Get strong, sexy, and defined shoulders in just 15 minutes with this sculpted shoulders workout. This fast and efficient workout targets your deltoids from all angles to create shapely shoulders and the illusion of a tiny waist. All you need is a set of weights to do these 7 best shoulder exercises for women to create shapely shoulders fast!

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Sculpted Shoulders Workout

Shoulders are definitely one of my favorite muscle groups to work. For one, the aesthetics of strong and sculpted shoulders create the illusion of a tiny waist. And because I’m very straight without much of a defined waist, I can use all the help I can get to create more feminine lines. I also love shoulder workouts because they can easily be done at home without any big or bulky equipment.

Benefits of Strong Shoulders

Functional Movements

Besides appearance alone, strong shoulders have real-world functional benefits. Reaching a shelf, for example, involves the shoulder, as does opening or closing a sliding door. Or maybe the most frequent movement as a mom, lifting a baby or toddler!

Injury Prevention

They can also help prevent upper body muscle injuries. For instance, the shoulder muscles are involved to some extent in nearly every upper body exercise. So strong shoulders can help support these movements and even allow you to lift heavier weights and increase your strength.

Training the Shoulders

Like any muscle group, the shoulders should NOT be trained every day or even consecutive days. Do this Sculpted Shoulders Workout at least 1 time a week, or even 2 times a week, with at least 2 days of recovery in between. 

Need another workout do between shoulder days to give your upper body a break?

Then try one of these!

Lean Legs and Strong Back

Booty Workout to Grow Your Glutes at Home

5 Minute Plank Core Workout

If your goal is to increase the size and get more definition in your shoulders, you must increase your weights and train with progressive overload! In other words, progress your weight selection as your strength increases to stimulate muscle growth. First, focus on getting your form right (even if you have to use less weight). Then once your form is perfect, progress your weights to continually challenge your body to improve and prevent plateaus.

I know, you don’t want to get bulky, but lifting heavy weights does not make you bulky. In fact, lifting heavy weights in this sculpted shoulders workout will help you develop toned and defined shoulder muscles. Muscle is not what makes the body bulky, excess fat on top of the growing muscles is what makes the body appear bulky.

The Equipment

All you need for this sculpted shoulders workout is a set of dumbbells. The Neoprene Hand Weights I’m using in the photos are from Target. They’re durable, comfortable, and available in weights 2-15 lbs. They also go on sale pretty frequently!

As you become stronger, you’ll probably need heavier weights to challenge your body and keep stimulating growth in your shoulders. The weights I use at home (and the best home workout equipment purchase of my life) are the Bowflex SelectTech weights that adjust from 5-52.5 lbs.


The Sculpted Shoulders Workout

Complete the entire sculpted shoulder workout circuit 2-3 times, resting for 1 minute between circuits.

  1. Arnold Press
  2. Rear Delt Fly
  3. Lateral Delt Raise to Front (+ reverse)
  4. Rotator Cuff Open and Close
  5. Car Drivers
  6. Upright Rows
  7. Arm Circles + Pulses

1. Arnold Press

x15 reps

  • Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level, with elbows flexed, and palms facing in. 
  • Raise the weights overhead in a controlled motion as you rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward.
  • Continue lifting the dumbbells until your arms are extended straight above your head.
  • After a second pause at the top, lower the dumbbells to the original position by rotating the palms of your hands towards you until they are at shoulder level.

2. Rear Delt Fly

x15 reps

  • Standing in a bent over position, hold a dumbbell in each hand with the palms facing each other.
  • Keeping your arms straight with a slight bend at the elbows, lift the dumbbells straight to the side until both arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for a moment before lowering the weights.

3. Lateral Delt Raise to Front (+ reverse)

x10 reps

    • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand at your side and elbows slightly bent.
    • Keep your back straight and brace your core.
    • Then raise the weights out to the side until your arms are parallel with the floor
    • Without lowering the weights, rotate your arms to the front, then lower.
    • Reverse the movement by raising the weights straight out in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor, rotate arms out to the side, then lower the weights (that’s 1 rep).

4. Rotator Cuff Open and Close

x15 reps 

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand with elbows bent to a 90-degree angle in front of you and palms facing up (like a bicep curl position).
  • Keep your back straight and brace your core.
  • Keeping your elbows into your sides, externally rotate the weights away from your body out to the side. Then internally rotate the weights back to the starting position.

5. Car Drivers

x15 reps

  • In a standing position, hold one dumbbell straight out in front of you with both hands. 
  • Keeping the dumbbell at the same height, rotate the dumbbell as far as possible to the left (like turning a steering wheel of a car).
  • Then reverse the movement by rotating it as far as possible to the right (that’s 1 rep).

6. Upright Rows

x15 reps

  • Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs.
  • Keep your back straight and brace your core.
  • Using your shoulders, lift the dumbells up to shoulder height, keeping your elbows out to the side and higher than your forearms.
  • Then lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

7. Arm Circles + Pulses

x15 reps (each variation)

  • Stand with your arms extended out to the sides and parallel to the floor.
  • Circle your arms forward using small and controlled motions. 
  • After 15 small circles forward, repeat the small circles backward.
  • Next, repeat the forward circles, this time making larger arm movements.
  • Then repeat the large arm circles backward.
  • Finally, finish with small pulses of your arms (up/down then forward/backward)

Are your shoulders on fire yet? Let me know what you think of this sculpted shoulders workout!

Do you like these short, body part specific strength workouts? Or do you prefer multi-muscle group workouts? Home workouts vs. gym workouts? Let me know so I can create content you want!

Photography credit: Canon Sawyer