The most important shoulder muscles in the upper arm are the deltoid muscles and the four rotator cuff muscles:
Teres minor muscles
While these muscles are relatively small muscles compared to some of the bigger muscles in the upper body (like the chest, back and biceps); it’s important to strength train the these shoulder muscles.
Especially if you want to avoid a rotator cuff injury.
Benefits of Shoulder Exercises For Women
Prevent shoulder injuries. Shoulder injuries are some of the most common injuries doctors see in regular gym-goers (NBC). Strengthening the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint provides more stability, and can reduce risk of injury.
Train multiple upper body muscles. Several of the exercises that engage the shoulder muscles also work the other muscles in your arms — such as your biceps, triceps, and back muscles.
Aesthetics of toned arms. While strength training the shoulder muscles has more benefits than the aesthetics of toned arms, it’s a nice added benefit.
These 10 shoulder exercises for women are designed to target the shoulder muscles from multiple angles to create definition and tone the arms.
The 10 Best Shoulder Exercises For Women
The best shoulder exercises in three different workout formats. You can choose the workout format that best supports your fitness goals.
This upper body workout includes both dumbbell shoulder exercises and bodyweight exercises.
Medium set of dumbbells.
I recommend anything from 5 – 25 lb dumbbells.
Note, if you don’t have dumbbells available to you, you can always use filled water bottles or laundry detergent jugs.
Instructions — select one of the workout formats below:
20-Minute AMRAP Shoulder Workout — AMRAP or ‘as many rounds as possible’ workout. Set a timer for 20-minutes. Complete 10 repetitions of each shoulder exercise. Repeat as many rounds as possible, or AMRAP, in 20-minutes; taking breaks as needed.
10-Minute EMOM Shoulder Workout — EMOM or an ‘every minute on the minute’ workout. Set a timer for 10 minutes. At the start of the first minute complete 12 repetitions of the first shoulder exercise. Then rest for the remaining time left in the minute. At the start of the second minute complete 12 repetitions of the second shoulder exercise. Then rest for the remaining time left in the second minute. Repeat this format for all 10 minutes. Option to repeat for a 20-minute shoulder workout.
Make it a Shoulder Burnout Workout that you add onto the end of your upper body workout — Complete 15-20 repetitions of each shoulder exercise one time through. This will ‘burnout’ or fatigue the shoulder muscle at the end of your arm workout. Burnout workouts are great for building muscle. Pushing the muscle to fatigue allows it to grow! I suggest doing this 10-Minute Upper Body Workout, then finish with this burnout shoulder workout.
The 10 Best Shoulder Exercises (see video demo of each exercise below):
Alternating Overhead Shoulder Press
Neutral Grip Shoulder Press
L-Fly Lateral Raise
Shoulder Front Raise
Shoulder Lateral Raise
Inverted Push Up or Pike Push Up
Plank Wall Press
Dumbbell Shoulder Exercise #1: Arnold Press
How To Do An Arnold Press:
Hold both dumbbells with an underhand grip (palms facing you), elbows at shoulder-height in front of your body and dumbbells at about eye level.
Engaging your core and maintaining a slight bend in your knees to protect your low back, rotate your palms away from your body as you press the dumbbells overhead.
Reverse the motion, rotating your wrists inward (ending with palms facing you) as you lower down to starting position. Aim to keep your elbows at shoulder height rather than letting them drop down.
Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows wide and arms bent at 90 degrees, palms facing forward (away from you). Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders, rather than letting them drop down.
One side at a time, press the dumbbell overhead until the arm is fully extended.
With control, lower the dumbbell back to starting position (in line with shoulder). Repeat on other side.