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The Best Dumbbell Only Shoulder Workout

Your three-move workout to build bigger shoulders and improve muscular imbalances.
Dumbbell shoulder workout for building strength
Beth Bischoff
NEUTRAL GRIP OVERHEAD PRESS

101 Best Workouts Of All Time is the ultimate answer to the question "What workout should I do?" No matter what equipment you have available, from a fully-stocked supergym to a pair of mismatched dumbbells in your garage, or nothing but your body weight alone, you can build muscle, lose fat, and sculpt the physique you've always wanted.

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Your average trainer can think of only two ways to work your shoulders with dumbbells—presses and raises. We’ve got a third to add to the mix, and this three pronged attack can build shoulders as round and dense as cannonballs.

HOW IT WORKS

The first exercise, a neutral-grip overhead press, is the safest way to do any pressing movement. If you’ve backed off of shoulder work in the past because it hurt to execute, relief can be as simple as turning your palms to face each other. In this position, your upper-arm bones can glide through the shoulder joints without risk of impingement.You’ll follow this up with a variety of shoulder raises, ending with a crucifix hold, in which you keep your arms raised for  time. This is an exercise popular among strongman competitors, whose shoulders are the size of pumpkins. Finally, the workout ends with seated dumbbell cleans. If you’ve ever done power cleans, you know what exploding a weight up from the floor to shoulder level can do for your shoulders, and this variation isolates them more. It’s as simple to do as it sounds: heave the weights up. Brute force builds big shoulders.

THE WORKOUT [PAGE 2]

The Two-Move Shoulder Workout >>>

DIRECTIONS
Complete all sets for one exercise before moving on to the next.

1. NEUTRAL GRIP OVERHEAD PRESS
Sets: 5 Reps: 8 Rest: 60 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level with palms facing each other and elbows pointing forward. Brace your core and press the weights straight overhead. At the top, shrug your shoulders and hold for a second.

2. RAISE COMPLEX
Sets: 3 Reps: 12–15 Rest: See below
Hold dumbbells at your sides with palms facing you. Raise the weights up in front of you to shoulder level with thumbs pointing up. Complete 12–15 reps and then raise the weights out to your sides 90 degrees (bend your elbows a bit as you lift). Complete your reps and then switch to a lighter pair of dumbbells. Raise them out to your sides and up to ear level with straight arms and thumbs pointing up. Hold this position 30 seconds. Squeeze your glutes to help support you.

3. SEATED DUMBBELL CLEAN
Sets: 3 Reps: 12–15 Rest: 60 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit on the edge of a bench. Keeping your lower back flat, lean forward. Explosively straighten your body and shrug the weights so your arms rise. Allow the momentum to flip your wrists so you catch the weights at shoulder level.

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Men's Fitness training director Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., assembled a team of the best trainers in the world to create boredom-beating, plateau-busting routines that cover any amount of time you have to exercise and whatever tools you have available to do it. Programs cover every body part, every implement (barbells, dumbbells, bands, etc.), and cardio. There's a nutrition plan, too.

Pick up what Arnold Schwarzenegger called "a fantastic collection of workouts" at 101bestworkouts.com.
 

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