Best Exercises For

Defined Shoulders



Trying to build amazing shoulders? Choosing the right exercises is a must.

First, let’s talk some anatomy. The shoulder muscle, known as the deltoid, has three “heads”: the anterior, lateral, and posterior heads. For simplicity, we’ll call ‘em the front, middle, and rear delts. Located, obviously on the front, side, and back of the shoulder.

To get shoulders that look amazing and are work well, you need to train all three heads properly.

Overhead presses

The biggest “bang-for-your-buck” exercises. If you wanna grow great shoulders, overhead presses should be you first priority.

When you press overhead, you work primarily the front and middle delts.

You’re able to move much more weight with overhead presses than any other shoulder focused movements. This makes it much easier to overload the delts and create growth,

Lots of different variations here. Seated and standing barbell and dumbbell presses, Arnold presses, push presses. They’re all solid.

Focus on getting stronger at these in the 6-12 rep range.

Problem is, presses are a very taxing movement on your body. Doing endless presses in your quest for great shoulders is a surefire way to get aches and injuries.

This is where isolation work comes into play.

Lateral raises

Lateral raises work primarily the middle delt (the muscle group on the side of the shoulder).

They’re a super effective way to continue to build the shoulder. Unlike overhead presses, they’re not super taxing on your body. You can do lots of raises to continue building your shoulders, even on days you’re not doing heavy presses. 4-5 times per week if ya want. Anywhere from 10-20+ reps. Focus on feeling the burn.

My personal favorites are: dumbbell lateral raises, and leaning cable lateral raises.

Rear delt flys

The rear delt is oft neglected in shoulder training. Not only does this makes your shoulders less stable, which means more prone to injury, it also makes them look much worse aesthetically.

Training the rear delt makes your shoulders look balanced and proportionate.

These are often performed incorrectly. Check out this video for the best way to do rear delt flys:

Same rules apply as lateral raises. You can train ‘em often. Anywhere from 10-20+ reps. Focus on feeling the burn.

Face pulls

Everyone should be doing face pulls. Not only do they work the rear delts super effectively, they’re also great for your posture and shoulder health.

If you’re not focusing on the muscles of the upper back and rotator cuffs, doing lots of pressing movements will eventually jack up your shoulders. Face pulls are a great preventative measure.

Face pulls strengthen the rear delts and the rotator cuffs at the same time. These are a must for anyone doing lots of pressing type movements.


Once again, train ‘em often, in moderate to high rep ranges. Feel the burn.

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