5 Best Exercises for Sculpted Shoulders


Understanding the Shoulder Muscles and How to Build Them

The shoulders are made up of 3 muscles: the anterior (front), posterior (rear), and lateral (side) delts. In order to achieve the look of beautiful, round, sculpted shoulders you need to understand how to work all three of these muscles. 

Different exercises will hit the delts from different angles. 

The video above details the 5 best exercises for sculpted shoulders and the prime movers for each of them. A prime mover is the main muscle achieving each movement. These 5 exercises cover the front, rear, and side delts to ensure balance and overall definition. 

The Workout: 5 Best Exercises for Sculpted Shoulders


All you need for this workout is 1-3 pairs of dumbbells of varying weights that you feel comfortable using for upper body workouts.

Workout Instructions for Various Training Intensities

For the Beginner

If you are a beginner to weight lifting, I recommend performing these exercises in 4 sets of 12 reps each. Take about 60 seconds rest between each set to allow for sufficient recovery. 

For the Intermediate Weight Lifter

If you would like to take the intensity a step further, you can perform this workout as a giant set. Perform one set of each exercise one after the other without rest in between. After completion of one set of all exercises, take 60 seconds to rest, and repeat.

Perform 4 rounds this way. You may need to lower the weight used in order to ensure proper form and your ability to perform all exercises together without rest in between. 

Giant sets are a great way to keep your heart rate up for longer by limiting the amount of rest and recovery the muscle gets before working it again. 

For the Experienced Weight Lifter

Ready to take this one step further and spice up your workout even more? 

Throw in drop sets (demo'd second in the video above for the lateral raise exercise.)

Drop sets were THE single biggest key to my rapid delt growth early on in my fitness journey.

To perform a drop set, start with a weight that feels challenging for 12 full reps. Perform the exercise until failure (when you can no longer continue to lift the weight with good form), and then drop to a lower weight. Continue lifting, again, until failure. I recommend dropping to a lower weight 1-2 times. 

By the end of your drop set, the muscle should feel completely burnt out. 

To kick things up a few notches, try this... you may hate me while you're doing it, but you'll feel fabulous for finishing the workout! This is where you leave knowing you gave it 110% and had nothing left in the tank by the end. 


As described above, perform one round of each exercise one after the other without rest. 4 sets of 12 of each exercise. 

BUT with a small twist: 

Each round perform one of the exercises as a drop set. 

First round, perform the first exercise as a drop set. Second round, second exercise is a drop set, and so on. 

You might not be able to wash your hair tomorrow... but you will certainly see some delt growth quickly! Just ensure that you give your shoulders a couple of days to recover and rebuild the muscles. 

Lateral Raise

1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip. Feet should be shoulder width apart.

2. With your arms fully extended at your sides, raise your arms until they are at shoulder level.

3. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position.

Rear Delt Fly

1. With dumbbells in each hand, bend your knees and lean forward at your hips. Keep your back flat. Your arms should be fully extended underneath you.

2. With elbows slightly bent, raise your arms up and out to your sides.

3. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position. 

Front Raise

1. Hold a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip.

2. Lift the dumbbells in front of you up to shoulder height while keeping your core tight.

3. Pause, and then slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.

Overhead Shoulder Press

1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. Raise the dumbbells to your shoulders. Your palms should be facing forward.

2. Push the dumbbells up over your head while extending your arms.

3. When the dumbbells touch at the top of the movement, pause, and then slowly lower them to the starting position.

Upright Row

1. Rest a pair of dumbbells on your thighs. Palms should face inward.

2. Lift the dumbbells up until they are slightly below your chin. Your elbows should flare outward as you do so.

3. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position.

My pup pup wanted to say hello! Anyways, that's all there is to it! The most important thing for you to remember, no matter WHAT muscles you are working, is to be mindful of your form. 

Pick a weight that feels challenging for you but that you could use to pump out 2 additional reps beyond what is prescribed for a given set with good form.

Focus on mind muscle connection with the muscle that you're intending to work! If you're not feeling the contraction there, pick a lower weight and try again.

Want to reach your fitness goals faster and easier? With the right game plan and extra accountability?

I've been helping women just like you build muscle, lose fat, and improve their metabolism with an easy to follow flexible diet and FUN training routine. 

If you're ready to say HECK YES to changing your health, your body, and your life, APPLY HERE for 1 on 1 coaching. I will be there to coach you every step of the way so we can get you better, lasting results. 

Not convinced? Check out some of these amazing success stories from women JUST LIKE YOU. If you're sitting there telling yourself you're too old, too far off, too busy, or too tired, STOP RIGHT NOW.

You can do this no matter where you're at in life. Don't hold yourself back from the quality of life you CAN and WILL have if you take the leap. 

No more waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect moment. The time to make a change is always RIGHT NOW! Let me show you what you can do. 

To Your Good Health & Success,

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