4 Moves to Stabilize Your Shoulders


A shoulders workout is an important part of any upper-body strength regimen. While lots of people tend to concentrate on biceps and triceps when “arm day” rolls around, the truth is, your shoulders are a key part of the overall strength and movement here. And so a solid upper-body workout should certainly include them. 

Quick anatomy recap: Your shoulders—officially known as the deltoids—are made up of three muscle heads: the anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear) deltoids. Their power lies in their strength and stability. That means you also need to pay attention to surrounding muscles such as your trapezius (which run from the neck across the shoulder and extend to the middle back), latissimus dorsi or lats (the large back muscles that connect the spine to the arms), rotator cuff (the small muscles in the back of the arm that stabilize the shoulder), and rhomboids (which help retract the shoulder blade).

All of these muscles work together to support and stabilize the shoulder. So if you’re looking for a solid and efficient shoulders workout (and for optimal shoulder health!), you have to do more than just “shoulder exercises”—you need moves that work all those supporting muscles, too.

In today’s upper-body workout, you’re going to start with a shoulder-specific exercise in your first strength superset: the Arnold press, which works all three heads of your shoulder. The Arnold press is a more advanced version of the overhead shoulder press, which you’re already pretty familiar with from week 1 and week 2. Because you’re laterally moving your arms out to the sides before you press them overhead, you end up working your lateral deltoids more than you would in a traditional overhead press. This also means the Arnold press may feel more intense than a regular overhead press, so you may need to reduce the amount of weight you use or do fewer reps.

You’ll follow the Arnold press in this superset with the bent-over row, which targets those oh-so-important lats, traps, and rhomboids. Your second superset will include the chest press, which hits your pecs and your shoulders, and the quadruped rear-delt raise, which hits—you guessed it—your rear delts.

If you’re up for more upper-body love after this, the optional bonus EMOM will have you covered, alternating between biceps and triceps-specific moves for an awesome arms finisher. With an EMOM, you’ll do one exercise after the next at the beginning of one minute, then rest after both are completed. Once that minute is up, you’ll begin the next round at the top of the second minute. And so on.

Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s shoulder-stabilizing upper-body dumbbell workout.

The workout below is for day 15 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. 


Aim for 8–12 reps per exercise. Rest up to 30 seconds between exercises. At the end of the round, rest 60–90 seconds. Complete 2–4 rounds total. Repeat for Superset 2.


Superset 1

  • Arnold Press
  • Bent-Over Row

Superset 2

  • Chest Press
  • Quadruped Single-Arm Rear-Delt Raise


Do both moves for the recommended number of reps. Rest the remainder of the minute; repeat 4 times total.

  • Biceps Curl (8–10 reps)
  • Triceps Overhead Extension (8–10 reps)

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