10 Powerful Single-dumbbell Exercises For Strong Shoulder

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Single dumbbell Shoulder Exercises

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There are some instances where you don’t have both pairs of the dumbbell available. Sometimes the gym might be crowded and you only have pair of dumbbells with you. So what are the shoulder exercises you can do with just one dumbbell?

You will find so many amazing exercises here in this article which you can do at home or anywhere if you have a dumbbell with you. Also, people who have all the dumbbells available with them will get benefit from this blog as you will find some new exercises here.

These one-hand Dumbbell shoulder exercises are great for training each side separately which will help in creating a symmetrical look and builds an equal strength in each shoulder. So let’s discuss these exercises here.

Shoulder Exercises With A Single Dumbbell

Some of the best shoulder exercises you can do with a single dumbbell are one arm overhead press, front and lateral raises, one arm snatch, and dumbbell rear delt row. We will discuss each of them along with some other effective exercises here.

1. One-Arm Overhead Press

This is probably one of the best exercises you can do with a dumbbell. The single-arm overhead press will not only hit your overall shoulders but will also engage abs and other core muscles to stabilize your body during the movement. Therefore you are training lots of muscles with a single exercise which is a plus!

Targeted muscles- front and lateral deltoid

How to do

1. Grab a dumbbell with one hand and take it up, just above the Shoulders. Keep your neck and back straight. This will be your starting position.

2. Lift the dumbbell with the help of your shoulders without bending your back. Make sure to engage your core throughout the movement.

3. Stop until the dumbbell is at the top and come back slowly down to the starting position.

4. Do the same with the other hand and that will be your complete set.

You can also do the dumbbell push press which is similar to this. The only difference is that you will use your legs at the beginning to push the ground to generate force and power. Watch this video and you will understand better.

You can do this exercise very easily at home. Having dumbbells at home is always beneficial as you can perform various exercises at home without traveling to the gym.

You can use heavyweights on this but make sure that you don’t bend your lower back too much and always engage your core during the movement.

2. Dumbbell One Arm Snatch

This is another great compound exercise that will train the entire muscles of your body. Here, you will involve your legs and back when you lift the weight up from the floor.

Then your shoulder will charge up when you move the dumbbell up overhead. During the entire movement, your core will also be activated. Therefore, both your upper and lower body will be involved during this exercise

Targeted Muscles- All the heads of the shoulder, glutes, hamstrings, and calfs

how to do

1 Place a dumbbell on the floor and stand in between the dumbbell with both feet at about hip-width apart.

2. Now bend down by moving your hips back and hold the dumbbell with one hand. Keep your back arched and head neutral. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the movement by lifting the dumbbell up by pushing with your legs on the ground like a deadlift and raise the dumbbell up towards the shoulder level.

4. From there, lift the dumbbell overhead by punching up and extending your hips and ankles to powerfully bring the dumbbells up.

5. Carefully bring the dumbbell back to the starting position and then repeat the exercise while switching the sides.

3. Single Dumbbell Front Raises

Another great exercise to do at home without any equipment. Your front delts will be fired up after this exercise. Do this after compound movements like the overhead press otherwise you won’t be able to go heavy on dumbbell presses.

Targeted Muscles- Front head of the shoulder

How to do

1. Hold one end of the dumbbell by placing your palm under the dumbbell and stand straight with your shoulders retracted.

2. Start the exercise by raising both your hands with a slight bend in the elbow.

3. Pause at the top when your hands are at an eye level. Breath out as you move the dumbbell up.

3. Focus on your front delts and then bring the dumbbell back to the starting position. Remember to breathe in on the way down.

If your front delts are underdeveloped or are weak, then doing this exercise will help you in building a better mind and muscle connection. Slowly your front shoulder will become more active and strong as a result.

4. Single Arm Hand Clean And Jerk

This is another great full-body strength-building exercise. Here, your core muscles will get strong along with the shoulder as it is a compound exercise. Do this exercise at the beginning of the workout after some active warm ups.

Targeted Muscles – delts, trapezius, and abs

How to do

1. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and stand straight at a shoulder-width stance. Keep your arm down at the middle while holding a dumbbell.

2. Now start bending down slightly while moving your hips back and swing the arm to use momentum.

3. Raise the dumbbell with your arm and bring the dumbbell toward the shoulder.

4. Lift the dumbbell by pressing your feet to the floor to generate force. Fully extend the elbow at the top and then gently bring the weights down.

5. Then switch your hands and repeat the movement with the same form mentioned above.

You can go heavy on this. If you haven’t done this exercise before, then start with lighter weights and once you learn the form, then go heavy.

5. Leaning Away Lateral Raises

This is an amazing isolation exercise for your side deltoid. If you are at home, then hold a pillar from one hand and start performing this exercise. You don’t have to go to the gym to do this.

By leaning forward, the exercise becomes harder at the top. You can use it as a substitute for lateral raise.

Targeted muscles- Mid and poterior head of the shoulder

How to do

1. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and stand with the other hand on a pillar for support.

2. Now lean away towards the side and keep the dumbbell close to the lateral side of the thigh. This will be your starting position.

3. Raise the dumbbell to the side while breathing out and stop until your hands are parallel to the floor.

4. Hold that position for 1 second at the top and then gently bring the arms down to the starting position while breathing in.

Keep in mind that your elbow should be either in line with the wrist or slightly up. As you get advanced, you can do the same movement starting with the dumbbell held at the backside of your legs.

6. Side-Lying Lateral Raises

You might have seen Arnold doing lying side raises on the bench. But this is the floor version of the same exercise which will allow you to do it in the comfort of your home. This is a great isolation exercise for your side deltoid muscle. So looking for a rounded shoulder then do this move

Targeted Muscles- lateral head of the deltoid

How to do

1. Lay your side onto the workout mat while keeping one hand to the side while holding a dumbbell. You can keep the other hand onto the side of the head.

