Exercises that Define the Shoulders

The shoulders help improve a person’s body aesthetics by creating a V-tapered torso, along with a narrow waist. Thus, shoulder definition makes a person look better whether with clothes on or not. This is a reason why most people pay attention to working out their shoulders, aside from the chest, legs, back, arms, and abs. In line with this, the following are some exercises one can do to define the shoulders.

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Standing Dumbbell Press

According to Body Building, the standing dumbbell press is one of the exercises one should do to define his shoulders. As per the publication, it stimulates shoulder growth and requires more stability and balance, as opposed to the seated press version. Thus, a person can add balance to his physique.

To perform the exercise, the person grabs a dumbbell in each hand , with his feet shoulder-width apart. Then, he raises the dumbbells to eye level, with the elbows bent to about 90 degrees. Next, the person braces his core and drives the dumbbells up, stretching the elbows to 180 degrees. After that, he pauses and gradually brings back the weight to the starting position.


The chin-up is another exercise that defines the shoulders, particularly the rear or the back head of the deltoid muscle. According to Ex Rx, the exercise primarily targets the latissimus dorsi (also alled lats), but it also engages muscles like the brachialis, brachioradialis, rhomboids, and the trapezius.

To perform the chin-ups, the person steps up and grasps a bar with underhand shoulder width grip. Then, he pulls his body up until the elbows are to sides. Next, he lowers his body until the arms and shoulders are fully extended. If the person finds it hard to use his own body weight in doing the exercise he can use assisted machine or have an assisting partner. In the contrary, weigh can also be added on a dip belt or dumbbell between the ankles.

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Bent-Over Reverse Fly 21S

The bent-over reverse fly defines the shoulders by targeting the rear or back deltoids, along with the front and the middle deltoids, according to Body Building. As per the publication, the routine can be done at the end of the workout session. In doing the exercise, it is important to use a light weight to keep a proper form, along with a mind-muscle connection.

To perform the bent-over reverse fly, the person starts in a bent-over position with his core tight and knees mildly bent. Then, he performs the first seven repetitions with a neutral grip or palms facing each other, with the scapula retracted and squeezed to slowly resist the negative. Next, the next seven repetitions are done with a prone grip or palms facing down, with the pinkies or tiny fingers up as the person squeezes the rear deltoids during each repetition. After that, the person performs that final seven repetitions by turning the palms back to the neutral grip and doing a forward raise. The shoulders are kept down as the dumbbells are raised and lowered slowly with control.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The dumbbell lateral raise increases shoulder definition by targeting the lateral or middle (also called medial delts). This part of the deltoid is responsible for creating a wide shoulder appearance.

As per Ex Rx, the exercise is done by grasping dumbbells in front of the thighs with elbows mildly bent. Then, the person slightly bends over with hips and knees slightly bent. Once ready, the person raises his upper arms to the sides until the elbows are at shoulder height, above or equal to the wrists. Then, he lowers the weights and repeats.

Overall, the shoulder complex is one of the major muscle groups people train at the gym, as it improves one’s physique by helping achieve a V-tapered body. Aside from doing shoulder mass and definition routines, maximum shoulder development is achieved with proper nutrition and adequate rest.

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