The BEST Dumbbell Exercises – SHOULDERS EDITION!


In today’s video we look at the best dumbbell exercises for shoulders. We’re going to focus on several areas of training: from strength, to power as well as hypertrophy and a few others you’d expect.

First up is strength.While I truly believe the barbell overhead press is the best choice there are reasons why you may not be able to perform the exercise. Injury, lack of access to equipment are just a few. Just because we don’t have a barbell doesn’t mean we have to go without getting the benefits of this great movement. In order to get the most out of the dumbbell option, make sure you perform this exercise standing and not in the seated position. The seated overhead dumbbell press interrupts scapular rhythm and provides a ‘cheat’ in the form of added stability from the use of a bench. The strict dumbbell standing press is a great exercise for building strength but don’t be surprised when the added stability challenge requires you to use less weight than what you can on the barbell version.

Our next category is power. For power I love the jammers or viking press. The problem with them is that most people don’t have access to the required equipment. Even many commercial gyms lack the proper tools for these exercises. We can get a similar training effect by performing the dumbbell push press. When performing this move be sure to hinge at the hips and get your legs involved for added power. As always power training should be kept to around 7-8 explosive, crisp reps. This is not a move you want to take to failure.

As we move on to hypertrophy we look to one of the most effective techniques used for achieving muscle growth, eccentric overload. We combo up cheat lateral raises with a more strict version of the lateral raise. Cheat lateral raises allow for eccentric control with the heaviest weight while the more strict version allows you to train not just too failure but through failure which provides increased intensity that will assist with stimulating growth.

Next up is metabolic training. Again, we utilize the concept of training through failure by using the metabolite build up to induce muscular stress. Perform a mechanical drop set going from move to move without stopping. This creates a significant lactic acid build up. The specifics for this can be seen in today’s video.

For a total body movement there was a toss up between the thruster and the power clean over.
Since I like the aspect of going from floor to overhead I chose the latter, plus it’s a little more explosive than the thruster. Short on time? Do a few rounds of the power clean over… it will crush you!

As you’ve come to expect from ATHLEAN-X we always have an eye on injury prevention so I’d be remiss to not include a corrective exercise for shoulders. For our corrective exercise I chose the prone floor press. It has very similar mechanical elements to the face pull and works all the muscles of the inter scapular/posterior upper chain.

Since you can never give enough attention to your rear delts, I also included a great move to target them directly. The rear delt row was a top consideration but for me, the Urlacher ties in the rear delt and rotator cuff. That one, two combo sealed the deal in choosing the final exercise.

Give these exercises a shot whenever you don’t have access to the standard barbell moves or just want to an extra challenge. If you are looking for a complete program that will help you to not only build strong, muscular shoulders but also develop a complete athletic body, be sure to hit the link below and grab one of the ATHLEAN-X Training Systems.

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  2. Hey Jeff, i have two herniated discs in my T3 and T5. I always use your workouts but I'm weary about using the heavy workouts, especially for legs, due to my back. I finished my physical therapy but it stills bothers me from time to time. Do you have any suggestions or workouts to do instead to build legs ?

  3. These movements really were the change up that my shoulder workout needed. Had to find some different workouts since injuring my wrist doing a barbell push press. This was great thanks!

  4. He always gives an explanation for everything. I can't think of any better source to go to, for anything. No matter what the question is, he has a video on it and its always spot on. I started alot of the mid/lower scap and rear delt things he demonstrates and in a month or so that dead space I had between the blades is gone and my entire traps have changed and gotten alot thicker, even with light weights. I hit these areas after back, after shoulders and then one other time a week and Im really happy with what he has taught me.

  5. +ATHLEAN-X I know i've been brutal to my shoulders recently. Impingement, internal rotation, posture, bad form, bro science mistakes. I'm going back down in weight until I can do every rep in every set with better form. I don't care what everybody else thinks or what they're doing. Your videos are the best! Thanks!


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