Is it time to get those boulder shoulders? Well, it’s time to learn how to use dumbbells for shoulders then.
Growing your shoulders is easier said than done. For loads of people, it’s one of the more challenging body parts to work out and it can be quite time-consuming too. This is why more and more people start ignoring their shoulders.
It’s important to give your shoulders enough time in the gym to grow. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with weak shoulders that ruin your physique.
Plus, having strong shoulders is important when it comes to lifting heavier!
Here’s a detailed look at the best dumbbell exercises for your shoulders and what to consider before starting.
Best Dumbbell Exercises for the Shoulders
1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
It’s always best to start with a compound movement (i.e. exercises that target multiple muscles at the same time).
In this case, you’re looking at the dumbbell shoulder press.
With the dumbbell shoulder press, it’s smart to sit down on a bench as a beginner. This allows you to have more control while pushing the weight up. However, you’re more than welcome to do this standing as well.
For this example, we’ll focus on the seated version as you focus on how to use dumbbells for shoulders.
With the seated dumbbell raise, it’s important to keep your back flat against the seat. It’s only way to make sure this doesn’t turn into an incline dumbbell press!
Once you’re in the right position, lift the weights and hold them by your shoulders with the fists facing up. You’re going to push the weight from this position until your arms are fully stretched. After the arms are stretched, you can bring the weights back down to the starting position.
This is one repetition.
You should look to complete at least 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions. Choose a weight that allows you to do this.
2. Lateral Shoulder Raise
While the compound movement is essential, the shoulder is a complex part of your body and deserves more attention.
This is why you have to hit it from different angles.
The lateral shoulder raise is one of staple shoulder exercises on the planet. It works wonders and is used by beginners, intermediates, and experts worldwide.
With this movement, you can once against do it seated or standing up. In our example, we will focus on the seated variation for beginners as you focus on how to use dumbbells for shoulders.
With the seated lateral shoulder raise, you want to sit on the seat without resting your back against it. This means you slide forward and sit on the edge of the seat while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
From this position, you are going to raise the dumbbells straight to the side as if you were a bird getting ready to fly. The tension is going to increase as you continue to raise the dumbbells. Make sure to stop as soon as your arms are parallel with the ground.
From here, you can return the dumbbells back to the starting position.
This is one repetition.
We recommend completing 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
3. Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
One of the more ignored parts of your body would be the rear delts.
The average person tends to work out the front and sides of their shoulders while ignoring the rear head. Yes, there is muscle on the back even if it’s not visible at first. If you want well-rounded shoulders, it’s important to work out the rear delts during your workout routine.
To do this, it’s okay to go with a single movement like the bent-over rear delt raise.
It’s an exceptional movement where you’re going to bend over (seated or standing) and look to raise the dumbbells out and back.
Just like the lateral shoulder raise, you will stretch the hands to the side but this time the movement is going to move towards your back. It’s as if you were pinching your shoulder blades together.
It’s a fascinating movement and one of the best when it comes to growing your rear delts!
We recommend taking the time to build a proper “mind-muscle” connection while doing this exercise. Otherwise, you may end up turning it into a traditional back exercise with lighter weights. This is an incredible exercise as you learn how to use dumbbells for shoulders.
To get the most out of this movement, complete 3 sets for 8-10 repetitions.
4. Front Raise
The final exercise in your workout routine would have to be the front raise.
While this head often gets the most work (bench press, pushups), it’s still important to give it additional work from time to time. For this, we recommend something as simple as the front raise.
It gets the job done and will get those shoulders popping.
The front raise is similar to the lateral raise but has the dumbbells going out in front of your body.
It’s similar to a shoulder marching through the streets. The arm swings out in a straight line before being brought back down.
Make sure to go with a weight that’s competitive because this is the strongest part of your shoulder.
For good results, complete 3 sets of 8-10 repetition.
Tips for Getting Bigger Shoulders
1. Emphasize the Form
Having the right list of dumbbell exercises is great but it’s important to think about your technique.
The shoulders are delicate and have multiple moving parts. This means you have to be careful while working out and can’t just push through the bad form. One slip and you’re going to have a damaged shoulder or rotator cuff.
Strict form is a good starting point and helps simplify your workout routine.
You want to start with lighter weights and strict form before moving forward. This allows you to learn the movement and build that mind-muscle connection without getting hurt.
2. Hit All Parts of the Shoulder
The average person assumes the shoulder is one muscle. This is untrue as it has three distinct heads that need to be worked out. If you ignore one, you are ignoring 33.3% of your shoulder.
Think about hitting all parts with 1-2 movements as you learn how to use dumbbells for shoulders.
This is why it’s nice to start with a compound movement (dumbbell shoulder press) and then look to play around with options such as lateral raises, front raises, and rear-delt raises.
By doing this, your shoulders are going to look like a million bucks!
3. Maximize Compound Movements
Compound movements are your best friend.
With dumbbells, you want to go with the dumbbell shoulder press as your main movement. Always put this movement at the start of your workout. It’s going to require the heaviest weight and will tax you the most physically.
By getting this out of the way when you’re fresh, it’s easier to enjoy the rest of the workout.
Compound movements offer amazing results and encourage hypertrophy.
You want to start with this movement and use it as leverage while building your boulder shoulders.
4. Stay Patient
This may seem like straightforward advice but it isn’t.
You have to stay patient when it comes to growing your shoulders. It’s easy to get disenchanted when the shoulders continue to lag behind while the rest of your body explodes forward.
This is why it’s important to focus on good form.
There is going to be a point when your shoulders do catch up and your gains are evident.
Our Recommendation: Bowflex SelectTech 552
For those looking to make the most of their dumbbell shoulder workouts, our team highly recommends investing in the Bowflex SelectTech 552. These are world-class adjustable dumbbells with a wonderful set of features.
Key features include:
- State-of-the-art Adjustable Dial
- Weights from 5 lbs. to 52 lbs.
- Textured Grip
- 2-Year Warranty
These adjustable dumbbells will make a noticeable difference in your shoulder workouts!
This is how to use dumbbells for shoulders.
Build a world-class exercise program, invest time in learning the technique, and then power through as the results pour in.
It’s not going to happen overnight but it’s well worth the investment!