7 Best Shoulder Exercises for Women to get Shapely Delts

7 Best Shoulder Exercises for Women to get Shapely Delts

The shoulders are one of the most visible body parts on a woman’s body. Whether you’re wearing a dress, a bikini or a tank top, your shoulders are constantly on display. What they say about you depends on how toned they are. A shapely, rounded pair of deltoids, with definite separation from the biceps, announces to the world that you are fit, toned, and tight.

In this article, we will bring you the seven best shoulder exercises for women to create sexy, toned shoulders.

Shoulder Basics

Your deltoid muscles sit like two caps at the top of your torso. Each deltoid is one muscle but it is often referred to as three distinct parts:

  • Anterior deltoid (front, in red)
  • Medial deltoid (side, in green)
  • Posterior deltoid (rear, in blue)

When you work to tone each of these three ‘heads’ of the deltoid, you create a beautiful shape to the shoulder muscle. You also give a great hanger for your clothes.

There are some common mistakes that women make when trying to tone their shoulder muscles. It often starts with a definition of goals. Most women are intent on toning the shoulders. So, what does this actually mean?

Tone is not the same thing as being strong or having large muscles. Being toned means that the muscle is tight, even when it’s relaxed. When you can see muscle definition without the need to flex the muscle, then the muscle is toned.

A muscle toning workout will make your muscles somewhat stronger. However, it is not a max strength designed program. People often use too heavy a weight, which tenses the neck and causes them to cheat on their form.

Working the shoulders without tensing the neck can be tricky. Yet, this is what you must do if you want to isolate the working muscle group (you do).

Stretching the Shoulders

Before you being exercising your shoulders, it is important that you loosen up your rotator cuff muscles. Stiff rotator cuffs can lead to injury. The best exercise to prepare your shoulders for the upcoming workout is the Sleeper Stretch.

Sleeper Stretch

Shoulder Sleeper Stretch

Execution method:

  • Lie on the floor on your left side. Place your left upper arm on the floor and bend it at 90 degrees. Your left forearm should point toward the ceiling. Adjust the angle of your torso so that your right shoulder is slightly lower than your left. Lift your head off the floor.
  • Place your right hand over your left wrist and gently push your left hand down toward the floor. You will feel a gentle stretch in the back of your left shoulder.
  • Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, then roll over and do the same on the right side.

7 Best Shoulder Exercises For Women

Exercise #1: Standing Front Raise

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Front Raise

The standing front raise is a great exercise to isolate the anterior deltoid.

Execution method:

  • Stand with your feet parallel, and hip width apart. Hold a relatively light weight in each hand, with your palms facing in. Bring your shoulder blades down and together to brace them in position.
  • With your arms straight, but not stiff, lift from the shoulder joint to bring the weights up to shoulder level. Make sure that the weights do not come above shoulder height.
  • Hold the weight for a count of 2 in the top position, and then slowly lower to the start point.
  • You should exhale as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower back to the start position.

Exercise #2: Lying Side Lateral Raise

Krista - Side Lying Incline DB Lateral Raise - Women

This is a very effective move to isolate the medial delt. When developed, this muscle will go a long way toward giving you that rounded, athletic sexy shoulder appearance.

Execution method:

  • Position yourself side on an incline bench, which is set at a 45-degree angle. Grab the top of the bench with your inside hand and hold a light weight at your side with the other arm. The weight should be resting at your hip with your palm down and elbow straight. Draw your shoulder blade down.
  • Keeping your arms straight but not stiff, pivot from the shoulder joint to bring the weight out to the side and up. Do not go higher than shoulder height. Keep the palm down throughout the movement.
  • Hold the top position for two seconds and then slowly lower. Don’t allow the shoulder to drop forward as you move your arm up and down.
  • You should exhale as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower back to the start position.

Exercise #3: Reverse Fly

Reverse Fly - Sleek Sexy Arms Workout Video

Our third move focuses on the posterior area of the deltoid muscle. Many women have a weakness in this area. When you strengthen the posterior deltoid, you will not only add to the tone and shape of your shoulders. You will also be improving your posture and taking the pressure off your back and neck.

Execution method:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and a light pair of dumbbells at your sides. Maintain a neutral spine position and your shoulder blade down. Now, bend forward at the hips so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. The dumbbells should be hanging in front of you. Make sure that you core is tight.
  • With a straight, but not stiff, arm, pivot from the shoulder joint to bring the weights out to the sides until they are in line with your shoulders. Focus on bringing your shoulder blades together while maintaining a slightly arched, not rounded, lower back.
  • Hold the top position for two seconds and then slowly return to the start position. Don’t allow the shoulder to drop forward as you move your arm up and down. Your torso also should not move forward throughout the exercise.
  • You should exhale as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower back to the start position.

