Dumbbell weights are a bit different from other kinds of free weights and offer more of an overall workout. Dumbbells offer more of a workout because they are able to focus more tension on your supporting muscle groups. This in turn causes the surrounding muscle groups to work harder than if you were working out with conventional free weights or nautilus machines.
When surrounding muscle groups are exercised in addition to the main muscle you will achieve superior muscular development. However, dumbbell weights are not for everyone because not everyone’s physiology allows them to work out very intensely with dumbbells. I, for example, am unable to perform several abdominal dumbbell exercises because of my physiology. Therefore it’s very, very important to start with very low intensity dumbbell weights before going heavy otherwise you could risk very serious and painful injury.
If you think you are ready for some serious shoulder workouts with dumbbells, here are 3 exercises to get you started:
1. Seated Shoulder Press – So here’s how this works: Seat yourself at the end of a bench and place your dumbbells on your upper thighs (always your upper thighs with this exercise, not on the ground as you want to shorten the distance you need to lift these over your head). Grab each weight so that they are facing left to right not frontward to backward and lift them over your head simultaneously. Now slowly lower each one until it is about one inch away from your shoulder. Rinse and repeat.
2. Shoulder Flys – This is somewhat of a light weight exercise and it is rare that you will be able to do more than 40 pounds in each hand as your regular set even if you happen to be very strong. This means that if you have never done these before you should probably start off with less than 15 pounds in each hand. Here’s how this works: Stand up right and hold 2 weights in front of your chest. Bend over at a 45 degree angle and lift each weight outward in a manner that resembles flying (hence the name “flys”) and then lower each weight to your waist. Rinse and repeat.
3. Shoulder Shrugs– If you are new to this you should only start off with about 40 pounds in each arm. Here’s how this works: Stand upright holding each weight frontward to backward. Slowly lift each weight using your shoulders and without lifting your arms. In other words, lift each weight in a “shrug” like fashion. As you lift, make sure you lift in a rolling motion, not just straight up and down.
If your goal is to increase your shoulder muscle mass then you should pick a weight that allows you to do 4-6 shoulder reps for at least 5 sets.