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At-Home Shoulder Workout for Strength and Stability

at-home shoulder workout Posted On
Posted By Michaela
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Did you know your shoulders are the most movable joints in your body? Unfortunately, they’re also the most unstable. It can be very beneficial to build and strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulders to provide more stability to the joints. Having strong shoulders also helps you during your chest and back workouts, enabling you to increase your strength in other parts of your body. Performing these at-home shoulder workout moves correctly with correct posture can help you avoid issues related to shoulder instability. But remember to always listen to your body during an exercise and stop or decrease the weights if you feel any pain or instability.

When creating an at-home shoulder workout routine or shoulder circuit, we recommend the following set schedule:

  • 15 reps with light weights
    • 20 second rest
  • 12 reps with medium weights
    • 20 second rest
  • 8 reps with heavy weights
    • 5 second rest
  • Burn out (keep going until you can’t anymore) with light weights

1. Shoulder Press

I prefer to use a bench for this move because it helps support my lower back. If you don’t have a bench, you can stand–just make sure to slightly bend your knees and keep your back flat and core activated to provide stability. Put your bench in the most upright position and sit with your back slightly resting against the back of the bench. Then just like a chest press, you’re going to holds your weights out to the side of your head so your elbows make a 90 degree angle. Press up until your elbow is straight (without overextending) and bring it back down. The move itself is exactly like a chest press, but being in an upright position works the shoulders instead.

2. Front Raise

This is one of my favorite at-home shoulder workout moves! Sitting on a flat bench, chair, or stool, take VERY light weights and alternate raising them up to shoulder level. One raise on the left and one on the right counts as one rep. It’s a simple move but is extremely effective, and I promise you will feel the burn! Go slow and use your core to keep your body from rocking. Avoid swinging your arms–stay in control and maintain tension for the best results.

3. Side Lateral Raise

These raises work a small muscle group, so you are going to want to use very light weights. Standing up with your knees slightly bent, you are going to lift the weights straight out to the side. Do not raise them above shoulder level and keep your elbows slightly bent. This is a very hard move so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do very many or use much weight. I only use 3 lbs to start with and I am feeling it a few reps in.

4. Upright Row

The upright row is another favorite of mine. For this move you’ll be standing up with weights in each hand. To begin, your hands should be down over your thighs. Bring both arms up over the middle of your chest. Your elbows will point out as you bring your arms up. You want to raise your arms just until they are over your chest and parallel to the floor–no higher. This move doesn’t just work your shoulder, it also targets your upper back.

5. Bent-Over Raise

You can either bend at the hips while standing or bend over while sitting on a chair, stool, or bench. Your arms will hang in front of you while holding weights in each hand. Then just like the lateral raise, you’ll lift the weights straight out to the side until your arms are parallel to the floor. Use your legs and core to stabilize your body and keep from swinging. Start with light weights for this exercise.

6. Arnold Press

Invented by the infamous Arnold Schwarzenegger, this press is a twist on the standard shoulder press. This move is crazy effective at building strong shoulders because it works all three sections of the deltoid muscle. Sit on a sturdy chair, stool, or bench. The starting position for this press will be a bit different from other presses. Hold the weights in front of you with your elbows at a 90 degree angle. Your palms should be facing you. As you press up, rotate your arms out into a traditional press. As you come back down, rotate them again and back down in front of you.

7. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are awesome because not only do they give your shoulders a great bodyweight workout, they also work your core and your obliques–actually, they hit almost every muscle group in your body! They also get your heart rate up which is great for fat loss.

Mountain climbers are done in plank position. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart. Keep your back flat, core engaged, and look a few inches above your hands to keep your head aligned. You’re going to alternate pulling each knee in towards your chest. Keep your hips down! The faster you go while maintaining correct posture the better of a workout you’ll get.

At-Home Shoulder Workout for a Strong Upper Body

I touched on some benefits of working your shoulders at the beginning of this post. But in case you need more convincing, here are some other benefits to having a strong upper body:

  • Strength-training boosts your heart health. Lifting weights is a great way to keep your ticker healthy, so don’t shy away from using weights and working your upper body!
  • With more muscle comes more calories burned. It’s true–muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even when you’re not working out. So bring on the weights!
  • It improves your posture and protects your bones. Working your shoulders helps strengthen your back, and a strong back (and upper body in general) is crucial for good posture. A strong upper body also helps protect your back from injuries AND protects your bones. As you get older, your bones start to lose their strength. But strength training can actually stimulate bone growth and reduce your risk of a hip fracture by up to 50%. Mic drop.


This post is part of the series “Best At-Home Workouts – Get Toned at Home.” Check out more posts from the series below.


We are not medical professionals. Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program or nutritional supplement.

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