6 best shoulder exercises to improve posture and reduce injury risk

Whether you want to increase your arms' size or strength or mobility, you must include these shoulder exercises in your routine. Get well-sculpted shoulders with this routine.
Best shoulder exercises
Do these shoulder exercises to make your upper body stronger. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Arushi Bidhuri Updated: 14 Nov 2023, 11:42 am IST
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Strength training is an important part of maintaining fitness, and working your shoulders is an integral part of that training. With so many exercises out there, if you’re confused about which shoulder exercises are best for you, we have you covered! From strengthening your upper body to improving functionality to elevating your fitness routine, let’s take a look at some of the best shoulder exercises and why you should do them.

Health Shots got in touch with fitness expert Yash Agarwal to know the best shoulder exercises and the benefits they offer.

What are the best shoulder exercises?

1. Dumbbell shoulder press

  • Sit on a bench with back support or stand upright.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  • Press the dumbbells upward until your arms are fully extended.
  • Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
shoulder exercise
You can do shoulder press to improve stability and balance. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Front raise

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms by your sides.
  • Raise one dumbbell in front of you until shoulder height.
  • Lower it back down and repeat with the other arm.
  • Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each arm.

3. Lateral raise

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells by your sides.
  • Raise both arms to the sides until shoulder level.
  • Lower them back down slowly.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

4. Rear deltoid flyes

  • Bend at the hips, keeping your back straight.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand below your chest.
  • Lift your arms out to the sides until they’re parallel to the floor.
  • Lower the dumbbells back down.
  • Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

5. Shrugs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lift your shoulders towards your ears while keeping your arms straight.
  • Squeeze at the top and lower the weights.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

6. Push-ups

  • Begin in a plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your body by bending your arms.
  • Push back up to the starting position.
  • Beginners can start with knee push-ups.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

Also Read: Here’s how to do push up the right way

shoulder exercises
Push ups can help ward off shoulder pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the benefits of shoulder exercises?

1. Builds shoulder strength and stability

Strengthening the shoulder muscles helps improve stability in the shoulder joint, reducing the risk of injuries.

2. Improves posture

Strong shoulders can aid in maintaining good posture, preventing rounded shoulders and related issues.

3. Functional mobility

Strong shoulders allow for a wide range of motion, facilitating daily activities like reaching, lifting, and carrying.

4. Prevents injuries

Well-conditioned shoulder muscles reduce the likelihood of strains, rotator cuff injuries, and dislocations.

5. Sports performance

Strong shoulders can help improve athletic performance. Athletes benefit from strong shoulders, as many sports involve overhead movements and throwing.

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6. Relieves pain

Shoulder exercises can alleviate pain associated with conditions like rotator cuff tendinitis or frozen shoulder.

shoulder pain
Shoulder exercises help you get rid of shoulder pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

7. Strengthens upper body

Strong shoulders are integral to various upper body exercises, such as bench presses and push-ups.

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8. Makes daily functional tasks easier

Everyday tasks like lifting groceries or carrying bags become easier with strong shoulders.

9. Promotes bone health

Weight-bearing shoulder exercises can promote bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Who should avoid shoulder exercises?

Here are some scenarios in which people should avoid shoulder exercises or practice caution:

1. Existing shoulder injuries

Exercises that worsen shoulder ailments, such as a torn rotator cuff, should be avoided by people with acute or chronic shoulder injuries. You should seek guidance from a healthcare professional before incorporating shoulder exercises into your routine.

2. Recent shoulder surgery

Those who have had recent shoulder surgery should avoid shoulder exercises until they receive clearance from their surgeon or physical therapist.

3. Severe shoulder pain

If you experience severe and persistent shoulder pain during any exercise, stop immediately and consult a healthcare professional.

4. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Individuals with advanced shoulder arthritis should avoid high-impact or heavy resistance exercises that could worsen joint pain.

shoulder exercises
Do shoulder exercises to avoid permanent bone damage. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Instability or hyperlaxity

Those with shoulder joint instability or hyperlaxity (loose ligaments) should avoid exercises that place excessive stress on the joint.

6. Pregnancy

Pregnant women should avoid heavy lifting or shoulder exercises. This is to avoid injuries as their ligaments and joints may be more relaxed during this time.

7. Beginners

People who are new to exercise should start with light resistance and focus on maintaining proper posture. Once you ace the basics, you can move on to more challenging shoulder exercises.

8. Chronic health conditions

People with certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, should consult a healthcare professional before engaging in strenuous exercises.

9. Age

Older adults may need to modify exercises due to reduced bone density and muscle mass. You should consult a fitness professional for guidance.

Things you must keep in mind

1. Maintain a good posture

Those with poor posture may need to address postural issues before engaging in any kind of shoulder exercise to prevent injuries. It is important to maintain proper posture while performing these exercises.

2. Avoid overtraining

Shoulder overtraining might result in injury. Maintaining good health requires getting enough sleep and recovering from injuries.

3. Improper technique

A fitness expert should be consulted if you are unable to perform shoulder exercises with the correct form, as you are at risk of getting injured.

shoulder injuries
Improper technique can lead to shoulder injuries. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Inadequate warm-up

Failing to warm up before shoulder exercises can increase the risk of injury. A proper warm-up is essential before these exercises.

5. Be consistent

Choose a time that fits your daily routine and stick to it consistently to build a routine.

6. Consult a trainer

If you’re unsure, consider consulting a fitness trainer or physical therapist who can provide personalized recommendations.

7. Listen to your body

Pay attention to your body’s response. If you feel more energized and flexible at a specific time, that might be the best time for you.

What is the best time to perform shoulder exercises?

1. Morning or evening

You can perform shoulder exercises in the morning or evening, depending on your preference and schedule.

2. Avoid doing them immediately after waking up

It’s generally recommended not to do intense shoulder exercises immediately after waking up as your muscles may be stiffer.

3. Before meals

Exercising before a meal can help prevent discomfort, as exercising on a full stomach can lead to indigestion.

4. Late at night

Try not to do strenuous shoulder exercises too late in the evening as it might affect your ability to sleep.

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About the Author

Arushi Bidhuri is a journalist with 6 years of experience in writing, editing, and conceptualizing story ideas in different genres, including health and wellness, lifestyle, politics, beauty, fashion, etc. Arushi has a strong connection in the industry that helps her write concise and original stories as she believes in working towards writing pieces that can enlighten people. ...Read More

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