Shoulder isolation exercises are designed to target the muscles located within the shoulder joint itself. These muscles include your deltoid and rotator cuff, among others. Using exercises that isolate these specific muscles will provide benefits including greater muscle growth and improved mobility in your shoulders, as well as better posture.
When it comes to tackling your shoulders, most people prefer to go with exercises that involve the use of multiple muscle groups. While this is a good way to get in your full-body workout, they aren’t the best when trying to grow and tone your shoulders.
Here are 5 shoulder isolation exercises you should add to your routine:
1. Seated dumbbell rear delt fly
The seated dumbbell rear delt fly is a shoulder exercise that is great for building shoulder width and preventing injury in both the rotator cuff and the shoulder joint. The seated dumbbell rear delt fly helps build balanced muscles in your shoulders and will help ensure proper form when performing other exercises such as the standing dumbbell lateral raise or the seated dumbbell press.
They are easy to set up, require very little space, and don’t need any fancy equipment. It’s one of the best exercises for a beginner who is focusing on rear delt development.
Here is how you do a perfect seated dumbbell rear delt fly:
- Sit on the edge of a bench with your feet flat on the floor and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your thighs.
- Bend forward at the hips about 45 degrees, keeping your back straight.
- Let the dumbbells hang straight down from your shoulders, then raise them out to the sides in a wide arc until your arms are parallel to the floor.
- Reverse the motion, bringing the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
The seated dumbbell rear delt fly is a great exercise for building shoulders and preventing injury, especially if you already have a bad posture. If you’re looking to add some exercises to your routine that aren’t bench-presses or push-ups, consider adding the seated dumbbell rear delt fly to your workout, or even just use it as an extra move at the end of your workout instead of just a warm-up.
2. Dumbbell front raise
One exercise that comes to mind when people think of “arms” is the dumbbell front raise. This exercise is great for building size in your front delts. The best part is that you don’t need a spotter or special equipment to do this exercise so you can do it just about anywhere.
To do dumbbell front raise:
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs.
- Keeping your back straight and your core engaged, raise the dumbbells in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor.
- Hold for a count of two and then lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10-12 reps.
If you’re looking for a great exercise to bust out your shoulders then the dumbbell front raise is the exercise for you. Whether you do it at home or in the gym this exercise will get your front delts standing out and add lots of size. Just be sure to keep a good posture while doing this exercise or else you risk injuring yourself.
3. Dumbbell lateral raise
The dumbbell lateral raise is a great exercise for your shoulders that can be performed standing or sitting down. The standing variation is the best one to really target your middle delts, while the seated one is good for beginners or people with shoulder problems.
Dumbbell lateral raise work wonders for all shoulder muscles, including deltoids, infraspinatus and teres minor. Here’s how to perform a dumbbell lateral raise:
- Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs.
- Keeping your back straight and your core engaged, raise your arms out to the side until they’re parallel with the ground.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when performing dumbbell lateral raises:
- Use a light weight to start with and gradually increase the amount of weight as you get stronger.
- Keep your shoulders down and your core engaged throughout the entire exercise.
- Don’t swing the dumbbells up; use your muscles to raise them slowly and controlled.
The dumbbell lateral raise is an excellent exercise for developing the contours of your shoulders. It targets both your anterior and posterior deltoids, making it a great multi-functionality exercise for your shoulders. If you want to develop great shoulder muscles, then this is the exercise for which you have been looking!
4. Cable rear delt fly
Cable rear delt fly is a great exercise for the back and shoulders. If you want to build up your shoulders, this is an exercise that cannot be missed. Many people overlook rear delt fly as it is challenging to do with proper form. However, if you do it correctly, it can help you achieve that perfect V-shape in your shoulders.
To do this move you’ll use your lats, the rhomboids in your back, teres major and minor, the posterior deltoids in the middle of the back, and infraspinatus.
To do cable rear delt fly:
- Attach a single handle to a low pulley.
- Grasp the handle with your right hand and step forward so that your arm is extended in front of you and your side is facing the weight stack.
- Bend your elbow and raise your arm until it is in line with your back.
- From this position, exhale and slowly fly your arm back and up until your elbow is above your shoulder.
- Inhale and return to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and then repeat with the left arm.
Cable rear delt fly is a great exercise to work the posterior of your shoulders. It can help you get the perfect V-shape that tons of bodybuilders, lifters and athletes strive for. The benefit of this exercise is that it gives you a complete workout for all your back muscles as well. You don’t just work the shoulders; you use many back working muscles as well.
5. Cable front raise
Cable front raise is an isolation exercise with a high degree of difficulty. It’s an isolation exercise that requires very little body movement — only the arms move. Cable front raise can be performed either with a straight bar or rope, or a rope attached to pegs. Because your shoulders and core are engaged during this exercise, the benefits of cable front raise include the strengthening of the shoulders, upper back and abdominal muscles in particular.
Here is how you do cable front raise:
- Attach a rope or bar to the low pulley of a cable machine.
- Grasp the rope or bar with an overhand grip, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your abdominal muscles pulled in and your back straight, raise your arms in front of you until they are parallel to the ground.
- Pause, and then slowly lower your arms to the starting position.
Cable front raise is a popular exercise that many people recognize from the gym. It’s an effective upper body exercise with a large number of variations, especially if you use both a straight bar and rope. Because it has so many different options, it can be used by both beginners and seasoned lifters. However, before using cable front raise for the first time, or before attempting this exercise with greater weight or higher repetitions, you should focus on mastering the technique used for lighter amounts of weight.
Overall, you’re going to want to try and execute these shoulder isolation exercises with perfect form to get the best results. Research has shown that these can help enhance muscle growth, mobility and balance, along with improving your posture. Hopefully, this post was helped show you which exercises are most effective at targeting your shoulders.