The Best Deltoid Exercises for Men

Dumbbell Upright Row

Men and women have different physiques and, although the basic anatomy is the same, the differences do make a difference in what is generally considered best in the case of certain exercises. Men are typically stronger than women in their upper bodies and less prone to shoulder injuries. This allows them to lift heavier weights when they perform deltoid exercises, which is necessary for increasing muscle size to develop broad shoulders that look appealing exclusively on men.

Front Deltoids

The front deltoids, or anterior deltoids, flex the shoulder forward. Some of the best shoulder exercises for the front deltoids include front raises, military presses, Arnold presses and shoulder presses with dumbbells, barbells and machines. The front raise is a prime example of a shoulder flexion exercise. You simply hold your arms straight against the front of your body with a dumbbell in each hand and then raise your arms forward and up to shoulder level. Many effective shoulder exercises like the front raise work the anterior deltoid muscle, but you do not want to exercise it exclusively or your shoulders will look odd.

Side Deltoids

The side part of the deltoids are also known as the lateral, or medial, deltoids. Exercising the side deltoids helps give men a broad, balanced look along with front and rear deltoid exercises. The best exercises for the lateral deltoids include lateral raises and upright rows. You can perform both of these exercises with dumbbells or machines if you want to lift very heavy weight. Barbells, Smith machines, dumbbells and cables all are possible to use for performing upright rows. The lateral deltoids elevate the shoulders out to the sides, which is what lateral raises do. To perform dumbbell lateral raises, hold your arms against your sides and then raise them up to shoulder level, keeping the arms at your sides.

Rear Deltoids

The rear deltoids, also known as the posterior deltoids, extend the shoulder backwards. A deltoid workout program is incomplete without exercises for the posterior delts. The best rear deltoid exercises include the rear raise, reverse fly, dumbbell rows and barbell rear delt rows. You can also use a rear deltoid machine to target these muscles. To perform a standing reverse fly with dumbbells, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and bend your upper torso forward with a flat back so that your thighs and abdomen make a right angle. Position your arms straight at the floor with the palms facing each other and then raise your arms away from each other and up to your sides until parallel to the floor.


Deltoid exercises do not have to exclusively target one section of the muscle group. Arm circles, push presses and diagonal lifts utilize more than one area of the shoulder. These exercises do not isolate one section of the deltoid but use the muscles as a unit with other muscles. To perform diagonal lifts, hold a dumbbell in your right hand and touch the top of the weight to your left hip near your thumb. The right arm crosses your chest and abdomen with the elbow bent slightly. Then, raise your arm up diagonally to the left until it is above head height. This action is like drawing sword from a scabbard at the hip. Repeat with the other arm.