Having broad, firm shoulders are an essential piece to a total body development workout. Shoulder work is often neglected in favor of more showy muscles such as the chest, arms, and abs. In some ways this is acceptable as shoulders receive a lot of indirect work from most compound exercises such as the bench press.
However, I do believe exercises that target the shoulders directly are necessary to develop the shoulder muscles to its maximum potential. I will highlight the top 5 exercises to achieve this outcome.
Exercise 1: Lateral raises. Grab a pair of dumbbells and raise them to the side until your arms are at a 90 degree angle. I prefer to execute this exercise while sitting as your body will be more tempted to use momentum by heaving upwards on the balls of your feet when standing.
Exercise 2: Military Presses. This one can be done with your choice of dumbbells or a barbell. Simply press the weight upwards over your head until your arms are near lockout. Like the lateral raise, I also prefer to do this one sitting.
Sometimes I will do military presses while sitting on the floor with my legs crossed. This forces nearly all the work to my shoulders and eliminates nearly all momentum.
Exercises 3: Jack Knife Push Ups. This is a body weight exercise and great if you don’t got access to a gym. Get in a push up position with your butt sticking as high in the air as possible. Your hands and feet should be much closer to each other.
Start whipping out push ups from this position. This exercise simulates the same movement as the military press, except your body is providing the resistance. I find this exercise to be much better when using a pair of push up handles.