2. From that position, start raising your hand while maintaining a slight bend in the elbow and squeeze you shoulder muscles at the top.

3. Pause at the top when your shoulder is in at maximum contraction and then slowly bring your arms back to the starting position.

4. Repeat the same movement from the other side.

You don’t have to go heavy on this otherwise you could hurt your shoulder joints. This exercise is done to isolate the lateral head and is not meant for building power or strength. Therefore perform the exercise slowly with controller reps and keep your focus on the side delts.

7. One-arm Lateral Raise

Lateral raises are great in building round shoulders. But most often, people are not able to focus on each side separately. Due to this, their left side might be weaker than the right. To avoid these imbalances, its always better to target each side separately like this one.

Also, if you only have one dumbbell with you at home then this will be another best exercise to do at home.

Targeted Muscles- lateral deltoid

How to do

1. Hold the dumbbell from one hand and stand with both feet at shoulder’s width.

2. Lift the dumbbell with a slight bend in the elbow and stop until your arms are parallel to the ground.

3. Hold the top position for a second and then return back to the starting position. Keep the tension on your side delts throughout the movement.

4. Repeat the same movement with the other hand with the same form mentioned above.

You can also go heavy on this but you should feel the muscles even with heavy weights. But if you are a beginner, then I won’t recommend you to go heavy. Rather, start with the lighter dumbbells and perform 12 reps of 2 sets. Once you can perform 12 reps easily, only then go for a slightly heavier dumbbell.

8. Dumbbell Rear Fly

To build around and wider-looking shoulder, it’s very important to train the rear delts which is the back part of the shoulder muscle. Most people neglect to train this muscle and as a result, they develop muscular imbalances.

Most people have weak rear delts and because of that, they have a postural problem like rounded shoulders. Strengthening your rear delts is key in improving the posture and this exercise will help you with that.

Targeted Muscles- rear delts

How to do

1. stand with both feet wider than shoulder-width and hold a dumbbell in one hand.

2. Bend down while taking your hips back and bring the arms forward. Keep your back straight and this will be your starting position.

3. Raise the dumbbell to the side with a slight bend in the elbow and pause at the top when your arms are parallel to the floor.

4. Squeeze your rear delts at the top and then return to the starting position. Switch hands and then repeat.

Make sure that your back is straight when you do the exercise. Also, remember to breathe out on the way up and breathe in on the way down. Now let’s discuss rows to strengthen your rear delts!

9. One-Arm Supinated Dumbbell Rows

Another great move to strengthen those posterior deltoids. The best part of this exercise is the supinated grip which allows external rotation which is one of the functions of the rear delts.

Targeted Muscles- rear delts

How to do

1. Bend down and hold the barbell with one hand which is placed on a rack. You can also do this on a dumbbell rack or a bench.

2. Keep your back flat and both legs away from each other for balance.

3. Pick a dumbbell and then start moving it up with your hands facing at the front. Your elbow should go out at about 45° angle to hit the rear delts.

4. Squeeze your rear delts at the top and then return back to the starting position.

It’s very important to maintain an underhand grip to maximally activate your rear delts. So always remember this and correct yourself whenever you go wrong.

Also at the beginning, you should start with the lighter weights and then gradually increase the weights according to your strength.

10. Lying Dumbbell One Arm Rear Lateral Raise

If you want to focus completely on the rear delts, then this one is for you. Here, you can’t use any momentum due to which, there will be no cheat reps. You would have to use the rear delts to move the dumbbells.

Targeted Muscles- rear delts

How to do

1. Lay on an incline bench with the chest while holding a dumbbell in one hand. Keep the other hand on the bench for balance.

2. Keep your feet straight with the toes on the floor and your hands down with a slight bend in the elbow. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the exercise by raising your arms to the side and pause at the top when your arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale on the way up.

4. Slowly return to the starting position while inhaling and then switch your arms and do the same movement again.

You can do this exercise at home if you have an adjustable bench and a dumbbell. Having a bench is always beneficial as you can do so many different exercises on it.

One Dumbbell Shoulder Workout

Here is the workout program for those who have access to only one dumbbell. This workout is good for those who want to build strength and size. Make sure that you learn all the exercises properly before using heavy dumbbells. So let’s start!

Warm-Up:- Start by warming up your shoulder muscles by lateral raise – 2 sets of 15 reps with a lightweight dumbbell

ExerciseRepsSetsRestWeights
1Single Arm Hand Clean And Jerk842 minutesHeavy
2One Arm Overhead Press12390 secondsModerate to heavy
3One-arm Lateral Raise12360 seconds Moderate
4Lying Dumbbell One Arm Rear Lateral Raise15 each360 secondsLight to moderate

Before going heavy on any of this exercise, make sure that you already know the exercise well and have lifted heavy weights before.

Please note that this workout program is just a sample. It is not an individualized program. Maybe your goals and fitness levels might de different, so accordingly you should make changes.

It is always recommended to consult with the physician or other health care professionals before starting the exercise.

Conclusion

So we discussed some best shoulder exercises here. All these exercises can be done with just a single dumbbell. If you have a dumbbell at home, then definitely try these exercises.

Remember that you don’t have to do all of these exercises in a single workout session. Design your workout program starting with the heavy compound movements at first, and then 2-3 isolation exercises at the end to wrap up the workout. Also, don’t forget to do some warm-ups before starting any exercise as it will prepare your body for an intense workout.

If you know some other exercises apart from what we mentioned above, then please share them in the comment section below. Also, share this article with your friends and family and challenge them with some new exercises!

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Roshan S Pillai

Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

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