Around the World Shoulder Exercise: The Key to Stronger, Sexier Shoulders


The “Around the World shoulder exercise” is a fantastic workout that targets multiple areas of your shoulders, providing a comprehensive training experience. This exercise is named for the circular, globe-like motion your arms make as you perform it, similar to taking your arms for a trip “around the world”. It’s an excellent way to improve shoulder mobility, enhance muscle tone, and build strength in your deltoids and rotator cuff muscles.


Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey, the “Around the World” shoulder exercise can be a valuable addition to your workout routine. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know to master the Around the World Shoulder Exercise, from its benefits to proper form and variations.

What is the Around the World Shoulder Exercise?

The “Around the World Shoulder Exercise” is a dynamic and effective shoulder-strengthening exercise that primarily targets the deltoid muscles, which are responsible for the rounded and defined appearance of your shoulders. This exercise involves lifting weights in a circular motion around your head, mimicking the path of the Earth’s orbit around the sun, hence the name “Around the World.”

Benefits of the Around the World Shoulder Exercise

The Around the World Shoulder Exercise offers a multitude of benefits, making it a valuable addition to your fitness routine. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Shoulder Strength: This exercise targets the deltoid muscles, enhancing shoulder strength, stability, and endurance.
  2. Muscle Balance: It helps balance the development of all three deltoid heads, preventing muscle imbalances that can lead to injuries.
  3. Improved Posture: Strengthening the shoulder muscles, promotes better posture, reducing the risk of slouching.
  4. Shoulder Definition: Regularly performing this exercise can lead to well-defined shoulders, creating an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
  5. Enhanced Range of Motion: It improves the flexibility and range of motion in the shoulder joint.
  6. Injury Prevention: Strong shoulders are less prone to injuries and can protect against common issues like rotator cuff problems.
  7. Versatility: The exercise can be customized with various weights and equipment, making it suitable for beginners to advanced lifters.
  8. Functional Strength: It contributes to overall upper body functional strength, making daily tasks easier.
  9. Time Efficiency: The Around the World Shoulder Exercise can be completed in a relatively short time, making it suitable for busy schedules.
  10. Aesthetic Appeal: Well-developed shoulders can enhance your physique and boost self-confidence.


Incorporating this exercise into your fitness routine can lead to improved shoulder health and appearance, contributing to your overall fitness goals.

How to Perform the Around the World Shoulder Exercise Correctly

Performing the Around the World Shoulder Exercise correctly is crucial to maximize its benefits and minimize the risk of injury. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure you’re doing it right:

Equipment Needed: You’ll need a dumbbell or a weight plate to perform this exercise.

Starting Position:

  1. Begin by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the dumbbell or weight plate with both hands, gripping it firmly in front of you at about waist level.


  1. Engage your core muscles to maintain stability throughout the exercise.
  2. Keep your arms extended and slightly bent at the elbows, with the weight held in both hands in front of you.
  3. Initiate the movement by raising the weight up and over your head in a controlled, circular motion.
  4. Imagine drawing a large circle with the weight, going up and around your head.
  5. As you lift the weight, your arms should remain slightly bent, and your elbows should point outward.
  6. Continue the circular motion until the weight is directly overhead, and your arms are fully extended.
  7. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, ensuring that your shoulders are engaged.
  8. Reverse the motion by bringing the weight back down in the same circular path.
  9. Lower the weight until it returns to the starting position in front of your waist.

Tips for Proper Form:

  • Maintain a slow and controlled pace throughout the exercise. Avoid jerky or rapid movements.
  • Keep your back straight and your chest up to prevent leaning or arching your back.
  • Focus on your shoulder muscles throughout the movement.
  • Exhale as you lift the weight overhead and inhale as you lower it.
  • Start with a lighter weight to ensure proper form before increasing the resistance.

Repetitions and Sets: For beginners, start with 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions with a lighter weight. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, you can increase the weight and the number of sets and repetitions.

Safety Precautions:

  • If you experience any pain or discomfort during the exercise, stop immediately and consult a fitness professional.
  • Ensure that the area around you is clear of obstacles to avoid accidents while performing the exercise.
  • Always warm up your shoulder muscles before attempting this exercise to prevent injury.


Incorporating the Around the World Shoulder Exercise into your workout routine can help you build strong, well-defined shoulders over time. As with any exercise, proper form is essential for safety and effectiveness, so take your time to master the technique before increasing the intensity.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To reap the full benefits of the Around the World Shoulder Exercise and prevent injury, it’s crucial to perform it with proper form and technique. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

1. Using Excessive Weight: One of the most common mistakes is using weights that are too heavy. This can compromise your form and increase the risk of shoulder strain or injury. Start with lighter weights and gradually progress as your strength improves.

2. Neglecting Warm-Up: Failing to warm up properly before attempting this exercise can lead to muscle strains. Always start with a thorough warm-up to prepare your shoulder muscles for the movement.

3. Incorrect Range of Motion: Ensure that you maintain a controlled and complete range of motion throughout the exercise. Avoid swinging the weights or using momentum to lift them. Instead, focus on controlled, deliberate movements.

4. Poor Posture: Maintaining proper posture is essential. Avoid hunching your back or rounding your shoulders during the exercise. Keep your spine straight, chest up, and shoulders down and back.

5. Rushing Through Repetitions: Performing this exercise too quickly can reduce its effectiveness and increase the risk of injury. Instead, execute each repetition with a slow and controlled movement, emphasizing the contraction of the shoulder muscles.

