You only need two dumbbells and 10 minutes to build muscles in your shoulders

Try this 10-move, no-repeat delts workout and feel the burn almost instantly

Young handsome man doing exercises in gym shoulder workout with dumbbell fitness health club
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Almost every arm movement involves the shoulders, yet few people target shoulder muscles with their workouts. This is sad as shoulders – also called deltoids or 'delts' in gym circles – are easy to train and maintain, especially if you perform your shoulder workouts correctly. This 10-minute delts session can help you build shoulder muscles in a fun and engaging way using only two dumbbells.

Shoulder injuries are common among the general population and especially among those who often do resistance training. One meta-study concluded that "up to 36% of documented resistance training-related injuries and disorders occur at the shoulder complex." To avoid injuries and improve muscle definition, it's recommended to incorporate delts exercises in your workout routine to strengthen the joints and improve the range of motion.

This shoulder workout consists of 10 exercises, each performed for 40 seconds with a 20-second break in-between. This is one set, so there are no longer breaks between groups of exercises. How many reps you fit in in each 40-second interval depends on your fitness level and the weight you're using. Instead of churning out more low-quality reps, focus on the muscle and use slow, controlled motion to increase time under tension (the duration the muscle is worked). The exercises involved in this workout are as follows:

  • Seated shoulder press
  • Egyptian lateral raise (left)
  • Egyptian lateral raise (right)
  • Dumbbell halo
  • Upright row and press
  • Front raise
  • Dumbbell shrugs
  • Kneeling single-arm press (left)
  • Kneeling single-arm press (right)
  • 90-degree lateral raises

And that's it! By now, you should feel your delts, especially the large lateral deltoid, burning (in a good way). If at any point you feel discomfort, clicking or crunching in the shoulders, you should consider stretching a bit more or using lighter weights. Speaking of weights: check out T3's best dumbbells and best adjustable dumbbell guides to see the best options for your workout needs.

Do you need more shoulder workout inspiration? Here are the best shoulder exercises to build 3-dimensional delts and 14 shoulder workout tips and exercises to reduce pain during push-ups, pull-ups and dips. Here's another 5-move home workout targeting the shoulders and, finally, the three best shoulder exercises for men

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.