Top 10 Exercises for the Perfectly Toned Shoulders

Reviewed by: | Author: Manoja Kalakanti

The only way to look amazing on the beach, in that tight vest or the perfect sleeveless dress is by having a toned and lean body. Sadly, the only way to achieve it is by following diet plans to lose weight along with daily exercise for toning the abs, back and legs. But in this rush to tone the more visible and prominent muscles, the more important parts of the body, like the shoulders and upper back gets neglected resulting in a slouch and imperfect posture. Therefore, it is important to workout smartly, not only dedicatedly. Including a few shoulder toning exercises in your daily workout routine can help in achieving this end.

Exercises for the Perfectly Toned Shoulders

Vital Shoulder Muscles that need to be Trained

The dream of each and every bodybuilder is to have huge arms and shoulders. But it is necessary to know the mechanism of the shoulder movements and the anatomy of the shoulder in order to make the workouts more effective.

  • Shoulder movement not only involves the shoulder muscles, but also the upper back (thoracic spine), shoulder blades (scapulae) and shoulder joints (gleno-humeral joints).
  • All these parts work together to generate smooth upper body movement. Each joint depends on the movement of the other joint.
  • The two most important shoulder muscles are the deltoids and the rotator cuff.
  • The deltoids are the round muscles on the top of the shoulders. It is divided into three parts – anterior deltoids, posterior deltoids and middle deltoids.
  • The anterior deltoids are responsible for lifting the shoulder and for shoulder flexion.
  • The posterior deltoids help in shoulder extension and balance the anterior deltoids.
  • The middle deltoids are responsible for lifting the shoulders out to the sides.
  • Rotator Cuffs are the smaller muscles that are vital for keeping the shoulder strong.

Importance of Training the Shoulder Muscles

Concentrating on the abs, back and leg muscles is not enough for achieving the perfectly toned body. Here are a few reasons why you should train your shoulder as well.

  • The shoulder is the greatest movable joint in the body that is also highly unstable.
  • It holds the head and is involved in a wide range of movement and is, therefore, highly susceptible to injuries.
  • It is important to increase the strength, stability and flexibility of the shoulders with the help of muscles and ligaments.
  • It is essential to keep the rotator cuff muscles sturdy because they play and integral role in proper joint functioning.
  • Neglecting the shoulders while working other body parts can lead to slouching and deformed posture.

Effective Shoulder Toning Workouts Using Weights

These simple toning exercises don’t call for gym equipment; you can do it easily in the luxury of your bedroom or drawing room. All you will need is a few sets of dumbbells of varying weights.

Chest Fly

The Chest Fly is an extremely common weight exercise for gym goers. This is the best exercise for arms and shoulders that help in toning fat arms. This workout requires a pair of light weight dumbbells. Lie on back on an exercise mat. Bent your knees and keep your feet on the mat. Grab the dumbbells in both hands and raise and join your hands above your chest keeping your elbows marginally bent and bring them down to your sides but don’t rest them on the floor.


This will make one repetition. Wait for 2 seconds and raise your arms again. Feel the tension build in your biceps, triceps and shoulder muscles. Repeat this movement 30 to 50 times at a stretch and slowly increase the intensity.

Overhead Triceps Extensions

Routine exercise is one of the natural ways to lose weight in a healthy way that works in the long term. The Overhead Triceps Extensions is one of the popular shoulder exercises for men and women which can be done even in the luxury of your home. The requisite for this workout is a heavy dumbbell. Stand straight with your feet kept hips width apart and the dumbbell held above your head with both arms.


Now bring the dumbbell down behind your head by bending your elbows and raise it up again by extending up your forearm. But do keep your elbows stationary. Repeat this entire move 30 to 50 times at a stretch. Feel the tension and ache in your upper arms, shoulders and upper back muscles. If the exercise feels too laid back for you, try increasing the weight of the dumbbell.

Bent Over Rows

The best exercises for arms and shoulders must include the Bent Over Rows. This workout helps in toning the back, shoulder muscles and triceps. The prerequisite for this workout is a pair of 10 lbs dumbbells. Stand straight with your feet placed hip width apart, holding the dumbbells in the hands.


Now bend a bit forward so that your spine is straight and your arms hanging on your sides. Tighten your shoulder blades and pull the dumbbells upward by bending your elbows. Your arms should be bent in a way such that the elbows must in a straight line with your shoulder. Now, slowly lower your arms. This makes one repetition. The entire movement should be like rowing a boat. Repeat it 30 to 50 times at a stretch.

