Exercises to work shoulders – The 7 best exercises to increase the volume

Working your shoulders with isolation exercises is the best way to increase volume. However, routines should also be alternated with basic multi-joint exercises to achieve strong masculine and marked shoulders.

Including different exercises with barbells or dumbbells is the basis for developing volume and strength in your shoulders. In addition, working on the other areas with specific activities will ensure a proportional form between the trapezius and the deltoids.

This article describes the best barbell and dumbbell shoulder exercises, plus a method to increase your volume.

How to work the shoulders?

The shoulder muscles are composed of three parts: anterior, posterior, and lateral. Each of them is responsible for a type of movement. The middle deltoid has the most significant volume, and it is precisely this part of the shoulder that is usually given priority in the exercises.

An ideal workout to increase the volume of the shoulders should be based on different exercises that allow the shoulders to be exercised from different angles.

Also, alternating the days of the week between maximal strength (6-8 reps) with hypertrophy days (10-12 reps) is one of the best ways to bulk up.

An excellent method to increase the volume of the shoulders and avoid stagnation is:

  • Week 1 – strength routine – 6-8 repetitions of high weight – 4 exercises
  • Week 2 – 10-12 reps medium weight – 4 exercises
  • Alternate between weeks 1 and 2 and slowly and progressively increase both weights

// Recommended: exercises for triceps – The best to gain volume

The best exercises for shoulders – volume

The best exercises to work the shoulders are the military barbell press, lateral flights, the different variants of presses, and dumbbell lifts. Working the shoulders seated allows a better stabilization of the body without compromising the back.

When working your shoulders, do not forget physical warm-up exercises. This is essential to prepare the joints in the gym. As well as respecting the rest days between routines to achieve a complete muscle recovery. Here are the best shoulder exercises for bulking:


The barbell military press is one of the best exercises to work shoulders and increase their volume. The other shoulder areas are performed in an integrated way with the military press. It also allows you to work the middle area and the different joints of the upper body, which is why it is considered one of the five basic multi-joint exercises.

PRESS WITH MANCUERNASThis exercise is ideal for increasing the volume of the upper delts in the gym. The advantage of working shoulders with dumbbells is more significant grip variability. The weights can be positioned both vertically and horizontally. To perform the different shoulder parts, you can change the angle between one routine and another.


Lateral flights are one of the exercises with the best results in widening the shoulders. Doing this exercise works the lateral section of the deltoids. The thumb should be kept down, and the shoulder joint should remain fixed. The ideal way to increase the volume is to do several repetitions that do not exceed 12.

  1. FRONT LIFTS WITH DUMPSULESFront flights are among the most effective exercises for training the front of the shoulders. Beginners are advised to lift the dumbbells alternately; it is easier to control the technique in the gym.

This variation on traditional lifts allows you to work the top and front of the shoulders. In technique, the body should be slightly tilted forward. Try it in your gym routine.


This is one of the basic exercises for a beginner to work the shoulders. The body must remain perpendicular to the floor and avoid rocking forwards or backward. Doing it with discs instead of dumbbells ensures better balance and fewer side deflections.

How many shoulder exercises to do a day to increase the volume?

The day you dedicate yourself to working your shoulders with 3-4 isolation exercises is enough. It is better to save the second half of the gym routine than to overdo it with the amount and activities to increase volume.

Combining the barbell military press with lateral raises and lifts on the same day is enough to increase the volume of the shoulders. An excess in the routine can be counterproductive for bodybuilding.

The shoulder joint is considered one of the most fragile. Overworking your shoulders can mean future injury. Even minor errors in technique can cause damage that will make it impossible to do other types of exercises that involve lifting weights with your arms.

How to work the shoulders symmetrically?

A shoulder exercise program should combine both barbell and dumbbell exercises. The main advantage of dumbbell exercises is focusing on muscle symmetry. That is, to evenly develop the deltoid muscles from different angles.

By contrast, barbell exercises are best for increasing volume and muscle mass in the shoulders. Combining the work of the back muscles and the middle deltoids increases the loads. The wider the grip on the bar, the more the load will be shifted to the shoulders.

The effectiveness of the military press in increasing volume is more significant than dumbbell lifts. In addition, including exercises that work for several muscle groups simultaneously is a strategy used by high-performance athletes to increase testosterone and growth hormone.

Supersets and drop set to increase shoulder volume.

Supersets consist of doing two different exercises without a break between sets. The shoulder muscles respond exceptionally well to such a workout.

When doing supersets to increase volume, it is recommended to combine exercises with working the front and rear delts. An advanced athlete can even do tri-sets and perform all the muscle groups of the shoulders in the same routine.

The droplets reduce the work weight and increase the number of repetitions between one series and another. Up to 20-25% of the weight is discharged in each series. Instead of doing four sets, 6-8 of each exercise should be done with rest times of no more than 1 minute. The droplets are an excellent method to work the volume of the shoulders.


Working your shoulders is essential to achieving a masculine figure and posture. To increase the volume of the shoulders, you should alternate the routine between exercises with bars with dumbbells and progressively increase the weight.

The best exercises for bulking your shoulders are the military press, lateral raises or flies, and the dumbbell press. An advanced athlete can increase the challenges and try to achieve voluminous shoulders by alternating the week with routines of drop sets and supersets.


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