Women's Shoulder Exercises

Shoulder exercises can add definition to your upper arms and shoulders, making them look great in sleeveless dresses and shirts. Such exercises also help relieve stress. The muscles in your shoulders are connected to your neck muscles, which store tension. You only need dumbbells for a complete shoulder workout, which can be done at home or at your local fitness center.


Warm Up and Stretch

Warm up your muscles before every workout to prevent injury. Run, jump rope or perform any aerobic activity that gets your heart rate up and your blood flowing. Do this for at least 10 to 15 minutes before lifting weights.

Stretch for 10 minutes before or after you exercise to increase your flexibility. The American Council on Exercise recommends stretching to decrease muscle stiffness and help reduce your risk of injury,

Sets and Reps

Complete a series of three sets of 15 repetitions for general firming and toning exercises, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Take 30- to 60-second breaks between each set.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The shoulder press is a compound movement that works several muscle groups. Starting your workout with a compound movement will warm up your muscles by working more than one joint through the range of motion, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Sit with your spine erect. Grasp the dumbbells in your hands. Position them at the sides of your shoulders with your elbows below your wrists. Press the dumbbells up, extending your arms overhead. Lower your arms to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Lateral Raise

A lateral raise is an isolation exercise. It works your lateral deltoids, which are in the midsection of your shoulders. These muscles cover the tops of your shoulders and connect to your upper arms.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs, bending your elbows slightly. Raise your arms so your elbows are shoulder height. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Front Raises

Stand with your back straight and a dumbbell in each hand. Position your arms in front of your thighs with your elbows straight. Lift one arm, keeping your elbow fixed, until the dumbbell is slightly higher than your shoulder. Return to the starting position and repeat with your other arm.


Shrugs work the large muscle in your neck and upper back that holds your head upright. This muscle is connected to your shoulders. Shrugs can reduce the chronic pain caused by repetitive office duties, according to Medical News Today. Shrugs also have the highest level of muscle activation, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your back straight and your arms at your sides. Raise your shoulders toward your ears. Tighten your muscles, hold the position and release. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.