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Deltoid Exercises at Home

by 
author image Aubrey Bailey
Aubrey Bailey has been writing health-related articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University at Buffalo, as well as a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Utica College. Dr. Bailey is also a certified hand therapist.
Deltoid Exercises at Home
Deltoid Exercises at Home Photo Credit: DragonImages/iStock/GettyImages

If you're looking to develop well-toned shoulders, the deltoids are the muscles on which to focus. Each deltoid muscle has three parts — anterior, middle and posterior — and each perform slightly different movements. Target all three to achieve round, sexy shoulders.

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Strengthen your deltoids at home using your body weight as resistance or with portable exercise equipment such as dumbbells or resistance bands. Start with 10 repetitions of each exercise, working up to three sets in a row.

Read more: The Best Shoulder Exercises for Mass

Shoulder raises tone your deltoids.
Shoulder raises tone your deltoids. Photo Credit: sumnersgraphicsinc/iStock/GettyImages

1. Front and Lateral Raises

Perform shoulder raises with dumbbells or other household items, such as a bottle of water. Perform these exercises one arm at a time until you master the technique. This exercise targets the middle and anterior deltoids.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand up straight with your arm by your sides. Squeeze your shoulder blades together throughout this exercise. Keeping your palm down and elbow straight, lift your arm straight in front of you up to shoulder-height. Slowly lower back down.

Repeat this movement by lifting your arm straight out to the side up to shoulder-height. Your palm can face downward or forward with your thumb pointed toward the ceiling.

2. Rear Lateral Raise

Rear lateral raises can be performed in a standing or seated position to target posterior delts.

HOW TO DO IT: Sit up straight on the edge of a chair with one dumbbell in each hand. Bend halfway forward at your hips —approximately 45 degrees. Keep your back straight throughout this exercise. Begin with your arms hanging at your sides.

With your elbows slightly bent, raise both arms up to shoulder height. Slowly lower back down. Keep the rest of your body still throughout the exercise.

3. Shoulder Press

Practice this overhead exercise with light weight to safely master the technique. It trains the middle deltoid, as well as the anterior portion.

HOW TO DO IT: Sit or stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand. Lift your arms out to the side to shoulder-height and bend your elbows to 90 degrees, with the dumbbells pointed toward the ceiling. This is the starting position.

Slowly press the dumbbells straight up, bringing your hands close together overhead.

4. Upright Row

The upright row primarily targets the middle deltoid muscle.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand up straight with one dumbbell in each hand. With the dumbbells in front of your thighs, rotate your arms until your palms face your legs. This is the starting position.

Lift your elbow up and out to the sides, bringing the dumbbells straight up toward your chin. Stop at chest-height and slowly lower back down.

5. Push-Ups

Push-ups use body weight to strengthen the deltoids. To make this exercise easier, start with your knees on the ground rather than your toes.

HOW TO DO IT: Begin on your hands and knees. Walk your hands forward and straighten your legs. Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and straighten your elbows. This is the starting position.

Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ground as far as you comfortably can, then push back up.

Read more: Deltoid Weightlifting Exercises

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