6. Neglecting Breathing: Proper breathing is often overlooked. Inhale as you lower the weights and exhale as you lift them. This controlled breathing helps stabilize your core and maintain balance.

7. Ignoring Pain: Never ignore pain or discomfort during the exercise. If you experience pain in your shoulders, neck, or back, stop immediately and consult a fitness professional or healthcare provider.

8. Overtraining: Like any exercise, overtraining can lead to fatigue and injury. Incorporate the Around the World Shoulder Exercise into your routine with proper rest and recovery days.

9. Not Adapting for Mobility Issues: Some individuals may have limited shoulder mobility. It’s essential to adapt the exercise to your capabilities and work on improving mobility over time.


By avoiding these common mistakes and focusing on proper form, you’ll maximize the benefits of the Around the World Shoulder Exercise while minimizing the risk of injury. Always prioritize safety and listen to your body throughout your fitness journey.

Around the World Shoulder Exercise Variations

Variety is the spice of life, and the same goes for your workout routine. Incorporating variations of the Around the World Shoulder Exercise can help you avoid plateaus, challenge different muscle groups, and keep things exciting. Here are some notable variations to consider:

1. Dumbbell Around the World: The classic version involves using dumbbells. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward, and perform the circular motion. You can adjust the weight according to your fitness level.

Dumbbell Around the World

2. Barbell Around the World: Swap out dumbbells for a barbell. Hold it with an overhand grip and perform the exercise, ensuring that the barbell clears your head during each rotation. This variation offers a unique challenge due to the extended bar.

3. Kettlebell Around the World: Kettlebells add an extra dimension to the exercise. Hold a kettlebell by the handle with both hands and execute the circular motion. The instability of the kettlebell will engage your stabilizing muscles.

4. Resistance Band Around the World: If you’re looking for a portable option, resistance bands are perfect. Step on the band with one foot, hold the other end with both hands, and perform the exercise. The resistance band creates constant tension throughout the movement.

Credit: Rob Morgan

5. Seated Around the World: This variation is suitable for those who want to isolate the shoulders further. Sit on a bench or chair with a backrest, ensuring your back is straight. Perform the exercise as usual while seated to emphasize the deltoid muscles.

6. Standing Cable Around the World: At the gym, you can use a cable machine with a rope attachment. Adjust the pulley to shoulder height, hold the rope, and perform the exercise. The cable machine provides consistent resistance throughout the movement.

7. Single-Arm Around the World: Challenge your balance and core by performing the exercise with one arm at a time. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand and rotate it around your head. This variation requires increased stability and control.

Remember, when incorporating variations, start with lighter weights or resistance bands to ensure proper form and prevent injury. Gradually increase the intensity as you become more comfortable with the exercise.


By including these variations in your workout routine, you can target different aspects of your shoulder muscles and keep your training regimen exciting and effective.


Q1: Can beginners do the Around the World Shoulder Exercise?

Ans: Absolutely! While it’s essential to start with light weights and focus on proper form, beginners can incorporate this exercise into their routines. Gradually increase the weight as you build strength and confidence.

Q2: How many sets and reps should I do?

Ans: The number of sets and reps depends on your fitness level and goals. As a general guideline, start with 3 sets of 10-12 reps. You can adjust this based on your preferences and progress.

Q3: Is there any equipment required for this exercise?

Ans: Yes, you’ll need dumbbells or a barbell to perform this exercise effectively. Choose a weight that challenges you without sacrificing form.

Q4: Can the Around the World Shoulder Exercise help with shoulder mobility?

Ans: Yes, this exercise can improve shoulder mobility. The circular motion engages the shoulder joints, promoting flexibility and range of motion.

Q5: Are there any safety precautions I should be aware of?

Ans: Always prioritize safety. Maintain proper form, avoid using excessively heavy weights, and warm up your shoulder muscles before starting. If you have any shoulder issues or injuries, consult a fitness professional or physician before attempting this exercise.

Q6: Can I do this exercise at home without a gym membership?

Ans: Yes, you can perform the Around the World Shoulder Exercise at home if you have the necessary equipment. However, consider seeking guidance from a fitness expert to ensure proper form and technique.

Q7: Is this exercise suitable for both men and women?

Ans: Yes, the Around the World Shoulder Exercise is suitable for individuals of all genders. It helps build shoulder strength and definition, which is a desirable fitness goal for many.

Q8: What other exercises complement the Around the World Shoulder Exercise?

Ans: To create a well-rounded shoulder routine, consider incorporating exercises like shoulder presses, lateral raises, and front raises. These exercises target different parts of the shoulder muscles and can complement the Around the World Shoulder Exercise.

Q9: How often should I include this exercise in my workout routine?

Ans: You can perform the Around the World Shoulder Exercise 2-3 times a week, allowing adequate rest between sessions to promote muscle recovery and growth.

Q10: Can I use this exercise for weight loss?

Ans: While the primary goal of this exercise is to strengthen and define the shoulders, incorporating it into a comprehensive fitness routine can contribute to overall weight management and fitness goals.


Incorporating the Around the World Shoulder Exercise into your fitness routine is a fantastic way to achieve strong, sculpted shoulders. By following the proper form, adjusting the weights, and being consistent, you can reap the numerous benefits this exercise offers.

Remember to listen to your body, prioritize safety, and consult with a fitness expert if you’re new to this exercise or have any concerns. With dedication and patience, you’ll be well on your way to shoulder strength and confidence like never before.

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