Exercise #4: Side Lying External Rotation

Sidelying Shoulder External Rotation with Dumbbell Exercise

This exercise will specifically strengthen your rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles:

  • Supraspinatus
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres Minor
  • Subscapularis

They attach to the outside of your upper arm.While developing these muscles won’t do a lot to tone and define your shoulder muscles, it will help to ward off injury.

Execution method:

  • ​Lie on your side on an exercise mat. Your hips should be stacked, with both knees bent at 45 degrees to the body. Rest your head on the floor and hold a light weight at your side with the other arm. The weight should be resting at your hip with your palm down and elbow bent so the arm forms a 90-degree angle. Place a folded towel under your upper arm, so that it is wedged between your elbow and rib cage. Draw your shoulder blade down.
  • Pivoting from the elbow, rotate the weight to lift it toward the ceiling. Hold the top position for two seconds and then return to the start position. Perform this movement slowly and with control, focusing on feeling the movement through the shoulder.
  • You should exhale as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower back to the start position.

Exercise #5: "Y" Stability Ball Raise

Stability Ball Dumbbell Y's

Performing shoulder raises on a stability ball creates an unstable base from which to move. This makes the muscles work harder and recruits important stabilizer muscles that otherwise cannot be worked.

Execution method:

  • Place a stability ball on your exercise mat. Kneel in front of the mat with light weights in your hands. Rest your rib cage on top of the stability ball so that you are hugging the ball into your torso. Your arms should be hanging at the sides of the ball.
  • Draw your shoulder blades down. With your arms straight but not stiff raise the weights up and slightly out. They should come up a little higher than the level of your forehead. In the top position, your arms and torso should form a “Y” shape.
  • Hold the top position for a two-second count, then slowly lower to the start position.
  • You should exhale as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower back to the start position

Exercise #6: Dumbbell Shrugs

Dumbbell Shrug - FEMALE [YOU+]

Dumbbell shrugs are the best exercise to work the muscles of your trapezius. This is the area between your neck and shoulders. Strong, toned trapezius muscles will give you a sleek, rounded curvature to your shoulders. It will also take pressure away from your spine, making your everyday activities easier to perform.

​This exercise can be performed with either dumbbells or a barbell. The advantage of using dumbbells is that it places less strain on your shoulder joints. The reason is that, when you use a barbell, your shoulders have to rotate just to hold the bar.

Execution method:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and parallel to each other. Hold a medium pair of dumbbells at your sides at arms length. Your palms should be facing each other.
  • Without bending your arms, shrug your shoulders up as high as you can. Think about trying to get your shoulders as high as your ears, while keeping the rest of your body still.
  • Hold the top position for a second and then slowly lower back to the start position. Be sure not to bend at the elbows throughout this exercise.
  • You should exhale as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower back to the start position.

Exercise #7: Scaption and Shrug

Shoulders: Scaption Shrugs

This little-seen exercise is a great combination move that targets the front deltoids, rotator cuff, serratus anterior, and trapezius. It’s one of the best things you can do for your posture and overall shoulder health.

Execution method:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a pair of light dumbbells hanging loosely at your sides. Your arms should be slightly bent with your palms facing in towards your sides. Stand tall with a neutral spine and chest out.
  • Pivoting from the shoulders (not the elbows) raise the dumbbells at a 30-degree angle to the body. Go up until the dumbbells are at shoulder level. In this position, your arms should form a “Y” position to your torso. You should be holding the dumbbells with your thumbs up (hammer position).
  • In the top position, shrug your shoulders upward as high as you can. Do this without bending your elbows. Pause in the top position, and then slowly lower the weight back to the start position.

Your Sexy Shoulder Workout

You now have an arsenal of 7 terrific shoulder shapers that will see you through to toned terrific, healthy deltoids. However, you don’t want to do all of these moves in one workout. The shoulders are a relatively small muscle group. Three or four exercises are plenty to give them a complete workout.

The exercises have been divided into two workouts. You should rotate them week to week. Perform each workout twice per week, with at least 48 hours between each workout.

Workout A

  • Standing Front Raise 3 x 12 reps
  • "Y" Stability Ball Raise 3 x 12 reps
  • Scaption and Shrug 2 x 12 reps

Workout B

  • Lying Side Lateral Raise 2 x 12 reps
  • Reverse Fly 2 x 12 reps
  • Side Lying External Rotation 2 x 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs 2 x 12 reps

Conclusion

A great set of shoulders is well worth the effort. They will make your waist look smaller, accentuate your arms, and strengthen the whole of your upper body. You now have seven of the best shoulder exercises for women as part of your training arsenal. By rotating the two workouts above for 8 weeks, you will transform your sluggish shoulders into diamond delts.

Share this

Send this to a friend