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December 12, 2021 7 min read

Strong shoulders provide you with the opportunities to perform well in the gym as well as perform any daily functional tasks that involve lifting your arms above your head. Your shoulders may be small in comparison to your back and chest muscles but that doesn't mean we should neglect them. 

A study showed that stabilizing the glenohumeral joints can reduce the risk of shoulder injuries while performing repetitive lifting tasks.

In order to improve your shoulder mobility and stability as well as increase those gains in the weight room, we encourage you to continue reading about how to incorporate barbell exercises into your upper body routine to target your shoulder muscles.

Fitness equipment for workout in Gym.Barbell with weights plate on floor.

How Do Your Shoulder Muscles Contribute To Your Overall Health?

Your shoulder muscles allow you to perform a variety of tasks both in the gym and outside of the gym. Weak shoulder muscles can lead to instability and increased chances of injury, which are two things we want to avoid at all costs. Your shoulders are made of several layers including joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Any sort of injury to these layers can decrease your range of motion and make you more susceptible to injury if they are overused, underused or injured. 

Not only can injury cause shoulder problems, but degenerative diseases can contribute to pain in the shoulders. It’s important to focus on maintaining your shoulders’ health as it is the most movable joint in the body. By incorporating effective exercises and providing your body with the fuel that it needs to repair it’s muscles, you are setting yourself up for success.

Protein plays a critical role in muscle repair and sometimes, it can be challenging to get enough in right after our workouts. Check out our Veg Shred Stack that will get you shredded, provide you with the fuel that you need and give your taste buds exactly what they need. [RE-WRITE or DELETE]

Benefits of Strengthening Shoulder Muscles

Decreased Chance of Injury

Weak shoulders can lead to injuries in the simplest of movements such as opening a drawer or reaching for something on the top shelf.A study showed that risk of shoulder injury increases with age.

Factors such as glenohumeral internal-rotation deficit, imbalances in the rotator cuff, stiffness in the thoracic spine, lack of range of motion in the hips as well as instability in the lumbar core can also contribute to an increased chance of injury.

By taking the time to train and strengthen your shoulder muscles, you decrease the chances of injuries that can hinder your daily tasks as well as muscle gains.

Increased Mobility

The shoulder is made up of three bones, the collarbone, the shoulder blade and the humerus. The shoulder is the most moveable joint in the body but it is quite unstable due to the fact that the humerus is larger than the socket that holds it in place. Therefore, the muscles, tendons and ligaments hold the bones together. By increasing strength, you increase the rotator cuff's ability to provide mobility and strength to the shoulder joint.

If you would like to work on your shoulder stability and mobility, check out this article on evidence-based shoulder stability exercises.

Increased Self-Confidence

Besides the mechanical functions of the shoulder muscle, we can never complain about improving our aesthetic. All gym-goers don't mess around when it comes to their shoulder routine since they know how much of an impact their shoulders have on their appearance.

Through a regimented upper body routine, you can attain the shoulders of your dreams. If you're convinced, keep reading on to learn about some of the best shoulder workouts that will target not only your shoulder muscles but also your triceps, trapezius, upper arms and back muscles. Our bodies are complex mechanisms and by strengthening one muscle, you are strengthening a variety of other muscles. 

10 Best Shoulder Barbell Exercises for a Killer Workout

An important thing to note prior to performing any of these exercises is to perform them at your own comfort level. If you would like to start off just with your body weight to ensure you are performing the motion correctly, that is perfectly fine.

If you decide that the barbell is a challenge, especially if you have had previous injuries, go ahead and grab a pair of dumbbells to perform the exercises below. Any exercise is better than no exercises and you will always be one step closer to your muscle gains by putting in the work.

1. Barbell Front Raise

 

  1. Stand up straight and hold the barbell with your hands about shoulder width apart and your palms facing towards your body. 
  2. While keeping your arms straight, begin to raise the barbell up until it is parallel with the floor. 
  3. Pause at this position while contracting your delts and begin to slowly lower down. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for your desired number or reps and sets.

If you decide that you do not enjoy performing this exercise with a barbell, you can attempt to perform a dumbbell front raise which will still target those same shoulder muscles.