Shoulder Cycles

Although cardio workouts are the best way to burn calories, when it comes to shaping the shoulders and arms, body toning exercises are the best option. The Shoulder Cycle is one of the most effective shoulder exercises for women and men alike that helps in toning the entire upper body right from the arms to shoulders and upper back. The requirement for this workout is a pair of medium weight dumbbells.

shoulder cycles

Stand straight with your feet placed hip width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Raise your arms straight in front so that they are parallel to the floor. Now, open your arms out on both sides, so they are aligned with the shoulders and bring them back to the starting position. This makes one repetition. Repeat this entire move 30 to 50 times at a stretch. This is a kind of simple drill that helps a lot in toning the body.

Push Press

Push up exercises are another effective genre of workouts for toning the whole body, but it is difficult to perform and requires a lot of practice to do it perfectly. On the contrary, the push press is a simple and easy to do exercise that effectively works the deltoids and strengthens the shoulder muscles.


The equipment essential for this workout is a bench and a set of medium weight dumbbells. Sit at the side of a bench keeping your core engaged and spine straight. Grasp the dumbbells in each hand and keep them at the height of your shoulder by bending your elbows. Now, raise your arms up in the direction of the ceiling and gradually lower your arms to the side of your shoulders. This makes one repetition. Repeat this move 30 to 50 times at a stretch.

Alternating Lateral Raise

Popular arm exercises often include Alternating Lateral Raises, which helps you get perfectly toned arms and back for that sleeveless dress. For this fat burning workout, you will need a pair of lightweight dumbbells. Stand straight with your feet placed slightly apart and hold the dumbbells in two hands.

Alternating Lateral Raise

Now, raise both the hands to your sides such that the hands are in a straight line with the shoulders. Now, lower one arm to the hip while keeping your core engaged and slowly raise it back. Lower another hand to the hips and slowly raise it back. This entire series of moves makes one repetition. Repeat this entire set 30 to 50 times at a stretch for perfectly sculpted shoulders and arms.

Upright Row

The rowing movement is often included in gym shoulder workout plans in order to tone the shoulder muscles. Just like calisthenics exercise, it helps in burning fat and shaping the loose muscles and tissues. The Upright Row is one such shoulder exercise that mimics the rowing movement. The equipment needed for this exercise is a set of medium weight dumbbells.


Stand straight with feet slightly apart. Hold the dumbbells in your hands and keep your hands on your sides. Now, slowly pull the dumbbells up by bending your elbows but keeping your wrists neutral. Bring it up to your breasts and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. This makes one repetition. Repeat this workout 30 to 50 times at a stretch for best results.

Ball Pulls

Modern fitness exercises and stretching workouts frequently make use of stability balls for increasing the effectiveness of the moves. The Ball Pull is an easy and fun way of stretching and toning the arms, shoulders, upper back and pelvis. This move also helps in relieving lower back pain.

swiss ball exercises

Kneel on the exercise mat with a stability ball placed in front. Rest your forearms on the ball keeping them shoulder width apart. Move the ball away from your body as your chest and pelvis drops towards the floor. See to it that your back is fully extended. Be in this posture for 5 seconds and come back to the starting position. This makes one repetition. Repeat it 20 to 30 times at a stretch.

Pull Overs with Dumbbells

The best body exercises for toning the triceps and shoulders must include Pullovers with Dumbbells. This intense stretching exercise helps in shaping the chest, upper arms and shoulder muscles effectively. Lie face up on an exercise mat grabbing a medium weight dumbbell. Keep your knees bend and your feet on the floor.

Pull Overs with Dumbbells

Grab the dumbbell with both hands over your chest and slowly lower it behind your head, but be mindful so that it doesn’t touch the floor, wait for 5 seconds. Feel the tension and pull in your arms, shoulders and oblique muscles. Gradually bring it back to the initial position above your chest. This makes one repetition. Repeat this move 30 to 50 times at a stretch.

Shoulder Shrugs

The Shoulder Shrug is by far the easiest exercise for toning the shoulder muscles, but it finds place in various workout plans and warm up exercises because of its effectiveness. The equipment required for doing this exercise is a pair of 5 lb dumbbells. Stand straight with your feet placed hip width apart and your hands on your side, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Now, pull your shoulders up towards your ear while keeping your core engaged and your arms straight, wait till a count of 3 seconds and relax your shoulders. This is one repetition. Do this exercise 20 to 30 times at a stretch.



Try out these easy shoulder toning exercises and include them in your workout regime to get the perfectly toned shoulders and chiseled back and arms before summer arrives.

Top 10 Shoulder Toning Exercises for Toned Shoulders – PDF

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