The 5 Best Shoulder Exercises for Building Mass & Strength
best shoulder exercises: overhead press

The 5 Best Shoulder Exercises for Building Mass & Strength

Discover the best shoulder exercises for building bulging deltoids that’ll make everyone and their grandma jealous! On this page, I’ll show you the top 5 exercises for shoulder training.

As an overview, I’ll list out my top picks for the best shoulder exercises:

1.  Overhead Press
2.  Hang Clean and Press
3.  Push Press
4.  Dumbbell Shoulder Press
5.  Dumbbell One-Arm Press

For the remainder of this article, I’ll be discussing the how-to and benefits of each of the above movements.

1. Barbell Overhead Press

How to Overhead Press:

Start by putting the barbell on a squat rack or power rack. Place the bar on the rack pins, so that it’s at about chest-height. Reach forward and grab the bar with slightly wider-than-shoulder width overhand grip.

Get close to the bar so that it’s barely touching your upper chest. Raise it off the pins and step back so that you have sufficient clearance.

Press up, lean your torso backward as the weight passes your head. Then sway your torso forward once the bar has passed your head. Keep extending your arms directly up, until your elbows are locked.

Lower the weight in a controlled fashion to your upper chest. Repeat.

Dumbbell One-Arm Shoulder Press Benefits:

This is one shoulder exercise that you don’t see everyday. But that sure as heck doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. Indeed, it’s one of the best shoulder exercises.

This is a unilateral exercise, which means that you train each side separately. By training one arm at a time, you can quickly even out strength and size differences between the shoulder and upper arm muscles on your right-hand and left-hand sides.

The other major benefit of the dumbbell one-arm shoulder press is that it improves your balance. As a matter of fact, it forces you to improve your balance, since you would simply topple over if you didn’t utilize your core and lower body muscles to stabilize yourself.

Here’s a surefire way to test if this movement is worthwhile for your routine: Try it. If it’s a lot more difficult to perform with one arm than with the other, then it’s right for you! Because it shows that you have significant strength imbalance.

About the Author Alex

Hey! My name is Alex, and I'm the owner and author of King of the Gym. I started this website back in late 2009 during college, and it has been my pet project ever since. My goal is to help you learn proper weight training and nutrition principles so that you can get strong and build the physique of your dreams!

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Leave a Comment:

Matt says February 5, 2016

The guy in the One-Arm Shoulder Press video does not have good form. He’s using too much momentum, and he’s not in control of the weight.

    Alex says February 9, 2016

    Hi, Matt. Thanks for the feedback. It’s funny you mention that, because I was randomly reading over this page just a couple days ago, saw the same video and thought the same thing. It was probably the best video of that exercise I could find when I originally wrote this article back in 2012…

    …Whatever the case, I changed it to a better video (see above). FYI, anyone reading this can see the original video here.

    All that said, if I was writing this article over again, I may not even include the standing one-arm shoulder press in this list of the top 5 shoulder exercises.

    I’d have to include some kind of lateral deltoid isolation movement (i.e. some type of lateral raise variation) as well as a posterior deltoid isolation movement (i.e. maybe rear delt raises or face pulls with external rotation).

Josh says May 17, 2016

Hey bro I love the lifts you chose, how do you incorporate them though? Do you do them all in one shoulder day or do you do once main heavy lift and then do isolated lifts like raises and stuff?

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