Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

Shoulder Exercises to Sculpt and Tighten

Firm, chiseled shoulders not only help give you great posture but also make you look good. Learn how to get those shoulders moving in part 5 of WebMD's Fitness Series.
Font Size

Balance Is Important continued...


"No momentum should be involved in strength training whatsoever," she says.


Gunning advises people to work through a pain-free range of motion and progress slowly.


Flexibility can be an asset in increasing a limited range of motion, she says, so stretching is beneficial -- particularly for the anterior deltoid. Something as simple as doing reverse shoulder rolls very slowly can help open the shoulders.


These exercises came from exercise physiologist and ACE spokeswoman Kelli Calabrese, who owns Calabrese Consulting LLC.


Perform two to three sets, 10 to 15 repetitions per set, of each of the following exercises:

Lateral Raise (Works Medial Deltoid)

Shoulder Exercises example 1

Shoulder Exercises example 2

  • Stand with your feet together. With a dumbbell in each hand, slowly lift the arms up towards shoulder height so that you form a "T" shape.
  • Pause at the top of the range of motion and slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of the arms touching the hips. To make this exercise more challenging pause for two to three seconds at the top of the range of motion.
  • Be sure to keep your shoulders down as you are lifting your arms up.

Alternating Front Raise (Works Anterior Deltoid)

Shoulder Exercises example 3

Shoulder Exercises example 4

  • Stand with feet together and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing towards you.
  • Slowly raise your right hand up in front of you with a slight bend in your elbow.
  • Pause at the top when you reach shoulder height and slowly return to the starting position, stopping where there is still tension on the shoulder.
  • Complete all repetitions and then repeat on the left side.


To make this exercise more challenging, pause for two to three seconds at the top of the range of motion.

Prone Shoulder Extension (Works Posterior Deltoid)

Shoulder Exercises example 5

Shoulder Exercises example 6

  • Lie face down with your arms by your sides.
  • Place a dumbbell in each hand and turn your palms facing up.
  • Lift your arms up towards the ceiling pausing at the top of your range of motion.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, stopping just short of your hands touching the floor.

Tip: Always work the shoulders after your back or chest work since the shoulders are involved in all back and chest work. If you fatigue them first, you will not be fully challenging the larger muscles of the upper body.

1 | 2 | 3
Reviewed on December 01, 2005

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
man exercising
7 most effective exercises
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
woman walking
Taylor Lautner