The Best Exercises to Build Your Deltoid Muscles

Your deltoid muscles are the ones that give your upper arms a lot of their strength, as they are the ones that help you to raise your arms to the sides and over your head. They will also make you look wider and larger, so it’s important to build these muscles along with the rest of your upper body. Here are 5 excellent exercises to help you build your deltoid muscles.

Lateral Arm Raises

This is the simplest exercise to do for your deltoid muscles, but it’s also one of the hardest. You’ll find that you have little or no leverage for this exercise, and all of the power is going to come from your shoulders. Do this one regularly, and you’ll get a lot more strength in your shoulders.

Make sure to keep your back straight, and bring the dumbbells down to your sides as you lower them. Slowly lower them after bringing them up, and keep yourself from rocking or moving around too much. This will guarantee isolation and proper focus on the muscle.

Overhead Press

This is an exercise that will get both your shoulders and your chest muscles involved, so it’s useful if you’re trying to work out the muscle group rather than just focusing on the deltoids. It’s an exercise where you will see good progress in a short amount of time.

Be very careful with your lower back on this one, as you’ll be tempted to lean back. This can cause injuries to your back, so stand up perfectly straight. Also, don’t lock your elbows at the height of your press, as this is guaranteed to cause injuries.

Seated Arnold Press

Named after the Governator, this is one of the best exercises to build your deltoid muscles — along with your chest and traps. It’s going to be challenging at first, as the rotation of the weights can be awkward. However, with practice, it will become much easier and smoother.

Your wrists can be injured if you twist too hard or too quickly, so focus on moving slowly and properly. Start out with less weight, and slowly add more weight to your routines as you gain strength. It is strange to do this one standing up, so try it sitting down as you start working out.

Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises

The lateral arm raises just got harder, but far more focused on the shoulder muscles. This exercise guarantees that only your deltoid muscles will be used, and you’ll get excellent isolation for the muscle as you strain it.

Perform this movement with complete body control, and keep your back and stomach tight as you raise. You want to avoid straining your neck and back muscles, so make sure to use only your shoulders to lift. If you feel too much strain, lower the weight.

Behind the Neck Shoulder Press

This exercise will build your deltoid muscles along with your chest and traps, though most of the focus is on the delts. It can be done with fairly heavy weight eventually, but start out with less weight to avoid injuries.

You can injure your rotator cuff if you aren’t careful, so only bring it level with your ear before pressing it back up. You should feel the bar gently graze the back of your head, and your arms will slowly extend to raise the weight. Avoid locking your elbows at all costs!



  • For strength gain, do 4 to 6 reps per set.
  • For general fitness, do 12 to 15 reps per set.
  • For endurance and weight loss, do 20 to 25 reps per set.



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