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Best Shoulder Exercise Equipment

Updated on December 28, 2014

Choosing The Best Shoulder Exercise Equipment

If you weight train to build muscle and strength, you likely know how important of a role the shoulders play. Every major upper body weight training exercise involves the shoulder, or deltoid, muscles in some way, so gaining strength in them is essential. You also need to build mass in the shoulders if you want a classic v-shaped look to your physique.

Nowadays, many weight trainers prefer lifting at home rather than going to a gym. If you want to set up a home gym, you'll need the best shoulder exercise equipment. This weight training equipment should allow you to perform overhead pressing exercises for overall deltoid size and strength, lateral exercises for each individual head of the shoulder muscles, and shrugs for the trapezius muscles.

It doesn't take very much equipment to perform great shoulder workouts. The best deltoid exercise equipment includes a weight set with a barbell and dumbbells and a military press bench. You can also opt for a shoulder press machine.

Weight Sets

Simply put, the best shoulder exercise equipment is a weight set that includes a barbell, dumbbells, and weights of various amounts. This is because you can get a great shoulder workout with just that equipment. Of course, having some benches and weight training machines can further help you get a great shoulder workout in.

As with weight training exercises for every other muscle group, shoulder training requires a solid barbell and weights to put on it. With a barbell, you can do standing overhead presses, seated military presses, upright rows and shrugs.

Dumbbells are among the best shoulder workout equipment because they'll allow you to do shoulder exercises that you can't do with a barbell. These exercises include front, side and rear laterals. Laterals are excellent for adding size to each head of the shoulder muscles, and they are best done with dumbbells. Overhead dumbbell presses while standing or seated are another great exercise you can do with a pair of dumbbells. When it comes to dumbbells, you can either purchase a pair of adjustable ones or a set of fixed ones of various weight amounts. It's much cheaper to have a pair of adjustable dumbbells, though you will have to changes weights between sets.

Military Press Benches

Military press benches and machines are certainly among the best shoulder exercise equipment. The military press is the best weight training exercise to build overall shoulder strength and muscle mass. Having a bench to do them on will force you to use your shoulder muscles to get the weight up and spare your lower back muscles more than if you do standing overhead presses. You can also do seated dumbbell presses on one of these benches.

The best military press benches will have a rack that you can easily take a barbell off when you begin a set and put back on when you're finished. Where the rack is in relation to where you're seated is important because if it's too low or high you may have difficulty taking a barbell off and racking it. Some military press benches will have adjustable seats and/or racks so you can set it up to work for you. You should always use a spotter if you want to go heavy when you perform military presses on a bench.

Shoulder Press Machines

Shoulder press machines also make up some of the best shoulder exercise equipment. While it is better to use free weights to train your shoulders, you can use a machine to get muscle size and strength gains if you prefer.

Shoulder press machines will have handles that you grab and push overhead against whatever resistance you have set. You'll either have to put your own weights on the machine or it will have a weight stack that you can easily adjust.

Some shoulder press machines will also allow you to perform side laterals for your side deltoid muscles. This will make doing supersets of side laterals and overhead presses especially easy.

Lateral Machines

Many gyms have machines that will target your side and rear delts. These also make for great additions to a complete home gym. You can also use cables for laterals, so a nice cable home gym setup will help you build bigger shoulders.


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