The 7 Best Dumbbell Shoulder Workout for Women

The 7 Best Dumbbell Shoulder Workout for Women

We all know that the right workout is a big deal. But what we often overlook is that the best workout for us doesn’t always have to be the hardest one. Sometimes, a gentler routine can do wonders for our bodies. In this guide, we’ll show you the best 30-minute shoulder workouts for women that will get your shoulders moving and toned in no time.

Read Also: The Best Workout for Women Over 50


Benefits of shoulder workouts for women

A few simple exercises can help prevent shoulder injuries. This is one of those simple tasks that we rarely think about, but can have a huge impact on your life.

Train multiple upper body muscles. Several of the exercises that engage the shoulder muscles also work the other muscles in your arms. Specifically your other ‘push muscles’ — chest and triceps.

Toned arms are great! In fact, strength training can have more benefits than simply looking good. However, these shoulder exercises are specifically designed to target the shoulder muscles from multiple angles to create definition and tone the arms.

Build shoulder workout for woman at home

Tone your shoulders with dumbbells by doing these seven exercises for shoulders. No bench, barbell or fancy gym equipment needed! The most important shoulder muscles in the upper arm are the deltoid muscles and the four rotator cuff muscles:

  1. Subscapularis
  2. Supraspinatus
  3. Infraspinatus
  4. Teres minor muscles

The muscles in the shoulder can often get overlooked by the general population, even those involved in sports. However, they’re an important part of your overall body that need to be trained to ensure their optimal performance.

Especially if you want to avoid a rotator cuff injury.

What weight dumbbell should women use?

How heavy should your dumbbells be? That all depends on your fitness level, experience and goals.

Beginner: start with 5 lb dumbbells for this shoulder workout.

Intermediate: start with 8-10 lb dumbbells for these shoulder exercises.

Advanced: if you’re looking to really build shoulder hypertrophy (muscle building), use 15-20 lb dumbbells for this shoulder workout.

30-Minute Shoulder Workout for Women

Again this all depends on your fitness level, experience and goals. On average, I would suggest lifting weights three days a week.

If you’re strength training three times a week, you can expect to see noticeable muscle growth within six to eight weeks of starting a new strength training routine.

Sculpt your shoulders and build strong, toned arms with these 7 best dumbbell shoulder exercises for women.

From shoulder presses to lateral raises, this30-minute shoulder workout for women specifically targets all heads of the shoulder (but also engages the chest and triceps too).

Add this dumbbell shoulder workout to your strength training routine once every couple weeks.

Workout Equipment:

Medium to heavy pair of dumbbells. I recommend between 5-20 lb dumbbells. I used 10, 12, 15 and 20 lbs.

Note, if you don’t have dumbbells, you can do the majority of these shoulder exercises with a resistance band.

Workout Instructions:

The 30-Minute Shoulder Workout for Women looks like this:

  • 7 Dumbbell Shoulder Exercises
  • 10 Reps Per Shoulder Exercise
  • Repeat x3 Sets

Note, this shoulder workout will test your grip strength; set the dumbbells down between each exercise to shake out your grip.

The 7 Best Dumbbell Shoulder Workout for Women

1. Arnold Press

arnold press

Targets: The deltoids (the triangular muscles on top of your shoulders).

How to do an Arnold Press with weights:

Hold both dumbbells with an underhand grip (palms facing you), elbows at shoulder height in front of your body and dumbbells at about eye level. Engage your core and maintain a slight bend in your knees to protect your low back as you press the dumbbells overhead.

It’s a big, full range of motion. In yoga, drawling a half circle with your hands before you press overhead is a great way to start stretching. Then reverse the motion, rotating your wrists inward (ending with palms facing you) as you lower down to the starting position.

Aim to keep your arms straight and to your sides when doing bicep curls. That’s one rep. Repeat for 10 reps.


2. Push Press


Targets: The shoulders, triceps, rear delts and upper back muscles (with some assistance from the lower body).

How to do a Dumbbell Push Press:

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bend in your knees and hold the dumbbells at shoulder level, palms facing in towards each other.

Drop into a shallow squat; about 2 inches dip. Push through your heels and extend your arms fully to lift a pair of dumbbells over your head.

Think of peeking your head through your arms as you lock out the dumbbells overhead. Lower the dumbbells down to the starting position at shoulder level and repeat.

Do you like lifting weights? Do you think you could get stronger? Maybe you don’t even know how to start? That’s ok! We’ve got you covered.


