4 Shoulder Superset 2024: You Should Try In Your Workout

Shoulder superset workouts are a great way to get those shoulder muscles burning and train other upper-body muscles simultaneously. This article shares four of the best exercises for your next superset shoulder workout.

Shoulder Superset Workouts In 2024

For muscle strength and growth, experts recommend performing 8-12 reps [1] of each exercise a total of 3-4 times – sets. This is why each exercise listed below will be within this range.

Try this shoulder superset workout for muscle growth and save time at the gym. These four exercises will help you gain upper body strength without spending hours in the gym.

Standing Barbell Overhead Press With Dumbbell Lateral Raise

This is a great shoulder superset workout for beginners or those more advanced in strength training. The barbell overhead press targets the deltoid muscles [2] of your shoulders, triceps, and upper chest. The dumbbell lateral raise primarily targets the lateral [3] and rear delts of your shoulder joint.

Standing Barbell Overhead Press

Standing Barbell Overhead Press Guide.
Standing Barbell Overhead Press Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart while holding a barbell with an overhand grip at shoulder height.
  2. Press the barbell overhead, fully extending your arms.
  3.  Slowly lower the barbell back to shoulder height.

Tips

  • Keep your core tight and feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
  • Press the bar directly overhead, locking your elbows at the top.
  • Avoid arching your back; maintain a straight, neutral spine.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4-55-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-312-15+
Power Training3-53-5

Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise 

Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise 
Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
  2. Lift the dumbbells to the sides until they reach shoulder height.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Tips

  • Avoid locking your elbows when extending your arms.
  • Keep your core engaged.
  • Control the movement to avoid swinging. 
  • Avoid shrugging shoulders.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training3-48-10
Hypertrophy3-410-15
Endurance Training2-315-20+
Power Training3-46-8

Standing Dumbbell Arnold Press With Standing Front Plate Raise

This superset will get your shoulder muscles burning in no time. The Dumbbell Arnold Press primarily targets your deltoid muscles, triceps, and traps [4] – the upper back muscles. Front Raises target the front of your deltoids [5] and upper chest muscles.

Dumbbell Arnold Press

Dumbbell Arnold Press
Dumbbell Arnold Press Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing you.
  2. Rotate your palms as you press upwards as you lift the dumbbells overhead.
  3. Reverse the movement back to the starting position.

Tips

  • Start with dumbbells in front of your shoulders, palms facing you.
  • As you press up, rotate your hands so your palms face forward at the top.
  • Keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the movement.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training3-46-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-312-25+
Power Training3-44-6

Standing Front Plate Raise

Standing Front Plate Raise
Standing Front Plate Raise Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Hold a weight plate with both hands — arms extended in front of you.
  2. With control, lift the plate to shoulder height.
  3. Gently lower the plate back to the starting position and repeat.

Tips

  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows to prevent locking them.
  • Engage your core for stability.
  • Control the movement and avoid using momentum. 

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training3-48-10
Hypertrophy3-410-15
Endurance Training2-315-20+
Power Training3-46-8

Standing Cable Machine Face Pulls With Dumbbell Shrugs

The first exercise of this superset involves using a cable machine. Face pulls target your rear deltoids and upper traps. Dumbbell shrugs target your upper trap muscles and rhomboids —your upper back muscles. 

Cable Machine Face Pulls

Cable Machine Face Pulls
Cable Machine Face Pulls Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Set the cable machine at face height.
  2. Find the rope attachment and connect it to the cable.
  3. Grab the rope and grasp it with both hands with a narrow grip.
  4. Pull the rope towards your face, keeping your arms parallel to the ground, elbows bent.
  5. With control, slowly return the rope to the starting position.

Tips

  • Adjust the pulley to the upper chest level and use a rope attachment.
  • Pull the rope towards your face, elbows high and outwards.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the peak of the movement.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training3-48-10
Hypertrophy3-410-15
Endurance Training2-315-20+
Power Training3-46-8

Standing Dumbbell Shrugs

Standing Dumbbell Shrugs
Standing Dumbbell Shrugs Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
  2. Slowly shrug your shoulders towards your ears.
  3. Gently lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Tips

  • Keep your core engaged for stability.
  • Move with control and avoid using momentum.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4-56-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-315-20+
Power Training3-44-6

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press With Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curls

This next superset is also known as a military press. It will have your upper body muscles burning. The dumbbell overhead press is a shoulder press exercise that targets your deltoid muscles. 

In comparison, the bicep curl exercise primarily targets your bicep muscles. These are the muscles located in your upper arm. Add this superset to your next lifting session.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. While seated on a bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Press the dumbbells overhead, keeping your elbows straight but not locking your arms.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height.

Tips

  • Sit on a bench with back support, holding dumbbells at shoulder height.
  • Press the weights overhead, keeping your wrists straight and strong.
  • Lower the dumbbells slowly back to the starting position.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4-55-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-315-20+
Power Training3-44-6

Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curls

Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curls
Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curls Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How To Do

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing forward. Let the weights hang at your sides.
  2. Curl the dumbbells towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position at a 180-degree angle.

Tips

  • When extending your arms, avoid locking your elbows.
  • Keep your back straight and engage your core.
  • Choose a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form.
  • When lowering the weight, do not stop short of going all the way down to a straight arm.

