Strong upper back and shoulder muscles are not just for the boys. They are a necessary part of the overall balance in your body and should not get overlooked in your workout routine. As a certified personal trainer, I have tried it all! And when I want to sculpt my shoulders, I do the seven moves listed below.
The shoulder exercises I’ll teach here are effective and easy to do at home, no gym is required. I’ve helped thousands of women perfect these moves and sculpt the shoulders they’ve always wanted.
All you need is a set of dumbbells and you’re ready to go!
It’s a good feeling to be strong and sculpted! And an added bonus to these shoulder exercises is that when you work your shoulders and upper back, your arms have to come along for the ride, leaving you with better biceps and triceps to boot!
Tips For Women on Weight Training For The Back and Shoulders
How Much Weight To Use
For these dumbells shoulder workouts, you will need a lighter set of dumbbells for side raises, and a heavier set of dumbbells when you go above your head.
Please note that lifting heavy weights will NOT make you “bulk up.” This is a common misconception and simply not true.
I recommend using 5lbs and 12 lb weights but listen to your body! If it doesn’t feel good after a set or two, drop the weight! It’s best to start light, build strength and work your way us.
Good Form For Dumbell Shoulder Exercises
You must use good form when performing these exercises. Not only will using proper form help get results faster, but it will also help you avoid injury.
Working the upper back can be tricky. Many people default to shrugging their shoulders or adopting a hunched-over posture. This leaves you with pinched nerves in your neck and a sore lower back.
The proper technique includes for shoulder workouts with dumbells is:
- Keeping your abdominals pulled in at all times
- Keeping your spine long at all times
- Keeping your shoulder blades stable and drawn down
With that in mind, let’s get started!
7 Moves For A Dumbbell Shoulder Workout
The following exercises can be done 2-3 times per week.
Combine them with some good cardio exercise and you’ll be on your way to sleek and sculpted shoulders and a strong back.
A) Start with feet hip distance apart. Bring elbows out to the side creating a goal post position with arms, dumbbells are at the side of the head, and abdominals are tight.
B) Press dumbbells slowly up until arms are straight. Slowly return to starting position with control. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Related: 10 Best Exercises For Your Bad Back
A) Start with legs together and sit back into a slight squat, engaging abdominal. Arms are in front of the body, holding dumbbells at hip height with palms facing the ceiling.
B) Draw elbows back past hips gently hugging the side body so you feel lats and triceps engage and return forward with control. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
A) Stand with feet together, dumbbells resting in front of thighs, keeping abdominals tight, and drawing your shoulders down in the back.
B) Lift dumbbells slowly to shoulder height and return back down with control. Avoid swinging or using momentum. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
4. Press Backs
A) Start with feet hip distance apart. Engage your abdominals and sit back into a slight squat. Dumbbells start at the sides of the knees.
B) Keeping the core engaged, press the dumbbells past your hips and return with control. Avoid swinging the arms or bending the elbows. Perform 8-12 reps.
A) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Arms are extended above the chest to start. Engage your abdominals.
B) Lower dumbbells past your head, keeping arms mostly straight with elbows slightly bent. Keeping abdominals tight, raise dumbbells back to start. The low back should stay firm against the floor throughout. Perform 8-12 reps.
A) Begin in a full plank with dumbbells in your hands, arms extended, and toes. (Kneeling variation is fine if you are not able to do a full plank). Engage your abdominals to draw the belly inward towards your spine.
B) Pull the right dumbbell up toward the right hip bone, keeping the weight close to your side. Slowly return it to the floor and repeat with the left dumbbell. Perform 20 total reps-10 per arm.
A) Stand in a split stance with your right foot forward and the dumbbell in your left arm. Slightly hinge over your hip flexors, keeping your abdominals engaged to protect your low back.
B) Pull the elbow straight back past your hip (keep arms close to the body; don’t let your elbow wing out). Engage and squeeze your back muscles, then lower the dumbbell back to start position with control. Perform 8-10 reps for each side.
More Dumbbell Workouts For Women
Try our 6 Moves For Strong and Sleek Shoulders workout video.