The Best Dumbbell Exercise For Shoulders – Two Amazing Routines For Beginners

To have an aesthetic and impressive upper body you need to have good rounded shoulders. You can have a big chest or impressive biceps and triceps, but without well developed shoulders the “look” is just not as impressive.

You want those nice rounded shoulders, right? Of course you do! That is why you are searching the internet for different workout plans that will give you the secret sauce to building strong, well rounded shoulders in no time. The dumbbell exercise for shoulders that effectively builds muscle will test you with every repetition.

This workout will hit all 3 heads of the shoulder. The first routine will help you create a good foundation, the second routine will push you with a different principle and really get those shoulder to grow.

Not waming up your rotator cuff  properly can lead to easily getting injured.  I recommend taking 5 minutes to warm them up with resistance bands .   

I hope you get great value from this article! Let me know in the comments below how this workout helps you. Always keep your ego in check with every move. What we want to do is to really target the muscle with every repetition.

The shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is comprised of 3 parts including the Anterior,Posterior and Lateral Deltoids.. The Anterior deltoid is located in the front of the shoulder. The main function of this portion is for shoulder flexion. You can target this muscle by doing front raises.

The lateral deltoid is on the outside of your shoulder. When this muscle is well develop it gives the impression of having broad shoulders. The main function of this muscle is for shoulder abduction. An exercise like the lateral raise will target this muscle.

The posterior deltoid is located on the back of your shoulder and the main function is shoulder extension. This movement can be created by bringing your arms backwards. An exercise like the rear delt bend over raise works this muscle.

If you want to build those amazing shoulders to complement your upper body, check out the article for the best chest moves for beginners.

The Exercises 

 1)   The Overhead dumbbell press is going to be our first exercise and the basis of the workout plan. You can perform this seated or standing. The advantage of using dumbbells, is that you have a better range of motion, different than if you were to use a barbell. 

To perform this exercise bring the dumbbells down slowly and in control, pause at the bottom of the move and explode to bring them back up and stretch your arms.

Another variation of the exercise is doing the one arm press, which will help you keep the core engaged since you are holding one arm in position while you are pushing the weight with the other arm.

2)   Front raises like any dumbbell exercise on the list can be done standing and seated. One variation to this exercise is to use an incline bench and target it at a different angle.

For this exercise you have to bring the dumbbells in total control back to the original position to keep tension on the muscle we are targeting.

3)   The lateral raise is an exercise that a lot of people perform the wrong way. When you are bringing the weights up, you have to stop when your arms are parallel to the floor and not go to high. Keeping your arms straight requires that your arms are completely extended and straight.

For a variation, you can bend your elbows if you want to load the weights, but don’t go to crazy because what you need to make sure of is that you feel the muscle beimg activated.

4)   Bent over lateral raise will help you hit the back muscle of your shoulders, You will stand up and bend over with your chest being parallel to the floor face down. Then raise your arms to your sides and at the top of the move you will create an inverted W with your elbows pointed back.

Another variation to this exercise would be to do it on an incline bench to make sure you target the muscle properly with no help of your legs or a swinging motion.

Watch the next video to become familiar with the moves.


The Beginner routine

This routine will be very basic and we will use the exercises from the list above but this will push you to really target your shoulders and prepare them for the next stage.The best shoulder workout

4 weeks using this routine will be a great way to give you a foundation and help you do the mind and muscle connection. You will add weight and repetitions every week. Please Please take a good 5 minutes to warm up your shoulders before you jump into the workout routine.

Week 1 routine  Use weight that will cause you to fatigue at 15 reps

  1. Seated military press                        3 sets 15 reps  rest 40 seconds between sets
  2. Seated Front Raises                         3 sets 15 reps  rest 40 seconds between sets
  3. Standing bent over lateral raises      3 sets 15 reps  rest 40 seconds beween sets
  4. Standing Lateral Raises                   3 sets 15 reps  rest 40 seconds between sets

Week 2 routine  We are adding weight, so use dumbbells that will cause you to fatigue at 10-12 reps

  1. Standing military press                     4 sets of 10-12 reps and rest 30 seconds between sets
  2. Standing front raises                        4 sets of 10-12 reps and rest 30 seconds between sets
  3. Incline bench lateral raises              4 sets of 10-12 reps and rest 30 seconds between sets
  4. Seated lateral raises                        4 sets of 10-12 reps and rest 30 seconds between set

For week 3 you will go back to the week 1 routine and use weights that make you fail at 10-12 reps. Do 4 sets of each exercise.

Week 4 routine you want to add weight that will make you fail at 10 reps

  1. Seated military press                     3 sets for 10 reps and rest 30 seconds between sets
  2. Seated Lateral raises                    3 sets for 10 reps and rest 30 seconds between sets
  3. Incline bench lateral raises           3 sets for 10 reps and rest 30 seconds between sets
  4. Standing Front raises                   3 sets for 10 reps and rest 30 seconds between sets


The Cirtuit training routine

We created a good foundation with the workout above, but we want to take it to the next level. If you are not ready for this circuit training don’t feel like you need to jump into another workout routine right away.

This workout will really kick your shoulders into the  next gear. We are not going to focus on reps or sets, but we will do time and quality over quantity.

This workout can be performed once a week. You can do it twice a week, just be mindfull that you have to give your shoulders at least 48 hours to rest.

 Do this for at least 3 weeks then go back to a normal routine. Pick weights that will  get you fatigued at the 30 second mark.

 You don’t need to go to heavy!  Make sure you rest 15 seconds in between each exercise and rest 1 minute between sets. Rrepeat this circuit 4 times.

  1. Standing Front raises                Perform for 30 seconds
  2. Standing military press              Perform for 30 seconds
  3. Bent over lateral raises              Perform for 30 seconds
  4. Standing Lateral raises              Perform for 30 seconds


Now this is a workout you can always come back to when you need a change of pace. The beginner exercise routine can be modified if you can follow it for a month. For those that want to change this same workout a bit more you can change the order of the exercise list.

This routine like any other can be modified so you are not bored doing the same exercise over and over. You want to blast those shoulders and create the best rounded version. Do you know how to use cable machines and implemente them with dumbbells? comment below.


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