handstand Push-Up should be enough; for now, at least. Do 2-5 sets of 20-second movements, with 2-minute rest periods in between sets.
See how the Handstand Push-Up exercise is done in this video here.
#10 – Pike Push-Up
Get into a push-up position on the floor. Keep your arms straight, and hands must be shoulder-width apart. Slowly lift your hips so your body forms a letter V. Try to keep your limbs as straight as possible. Now for a push-up, bend your elbows and lower your upper body to the floor until your head is almost touching the surface.
In Pike Push-Ups, you’re going to move your arms so that they assume the vertical pressing position. Your weight will be placed on your legs for easier execution than the handstand push-up.
Pause for a second or two, and then push yourself back up. See how a Pike Push-Up exercise is done in this video here.
#11 – Dumbbell Upright Row
A dumbbell upright row is a shoulder exercise where each hand holds a barbell with an overhand grip. You’ll hold the barbells in front of your thighs. Your abs are drawn in and your back is straight. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. From your thighs, raise the dumbbells slowly towards your shoulders
How do you do this? You do it by bending your elbows. Now, hold that raise up and rotate your shoulder blades together. Always handle the dumbbells with controlled motion. Place the weights down to your thighs.
This shoulder exercise isn’t recommended for people with wrist pain. See how the Dumbbell Upright Row exercise is done in this video here.
You don’t always have to be at the gym to be able to work your shoulders. No access to a gym is a tired excuse used by people who aren’t that serious in their shoulder training. With just your body weight or a pair of dumbbells, or both, you can work out from home!
What are your favorite home workouts targeting the shoulders? How long have you been doing them? It’s always fun to learn something new! Let’s share stories in the comments and win a new workout tip! Please don’t forget to share the article if you liked it!
My name is Paul. I’m a fitness enthusiast and have an unending passion for what I do. My many years of schooling has brought me to where I am now, and I couldn’t be happier. My choice of lifestyle has improved everything in my life and helped me become healthier than I have ever been.