    2. Barbell Overhead Press

       

      1. Stand up straight and place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart on the barbell with a double overhand grip. 
      2. Begin to lift the barbell up and rest it on your front delts while contracting your abdominal muscles. 
      3. Make sure you keep your lower body stable and contract your deltoid muscles to press up until your arms are locked with the barbell above your shoulders. 
      4. Slowly, begin to lower the barbell to the starting position. 
      5. Repeat steps 1-4 for your desired number of sets and reps.

        3. Barbell High Pull

           

          1. Begin in standing position with your feet shoulder width apart and hold the barbell with about a hand's width outside of each leg. 
          2. Place the barbell just in front of your shins and begin to pull the bar upwards while keeping your glutes and abs engaged. 
          3. While you are raising the bar, shrug your shoulders to pull the bar as high as possible. 
          4. Slowly begin to lower back to the starting position.

            4. Barbell Landmine Face Pull

               

              1. Place the barbell securely in the landmine attachment or corner in order to stabilize the bar on the ground in front of you. 
              2. Straddle the bar with your feet placed about shoulder width apart and hinge at the waist until your back is parallel to the floor. 
              3. Grab a hold of the barbell so that your hands are directly under your forehead. 
              4. Begin to retract your rear delts while you drive your elbows up and slightly back so that the barbell is right beneath your face. 
              5. Squeeze your rear delts and then begin to slowly bring your arms back down to the starting position.
              6. Repeat steps 1-4 for your desired number of sets and reps.

                5. Barbell Landmine Bent Arm Side Raise

                   

                  1. Place the barbell in the same position as the previous exercise (Landmine Face Pull) and stand to the right of the barbell. 
                  2. Grab ahold of the top of the barbell with your left hand with your palm facing inwards. 
                  3. Engage your core and with a bent left arm, contract your left deltoid in order to raise the barbell up and to the side until your hand is in line with your shoulderOver Behind Press. 
                  4. Pause for a second and take a breath, then slowly return to the starting position. 
                  5. Repeat this movement for 30 seconds then switch to the other side to ensure balance.

                    6. Behind The Neck Press

                       

                      1. Sit down and place the barbell across your traps. 
                      2. Place your feet on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. 
                      3. Grab a hold of the bar with your hands wider than shoulder width apart and squeeze your shoulder blades together to press the bar straight up so it is in line with your head. 
                      4. Pause at this position then slowly begin to return to the starting position. 
                      5. Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps and sets.

                        7. Barbell Clean and Press

                           

                          1. Stand up with your feet placed shoulder width apart. 
                          2. Arch your lower back and begin to bend your hips in order to lower your torso. 
                          3. Grab the barbell at shoulder width apart and extend your hips to create force to lift the bar off the floor. 
                          4. Once the bar is past your knees, jump and shrug the bar so that you are able to raise it and catch it at shoulder height. 
                          5. Engage your abdominal muscles and stand tall to press the bar straight overhead. 
                          6. Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps and sets.

                            8. Snatch-Grip High Pull

                               

                              1. Stand up with your feet placed shoulder width apart and your toes pointed out slightly. 
                              2. Allow the bar to slide down your thighs and explosively jump straight up and shrug the bar aggressively to drive the elbows high. 
                              3. Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps and sets.

                                9. Barbell Overhead Shoulder Press

                                   

                                  1. Stand up with your feet placed shoulder-width apart while tightening your core. 
                                  2. Hold the barbell at your shoulders with your palms facing forward. 
                                  3. Begin to push the bar upwards to squeeze your shoulders at the top. 
                                  4. Slowly begin to lower and repeat this motion for your desired number of reps and sets.

                                    10. Barbell Shrug

                                       

                                      1. Grab a hold of the barbell with an overhand grip placed just outside of your thighs. 
                                      2. Begin to lift your shoulders straight up for one or two seconds
                                      3. Begin to lower back to the starting position.

                                      Note: It is crucial that you keep your shoulders back and your spine and elbows straight.

                                      Bigger Shoulders, Bigger Gains

                                      Whether you are seeking to build muscle, get bigger or simply change up your workout routine, we highly recommend incorporating more shoulder exercises into your routine to target multiple muscle groups.The rotator cuff muscles are not muscles that you want to neglect as they provide support for the most moveable joint in the entire human body.

                                      To continue working on your upper body strength, check out this  article on the best EZ  bar exercises for arm strength and size.