Shoulders are a critical muscle to the body. Their location is prominent and it is rather obvious if the shoulders are underdeveloped in relation to the rest of your body. Additionally they are important in so many motions and movements that having strong shoulders benefits other lifts along with activities.
With that in mind, if you could only do one exercise, what would the best shoulder exercise be?
The muscle has three heads and is often worked using three to four exercises by the majority of people. Because of that you have to logically pick an exercise that encompasses the majority of the shoulder girdle if it is truly the best shoulder exercise. Let’s look at some of the top options before coming to a conclusion.
Best Shoulder Exercises
- Push Press – This is a great mass building exercise because it allows you to use heavy weight. It primarily works the front deltoid but the side and rear also get some work in supporting and controlling a heavy weight.
- Arnold Press – While not actually created by Arnold, this exercise when done properly hits all three heads of the shoulder in an excellent manner.
- Front Rows – A personal favorite, the front row is great for the front and side deltoid along with the traps. Unlike pressing motions, this movement really works the tie-ins well.
- Hanging Clean and Press – This is a unique combo exercise that has recently gotten more press from CrossFit utilizing it. You can use a barbell or dumbbell and you start by cleaning the weight to the shoulders and then using a push press to get it over head which essentially combines two movements.
- Dublin Press – This is a specific version of the dumbbell shoulder press. Instead of bringing the dumbbells up and together you press them up and out which makes the other heads of the muscle work harder to control the weight.
From this list it is actually very hard to find a single best exercise. All of them have positive aspects to working the majority of the shoulders in a single session. So who is the winner?
The Bottom Line
If you had to choose just one of these out of the best shoulder exercises it would have to be the hanging clean and press. There are a few reasons that go into this. To start with, this exercise is more of a full body exercise that incorporates other aspects of the body. Full body movements are generally superior exercises because they help boost the metabolism and testosterone production in the body. Also this exercise really combines a pull and a press so you are hitting the muscles in a unique and more complete manner with heavy weight. This exercise works with explosion and coordination as well.
So when you consider all of those factors, the best shoulder exercise has to be the hanging clean and press. It does more for the entire shoulder girdle and is much more versatile to fit within a variety of workout goals compared to any of the other exercises. Of course the rest of the group are some of the best shoulder exercises and can easily be staples of your program as well.