Shoulder Training--Top 10 Tips to
Increase Your Shoulder Strength
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Last updated July 16, 2017, originally updated February 8, 2011
By Ken Marsh, Contributing Columnist and Editors, MangoBoss

Your shoulders are one of the workhorses of your body. Reach for a
can of soup on a shelf above your head or pick up a laptop -- almost
every single motion you make with your arms involves your shoulders.
And yet, shoulders are one of the most neglected parts of your body.
Most of us only think of our shoulders when they start to hurt.  

But did you know that neglecting your shoulders can bring you a
lifetime of misery. And if you're a professional athlete or committed
gym rat, neglecting your shoulders can end your athletic career.  
According to a study carried out by Dr. Stephan B. Cohen, which
focuses on professional baseball players, only 18% of players who
endure a shoulder injury are able to make a comeback as professional

These 10 tips will help you increase shoulder strength without taking
the risks that could jeopardize your physical abilities. Take caution to
consult your doctor before beginning any strenuous physical activity,
as your respiratory and cardiac health are closely tied to any muscle
building routine. While working out your shoulders may pose certain
benefits, one must always be careful to follow exercise routines with
great care so as to avoid injury.

The primary muscles that people are typically concerned with when
building up their shoulder strength are their deltoids and their triceps.
While these are not the only muscle groups that are affected with some
of these tips, they are primary targets for the following exercises.

These tips are designed for both men and women. While men prove to
be significantly stronger in all age categories, according to a study
conducted by doctors from McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Health
Center in 2008, which assessed shoulder function in both men and
women aged 18 to 60, there are still many ways that both sexes can
increase their strength to levels they may have never achieved before.
Either by using free weights, resistance technology, with yoga, or any
number of other sports, it is possible to focus on shoulder strength
with a great amount of success.

Secrets to Perfect Shoulder Training

There are 3 keys to perfect shoulder training:

  • Flexibility and Range of Motion. Some of your workout must be
    devoted to maintaining and then extending a normal range of
    circular motion to prevent rotator cup injury. You should always
    warm your shoulder up gently by stretching and doing shoulder
    rolls before a workout.

  • Lifting Strength. Use about 50% of your time on working towards
    optimal shoulder strength. What's optimal? Enough shoulder
    strength to enable you to do an average number of pull-ups. To
    reach an average number of pull-ups, you will need to increase
    the strength of your anterior and posterior deltoids and of course
    maintain a healthy body weight. The biggest mistake people make
    in trying to increase shoulder strength is to overdo it. Men should
    start with a weight that exhausts the shoulder after 8 reps to 12
    reps and do not increase it for 2 weeks. Women should start with
    the lightest weight --2 pounds -- and stay with that weight for 2
    weeks. Then, graduate to 5 pounds. And always, always, always
    rest your shoulder for 1 to 2 days between work-outs.

  • Posture. Your shoulders should be strong enough to hold up your
    arms and neck and your upper spine. Maintain a relaxed but
    upright position of your shoulders during the day. Avoid slumping
    forward when you are using your laptops. Avoid carrying heavy
    book bags or briefcases that pull your shoulders too far back or

10 Tips to Increase Your Shoulder Strength

1.       Push Press. The push press is one of many weight routines that
can be conducted with a barbell and some free weights, as well as a
standard workout bench. You’ll want to do at least four sets of twelve
repetitions if you want this exercise to be effective, according to
Meghan Clark, a personal trainer with a degree from Texas A & M
University. As you lower the barbell to your chest, push forward with
your feet firmly pressed against the ground. Have someone close by to
help in case you encounter problems.

Towel Pull-ups.   Towel pull-ups are a great way to do ordinary
pull-ups that don’t just focus on the main muscle groups. By following
these steps, you can effectively focus on the smaller muscle groups that
surround the joint, thereby reducing your risk of injury.

By hanging two towels from a pull up bar and hanging from them while
simultaneously pulling yourself upwards, you are able to increase
shoulder strength while also greatly improving your grip strength.
grip strength, studies have found, actually is strongly linked to your
overall longevity.

Push up walkovers. This particular exercise is similar to ordinary
push-ups, but tends to focus more closely on shoulder stability. With a
12-14 inch box, you’ll be focusing in on push-ups that are reliant on
both the left shoulder and right shoulder at different intervals,

With your feet at around the middle of the box, and with one hand on
the elevated surface while the other supports your body on the floor,
you’ll want to conduct sets of push-ups as you normally might.

Overhead press. The overhead press is a popular exercise that
also involves free weights or a barbell. According to a Men’s Health
Magazine article from 2005, your shoulders need rest in order to grow.
Working out your shoulders more than twice a week might actually be
too much. Hence, following the overhead press is something that you
should establish a manageable working schedule that doesn’t
negatively afflict your body.

 Squat Using Resistance Bands. Resistance bands are a great way
to work on muscle strength that focuses on specific muscle groups.
One such example involves stepping on a resistance band while
performing a squatting motion while simultaneously holding the band
at shoulder height. This exercise should be repeated in at least three
sets of ten reps according to the American Journalism of Sports
Medicine, studies conducted from 1984-87.

Lateral rows.  Lateral rows are another great way to work on
shoulder strength with a simple tool, the resistance band. Slightly bend
your knees and step on the resistance band. Grasp each end of the
band with a neutral grip and extend arms out to your side in a slow and
controlled motion. Your elbows should only be slightly bent. According
to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg, children alone account for 3.5
million injuries a year due to sports and other physical activities. For
this reason, it is vital to follow specific instruction when conducting any
exercise routine.

Plate Raises.  Plate movements and raises are another great way
to use free weights in order to improve shoulder strength. Plate raises,
for instance, require that you stand in a squatted position while
exploding upward with a plate of adequate weight between your
hands. Bring the plate to eye level and slowly lower the plate in a
controlled motion. Repeat in sets of three, as with most weight

Yoga Shoulder Stand. There are certain yoga moves that help
build shoulder strength in addition to building flexibility and stamina in
the body. According to a 2003 survey conducted by the Sporting Good
Manufacturers Association, approximately 13.4 million American
practice yoga. The shoulder stand is one of many difficult but relaxing
poses. You may also try the plow pose, which also starts from a laying
down position. Lift your legs up and above you so that your toes might
touch the floor behind you. Keep hips and shoulders aligned while
continuing to breath in a slow and controlled motion.

Yoga Downward Dog.  Another yoga pose that is typically
integrated into the Sun Salutation Sequence, which also focuses on arm
and shoulder strength, is called Downward-facing dog.

Though technically considered a resting pose, you will find that
improving shoulder strength occurs naturally while you engage in this
particular pose.

10.        Another extremely popular yoga pose that focuses on shoulder
strength is the bridge pose. With a yoga mat and folded towel in order
to protect the neck, this pose begins by bending the knees and
grounding the feet on the floor. Place the heels as close to the sit bone
as possible. At this point, you’ll be lifting from your tailbone upwards
and pushing your buttocks off the floor. This pose helps relieve back
and neck pain while also improving shoulder strength, according to the
Yoga Journal.

Coaches, doctors, and athletic trainers are just a few of the people who
can help guide you into a regular program for improving your muscle
strength, as well as particular muscle groups such as the deltoids and
triceps around your shoulders. While these tips are helpful for people
looking to use tools and workout routines to help stabilize and build
muscles, they are only helpful when followed routinely and with
professional guidance as suggested by the American Orthopedic Society
for Sports Medicine.

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