3. Upright Row and Front Raise

upright row

Targets: Shoulders and upper back; specificallythe front and middle heads of the deltoids (shoulders), as well as the trapezius and rhomboids (back).

How to do a Dumbbell Upright Row and Dumbbell Front Raise:

To begin, start with your feet hip-width apart, bend slightly in your knees. Keep your upper arms parallel to the floor and hold the weights, palms facing towards your body. Now, lift the weights up so that your elbows reach shoulder height.

As you pull the dumbbells up, focus on pulling your shoulder blades down. You should be in a position with your shoulders pulled down and back. This will provide the most resistance to the weight of the dumbbells and help you push out the air from your lungs.

This is an upright row exercise. In an upright row, keep your arms straight and lift the dumbbells straight up in front of your body until they are at your shoulder height. Keep your arms straight, lower the weights back down, and land them in front of your thighs.

This is a front raise. The combination of these two shoulder exercises is one rep. Perform ten repetitions.


4. Neutral Grip Press and 2-Count Goal Post Drop

neutral grip press

Targets: Both the anterior and lateral heads of the deltoid.

How to do a Neutral Grip Overhead Press + Goal Post Drop:

Start standing with feet shoulder width apart, slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows in line with your shoulders, palms facing in towards each other (neutral grip). Press the dumbbells straight overhead, keeping elbows narrow.

Rotate the dumbbells so your palms face towards your body. As you lower the dumbbells, keep your elbows in line with your shoulders, not dropping them down.

At the bottom of the goal post, rotate the dumbbells so palms face in towards each other like they did at the start of the movement. That’s one rep. Keep repeating the exercise until you finish the ten reps.


5. Lateral Raises

Lateral rais

Targets: The lateral deltoid (also engages the anterior deltoids and posterior deltoid).

The lateral raise is a great isolated shoulder exercise.

How to do a dumbbell Lateral Raise:

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand at chest level, palms facing outwards. Squeeze to lift the dumbbells slightly rotating them as you lift so the dumbbells end parallel to the floor. This is a simple version of the standard bench press movement.

Start with a light dumbbell, such as a 5-pound (2.3 kg) dumbbell. Your aim is to lift it to just below shoulder level with your arm in line with your body, then lower it back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do that 10 times with each arm and you’ve got 10 reps.


6. Uneven Push Up and Shoulder Tap

uneven push-up

Targets: The pectorals (chest), deltoids (shoulders), triceps and core (specifically the transverse abdominals and obliques).

Theuneven push-up is a great way to add intensity to challenge the core while also targeting the muscles from different angles.

How to do an Uneven Push Up + Shoulder Tap:

Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed between your fingers.

Pull your kneecaps up towards your belly. Then place your right hand on top of a stable surface such as the head of your 20 lb dumbbell.

The high plank holds the plank at a 90-degree angle with the floor. The goal is to maintain a straight line from head to feet. The challenge is keeping the feet flat on the floor and not letting them wobble side to side.

To start your push up exercise, slowly lower your chest down towards the floor. The elbows should fall backward, back to the hips. As you get to the bottom of your push-up, exhale as you push yourself back up to a high plank position.

Take a tight core, take your left hand off the mat and tap your right shoulder. Keep both hips stable and square to the ground. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps on the right hand and 10 reps on the left hand.

Modification: Perform the push ups from the knees and then pop back up to the toes for the shoulder tap if you can. Or perform the push ups and shoulder taps from an incline by placing your hands on a chair or bench.


7. Half Kneeling Hinge and Single Arm Shoulder Press

half kneeling hinge

Targets: The rear deltoids and front deltoids (shoulders) and core.

A great exercise to increase unilateral (single-sided) demands of stability and strength on the shoulder muscles.

How to do a Half Kneeling Hinge and Single Arm Shoulder Press:

Start in a half kneeling position — right knee on the ground and left foot on the ground. Hold one dumbbell in the right hand with a neutral grip (palm facing your body). Perform a half kneeling hinge swing by hinging at the hips with the dumbbell between your legs.

First, drive your hips forward, powering the dumbbell up to your right shoulder; elbow in line with your shoulder (maintaining a neutral grip). From here, perform a single arm dumbbell shoulder press. Press the dumbbell straight overhead, locking out the elbow, right bicep should be near right ear.

Slowly lower the weight back down and return it to the starting position with the weight between your legs. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps on the right shoulder and then do the same number of reps on the left shoulder.