If you want to train your shoulders at home and have a couple of weights available, you have a great variety of exercises to choose from.
Your Shoulder Muscles
Before we get to the exercises let us examine what the muscles of your shoulder look like.
There are three of them and you can train them separately: the front (anterior), side (lateral) and rear (posterior) deltoid muscles.
Training The Front Delts
A front delt exercise that almost never leaves my workout plans is the military press. Not only does it train the anterior delt, but also the side delts, the upper back and the triceps. It even involves a bit of the clavicular (upper) portion of the chest.
If you don’t like to do them standing, they work as well when you are seated:
And if you don’t have a barbell, you can do the similar dumbbell shoulder presses:
Let’s move on to the barbell front raise. It targets the front portion of your shoulders, but also involves a bit of the side delts, the upper chest and the traps (the muscles running between shoulder and neck, check the first anatomy picture here).
Of course you can also do those with dumbbells, but I find the barbell variation more controllable.
Training The Side Delts
The first exercise we are looking at for the side delts is the dumbbell raise. It trains the side portion of the shoulder, but you also get the forearms involved and your traps.
The traps? Yes, they are involved enough that you have to watch out how often you do dumbbell raises. Too often and the traps become too big and you start looking like a sharpened pencil.
An alternative for the side delts that doesn’t get the traps working along is the side raise.
Finally, to isolate the side delts really well, try the lying side raise:
Training The Rear Delts
A very nice exercise for the rear shoulder muscle is the rear delt row, because it’s a compound that gets many muscles working along. You just have to make sure you use really good form. Otherwise you start exercising your back and not your rear shoulder.
Of course this exercise you can also do with a barbell. But keep an eye on your form. Keep your back straight and still and the arms perpendicular to your body!
Finally we have the lying rear delt raise that does awesome work in isolating the rear shoulder muscle. Just like its cousin the lying side raise does for the side delts. If you have trouble with your back, this is the rear delt exercise you should go for.