Functional Shoulder Workout [2022]

Shoulders are in my opinion, one of the hardest muscles to grow – in terms of bodybuilding aesthetics anyway.

They are also easily over-trained. Apparently, the shoulders/deltoids have a very high concentration of androgenic receptors, so respond well to certain supplements – but that’s another story I guess.

Here’s a sample workout, for those looking to train shoulders, without negatively affecting sports performance.

Always warm up – shoulders are a delicate area/joint, so be sure to use strict form and warm up

Exercise at your own risk – for informational purposes only.

Overhead presses and handstands are a bad idea if you have high blood pressure

ExerciseSetsReps
Military Press38-12
Kettlebell Push Press28-12
Medicine Ball overhead toss36
Kettlebell overhead carry240m
Resistance Band Thrusters210-15
Machine Shoulder Press*26-12
Lateral Raises*212-15

*These exercises won’t help you with sports performance, and have limited functional benefits, but if you’re like me and want to have functional strength, and nice looking delts, then add these at the end to isolate them a little bit more. I often just do a single set of each. I’ve included the machine press, rather than a free weights, as your stabiliser and fixator muscles will probably be fried by the time you get round to this exercise.

  • If you have the equipment, you can also look to add in sandbag or barrel overhead carries and presses.

Shoulder Mobility Exercises

Mobility is essential if you want to avoid injury, poor posture and a negative impact on your sports performance – especially boxing which requires relaxed and mobile shoulders.

If you are training for sport, or just want to improve your training-longevity, you need to take really good care of your shoulders.

Have a daily routine of shoulder mobility exercises and rotator cuff exercises. Be careful not to overstretch and keep technique and form perfect (or as perfect as possible) to avoid injuries.

ExerciseSetsReps
Forward arm circles210
Backward arm circles210
Pass-throughs with band212
Wall overhead reach120
Dead hang*11 minute

*Basically, a dead hang involves squeezing your shoulder blades together, as you hang from a bar

You should also look to include rotator cuff exercises, to strengthen the muscles surround the shoulder joints

Best calisthenics shoulder exercises

Depending on what your training goals are, you may wish to include some calisthenics shoulder exercises

-Pike Press Ups

-Hand Stands

-Hand Stand Press Ups

-Bridge Push Ups

exerciseSetsreps
Band presses212
hand stand press*2max
Bridge press2Max
sand bag push press212
yoga crow pose*230 secs

*do static hand stands if presses are too hard and hols downward dog for 1 min if crow pose is too hard.

About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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