Optimal Sets And Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4-56-8
Hypertrophy3-48-12
Endurance Training2-315-20+
Power Training3-44-6

How To Warm Up For A Shoulder Superset

How To Warm Up For A Shoulder Superset
Tips to warm up for a shoulder superset. Photo: Racool_studio/Freepik

Warming up is an important part of preparing for any exercise routine to prepare the muscles and joints for the upcoming workout. Think of this as waking up your muscles. By doing this, you can promote shoulder mobility.  

Warming up your muscles increases muscle temperature and blood flow [6] to the muscles you train. This contributes to improved exercise performance and can prevent injuries. Experts recommend warm-ups should be around 5-15 minutes in length before starting your workout routine. 

It’s important to remember that cooling down [6] after lifting heavy weights is also important to stretch muscles and prevent injury. 

Arm Circles

Arm Circles. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk
  • Duration: One minute.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms to the sides. Begin making small rotations in a circular motion. After 30 seconds, reverse the circles.

Dynamic Arm Swings

Dynamic Arm Swings
Dynamic Arm Swings Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk
  • Duration: One minute.
  • Swing your arms forward and backward in a controlled manner. Gradually increase the range of motion as your shoulders warm up.

Shoulder Rolls

  • Duration: One minute.
  • Roll your shoulder forward for 30 seconds, then roll them backward for 30 seconds.

Jumping Jacks

shoulder superset
Arm Circles. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk
  • Duration: Two minutes.
  • This common exercise increases your heart rate and involves using your shoulder muscles. 

Benefits Of Shoulder Supersets

Benefits Of Shoulder Supersets
Shoulder supersets reduce workout time, boost metabolic efficiency, and enhance muscular endurance. Photo: robotdean/Freepik

Resistance training can often mean spending an hour or more at the gym multiple times weekly. Some people find this difficult to do because of other time commitments. One of the big advantages of supersets [7] compared to traditional training is that it can save you time.

Supersets involve completing two different back-to-back exercises with limited or no rest in between. This is why it can reduce training time. Supersets also allow you to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously—contributing to fewer days spent at the gym.

Additionally, performing the same work in a shorter amount of time has been shown to increase muscle fatigue. This means you get results that are just as effective – if not more – than traditional training methods. 

Mixing and matching superset exercises can help keep you motivated while training. For example, one day, you may want to combine shoulders with triceps instead of doing exercises that target your bicep muscles.

Having this flexibility can prevent you from losing motivation while training and keep it from getting boring. It also means you can continually challenge yourself in new ways while getting amazing benefits from superset workouts.

Conclusion

Superset workouts are a great way to save time at the gym [7] while reaping all the benefits of traditional training. Shoulder supersets, in particular, allow you to target multiple upper-body muscles simultaneously and maximize muscle time.

We shared four shoulder superset exercises you can do at the gym to gain strength and reduce training time. Not only do these exercises target your shoulder muscles, they also target other important upper body muscles. This means you can get in a killer workout while training multiple muscles simultaneously.

It’s important to remember to warm up before working out. Follow the 5-minute warm-up we created specifically for shoulder superset workouts.

By implementing supersets into your gym routine, you can continually challenge yourself but in a shorter period. While these workouts are challenging, the benefits make this workout worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good superset with shoulders?

There are many options to choose from. Combining shoulders with any other muscle that targets your upper body muscles is a great option.

What should you pair shoulders with?

Pair your shoulder workout with other upper body muscles like your biceps, traps, and chest.

What is a superset for the upper body?

A superset for the upper body involves combining two exercises without resting in between reps. An example is a standing dumbbell overhead press with dumbbell lateral raises.

Resources

  1. Schoenfeld, B.J., Grgic, J., Van Every, D.W. and Plotkin, D.L. (2021). Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum. Sports, 9(2), p.32. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9020032.
  2. Kroell, J. and Mike, J. (2017). Exploring the Standing Barbell Overhead Press. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 39(6), pp.70–75. doi:https://doi.org/10.1519/ssc.0000000000000324.
  3. Hedrick, A. and Herl, M. (2020). Technique of the Unilateral Dumbbell Wide Row. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 43(4), pp.121–123. doi:https://doi.org/10.1519/ssc.0000000000000566.
  4. Raizada, S. and Bagchi, A. (2017). Comparison among the EMG Activity of the Anterior Deltoid and Medial Deltoid During Two Variations of Dumbbell Shoulder Press Exercise. Indian Journal of Public Health Research & Development, 8(4), p.653. doi:https://doi.org/10.5958/0976-5506.2017.00411.9.
  5. Campos, Y.A.C., Vianna, J.M., Guimarães, M.P., Oliveira, J.L.D., Hernández-Mosqueira, C., da Silva, S.F. and Marchetti, P.H. (2020). Different Shoulder Exercises Affect the Activation of Deltoid Portions in Resistance-Trained Individuals. Journal of Human Kinetics, 75(1), pp.5–14. doi:https://doi.org/10.2478/hukin-2020-0033.
  6. Park, H.-K., Jung, M.-K., Park, E., Lee, C.-Y., Jee, Y.-S., Eun, D., Cha, J.-Y. and Yoo, J. (2018). The Effect of warm-ups with Stretching on the Isokinetic Moments of Collegiate Men. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 14(1), pp.78–82. doi:https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.1835210.605.
  7. Andersen, V., Fimland, M.S., Iversen, V.M., Pedersen, H., Balberg, K., Gåsvær, M., Rise, K., Solstad, T.E.J., Stien, N. and Saeterbakken, A.H. (2022). A Comparison of Affective Responses Between Time Efficient and Traditional Resistance Training. Frontiers in Psychology, 13. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.912368.