2 dumbbells, 5 exercises and this home workout to build shoulder muscles with ease

Let mother-of-two fitness influencer Emily Skye show you how it's done!

A strong and fit woman with her back to the camera lifting a weight above her head
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking for a quick yet surprisingly effective home workout to build boulder shoulders? This 20-minute, 5-move delt exercise routine can do just that using two dumbbells only. The workout will strengthen your deltoids (shoulder muscles), brachialis, triceps (back of the upper arm), rotator cuffs, and core muscles.  

Shoulders can be very prone to injury, which can really set you back in your fitness goals, so we recommend reading through this article explaining 14 shoulder workout tips to help avoid injuries and help recovery. For even more info on training the delts, check out our comprehensive guide on the best shoulder exercises, as explained by bodybuilding world champion Nathan Williams.  

This workout consists of four sets of five exercises with 12 repetitions in each set. Keep 30-60 seconds rest at the end of each set to let the muscles recuperate. If you're new to exercise, feel free to use lighter dumbbells and allow for longer rests to ensure you stay injury-free. The exercises:

  • Dumbbell shoulder press (do this while standing to strengthen the core)
  • Lateral fly 
  • Front raise
  • Rear delt raise (use a weight bench or try standing rear delt flys)
  • Rear delt kickback (use a weight bench or try standing rear delt kickbacks)

Haven’t got a set of dumbbells at home? We have assembled a guide ranking the best dumbbells and best adjustable dumbbells on the market. For the more dedicated, we also have a guide about the best weight benches to help you provide stability and good form during your workouts. 

Fancy mixing up your shoulder workout with different equipment? We have drafted together the best kettlebell selections to combine with your dumbbells to help you start functional training. Here is the best kettlebell workout for beginners, provided by British Kettlebell Champion Jamie Lloyd, to get you started. 

Finding your hands are getting blistered and calloused from heavy strength workouts? We recommend purchasing one of our list of best gym gloves to prevent discomforting injuries. 

Meg Walters
Freelance journalist

Meg is a British-Canadian freelance writer based in southeast London. She can usually be found writing about classic films, rom-coms, period dramas, TV, Millennials, pop culture, books, style, lifestyle and fitness. Her writing has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, GQ, Stylist, The i, i-D, Little White Lies, Insider and more.