You only need this 5-move dumbbell workout to build strong shoulders

Up your shoulder workout game with this 5-minute delt session – all you need are two medium dumbbells

Fit young woman lifting weights at gym
(Image credit: Getty Images)

How often do you lift your arms above your head? Try it now. How does it feel? Stiff? Uncomfortable? Does it click/pop as you move the shoulders through the full range of motion? Maybe all of the above? If so, you need to start doing shoulder workouts more often, starting with this 5-move delt session, which hits all areas of your shoulders (front, lateral and rear delts).

How to tell if your shoulders are stiff? (They probably are.) You can try Apley’s Scratch Test, a shoulder rotation test often used to measure the area's range of motion (ROM). The test requires you to try and join hands behind your back, with one arm coming from above and the other below. The examination can reveal imbalances in the ROM of the shoulders.

This quick shoulder workout can be done as a standalone workout or as a finisher for a more extensive workout set. For beginners, we recommend performing each exercise for 30 seconds with a 20-second rest between moves. The intermediate level would be 40 seconds on and 10 seconds off; pros can try 50 seconds on with 10-second breaks. If you use the workout as a finisher, we recommend doing each exercise for 30 seconds without breaks. The session shouldn't last longer than five minutes either way. The exercises featured in the workout are as follows:

Like this workout? Then you'll love T3's shoulder workout content, like this roundup of the best shoulder exercises for men or the best shoulder exercises overall. Here's another guide on how to master the shoulder press exercise for good measure. Finally, try these two workouts if you want to grow shoulder and arm muscles: a 10-minute arms and shoulders workout and a 20-minute, 5-move delt exercise routine.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.