Bodyweight TV dumbbells Muscle Mass Strength

Unique Dumbbell Exercises For Smokin’ Shoulders

Written by shapeshifter

The shoulders are a focal point in the ratio that defines the attractiveness of the human body — a ratio which holds true across cultures, eras, and civilizations. And best of all, focusing on shoulder development can yield visually impressive physique changes in very little time.

Everyone knows that a well sculpted set of shoulders is one of the cornerstones of a great looking physique. This is true for both men and women. It’s something we take for granted. But few have ever stopped to ask why.

So what makes sculpted shoulders so hot?

Anthropology, baybee! The shoulders are a focal point in the ratio that defines the attractiveness of the human body — a ratio which holds true across cultures, eras, and civilizations. And best of all, focusing on shoulder development can yield visually impressive physique changes in very little time.

Our colleague and frequent guest coach John Barban has an extensive arsenal of very effective shoulder sculpting exercises. We asked him to share a few of his favourites that you can do at home with a pair of dumbbells.

These exercises may not be as portable as our bodyweight programs. But dumbbells are a great option for adding external resistance at home. They’re cheap, easy to store and extremely versatile. AND you’ll find them in most hotel gyms.

Try adding a few of these exercise variations to your arsenal — and watch your physique reshape itself before your very eyes.

John’s Favourite Dumbbell Shoulder Exercises

What’s YOUR favourite shoulder exercise? Let us know in the comments.

And if you have any questions for John, you can drop them in the comments as well. We’ll make sure he pokes his nose in a few times to help you out.

About the author



  • The accoustics in the exercize room where this video was made are so bad that I couldn’t understand the dialog!!

  • Great exercises – thanks for sharing. I’m going to combine the first one in a tabata workout this afrternoon. I have a question: I love the little bit of intro/outro music. What is the track called & where can i find it?

  • Theres a lot of echo while the person was talking,i have got a realtek audio manager on my computer and couldnot adjust the sound to suite me.i agree with what Douglas said

  • Sound was fine for me despite a slight echo. These look like great shoulder exercises. I will try them in a couple of months due to my rotator cuff tendinitis.

  • John great exercises.

    The reason why the 1/4 squat raises fry the delts is because you take out the stabilizer muscles (obliques) from the exrecises by quarter squating.

    Also I think it would be better if you added the 1/4 squat on the front raise then did the bent over raise on the combo exercise.

    Either way great info, keep em coming.

  • I have a cheesy little computer with rinky-dink speakers, and I understood every word that John spoke. These are deltoid variations that I have not yet come across in the many weight-lifting manuals that I’ve read. So, Thank You, John, for sharing your creativity with us. I’m looking forward to more suggestions from you. Best Wishes and continued success.

  • one of my favorite shoulder exercises is to grab a pair of dumbells, weight ranging from 5 to 15 and raise your arms behind you so they are sideways parrallell to the ground and bend your hips outwards like you are about to setup to hit a golf shot and hold it for 30 seconds each for 5 reps. and the other workout is to raise your arms up to your shoulders. you should look like the capital letter T and bend your hips outwards like your going to hit a golf shot and hold for 30 seconds each rep. do a total of 5 reps. good luck in training

    Ps: good exercise for entire back and shoulders

  • In the end it just comes down to brief and intense sessions, nothing fancy needed. I see so many exercises used by people who would be better served by simply putting more effort into a consistent routine!

    • “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” my friend. My favorite shoulder exercise would be have to be handstand pushups. Simple, effective, can be used anywhere. Doesn’t get more brilliant than that. And I agree the key to anything is hard work. People just like doing something “new” all the time because they’re just looking for a thrill instead of actually improving.

  • The sound on my system was a bit “tinny”, but understandable. I think it’s just one of those things.

    These are interesting exercise variations! I think they would add a lot of interest and variety to a fitness and health regimen…at this point, I just worry about putting too much volume and demand on the shoulders while I am working on Ryan Hurst’s “P1” routine. But I’ll keep these in mind.

  • Tim, that’s what I am saying as it can be difficult in our world today to convince people that they don’t have to confuse their muscles (ha ha ha) every time they step into a gym for their 30 different exercise routine-of-the-day! Unfortunately people feel the need to be entertained primarily and everything else is secondary to that. My brother makes a crap load of money doing just that, but where are the results? None of his male clientele even attempts a pull-up, ever! He’s told me that “you should just give the clients what they think they want”. I think that one reason you don’t see HIT much any more is that it is simply too hard for today’s puff cakes.

    • lol couldn’t have said it any better myself brother. You’re exactly right, people just enjoy the idea of being fit not the reality. Not the hard work (which I personally find fun) to get in peak performance. “confusing the muscles” is for those who don’t really want to improve. Just pick something and just do it. And yeah, HIIT doesn’t appeal to the average person (aka couch potato) because they have to work. You see BS commercials all the time about getting fit by just walking so you don’t “stress your joints” or “painful crunches” ha ha or whatever garbage they’re selling. People try to “invent” fitness when it human fitness has been around since Adam and Eve when sprinting after a meal or sprinting from becoming a meal was the name of the game ha ha. Its not hard to find ways to challenge your body, its a matter of doing it. Thanks again for the intelligent post Erik.

  • Enjoy the new variations and I will give them a try tomorrow. As a professional video producer, I agree that your sound isn’t of high quality. Perhaps invest in a wireless lav microphone and wear it on your waist. You will be amazed at the professional sound quality and the mics can be used for years. I recommend the Sennheiser 100GW series. If I can help you, let me know! Jon

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.