You Need Just 12 Minutes To Build Stronger Shoulders

Woman performs dumbbell shoulder press sat on weights bench in gym
(Image credit: Aleksandar Georgiev / Getty Images)

Looking to sculpt stronger, bigger shoulders with dumbbells? We’ve found the workout for you. It comes from Grant Davidson of Zeus Fitness, a NASM-certified personal trainer with more than 10 years of experience, and it makes the mighty dumbbell shoulder press the foundation of the routine.

Davidson’s routine starts with 40 seconds of dumbbell shoulder presses using heavy dumbbells, rests for 20 seconds, then follows it with a set of lateral raises using medium-weight dumbbells. The workout returns to the press, then switches to a rainbow raise with light dumbbells.

It continues in the same vein until the 12 minutes is up, always returning to the “staple” shoulder press between a raise variation using either medium or light dumbbells. Don’t worry if that sounds complicated—it’s a follow-along video, so set up with three pairs of dumbbells and a weight bench, or adjustable dumbbells and a chair if you’re at home.

Be conservative with your choice of heavy, medium and light weights because your shoulders are complex joints prone to injury. Bear in mind that, at the pace Davidson demonstrates the press, you’ll be performing six sets of 10-12 reps and not allowing your muscles to fully recover between sets, resting for only 20 seconds before switching to a raise. 

It’s also imperative that you warm up your shoulders before attempting this workout. Start with this warm-up routine, then add in the shoulder-specific moves from our shoulder workout for the gym.

If you’re intent on building shoulders with dumbbells, we have plenty more great options to try. This dumbbell shoulder workout hits all three heads of your deltoids with a testing tri-set, while this home workout for shoulder strength uses light dumbbells to great effect.

Or, if you have a lot of training experience and want to really test your shoulders at the gym, try this high-rep shoulder finisher from The Rock’s trainer, Dave Rienzi.

However you train your shoulders, we recommend getting familiar with this bodyweight shoulder workout. It’s designed by shoulder specialist Carlos Cobiella, a consultant  orthopaedic surgeon, and will help you develop robust shoulder joints.

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness writer

Lois Mackenzie is a fitness writer working on news, features, reviews and buying guides for Coach and sister site Fit&Well. Lois is a hill walker and avid runner who has just completed her first marathon. Before joining Coach, Lois worked as a senior SEO reporter at Newsquest Media Group.