Shoulder Exercise - Arm Circles

Shoulder Exercise - Arm Circles

Learn how to train your shoulder muscles with arm circles. The good thing about this exercise is that you don't need any weight training equipment. However, you can also do arm circles with two dumbbells. Arm circles are often done at the end of a superset or giantset. For example: Do dumbbell side laterals until muscle failure and then keep going with arm circles. Find more shoulder exercises at weight training main.


  • Stand upright or sit on a bench and extend your arms sideways. Fully extend your elbows and keep your upper body straight. Most people to their arm circles in front of a mirror. Start with your arms parallel to the floor. By turning your hands you can train different portions of your shoulder muscles. For example: If your thumbs point up, you train the front portion of your shoulder muscles. If your thumbs point down, you train your rear delts. To train your rear delts only, lean forward.
  • Then start circling your arms at shoulder height. Don't circle too fast. Duration of each circle: 1 to 2 seconds
  • Do 20 to 50 circles and then change direction. One set should always consist of 50% front arm circles and 1/2 back arm circles. If after 100 reps, your shoulders are still not exhausted enough, next time use 2 light dumbbells.


  • I recommend 1 to 2 sets of 40 to 100 repetitions. (20 to 50 front and back)
  • Try arm circles at the end of a super-set or giant-set.
  • The arm circle is not designed for heavy weights. At most, you should use 5lbs (2kg) dumbbells.
  • Superset recommendation: Dumbbell Laterals + Arm Circles