Build Shoulders

Workout Description

Delts. Boulders. Cannonballs. Caps. Regardless of what you call them, everyone wants nice shoulders, right? Having a great pair of shoulders is vitally important if you’re a competitor because so much of what the judges are looking for has to do with your shoulder to waist ratio.

In the following paragraphs, I want to briefly talk about the muscles that make up the shoulder, highlight my approach for training shoulders then demonstrate a series of exercises that will get your caps to pop.

On the surface, the shoulder appears to be fairly simple, but in reality it is extremely complex and versatile. The muscles and joints of the shoulder work together to provide you with an incredible range of motion yet can become stable enough to support tasks that involve pushing and pulling. For this reason the shoulder is actually fairly fragile and is prone to injury including dislocation.

The shoulder is comprised of several independent muscles, but for the purposes of training let’s think of them as three distinct muscles, namely the anterior, lateral and posterior deltoids.  When training shoulders it’s important to target each of these muscles with specific exercises to stimulate muscle growth. By targeting each muscle, you’ll also prevent muscle imbalance with can lead to shoulder pain and discomfort.

I prefer training deltoids by targeting the largest muscle first, specifically the anterior or front delt, followed by the lateral or outer delt, then the posterior or rear delt. I also always train traps at the end of each shoulder workout.

Before engaging in any shoulder workout, I would encourage you to warm-up the joints with dynamic and static movements/stretches. I firmly believe that it’s beneficial to have a little blood flowing into the target area that you intend to train.

Below is a sample workout that targets the three muscles of the shoulder and the traps.


Shoulder Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Smith Machine Shoulder Press 4 15, 12, 10, 8
Reverse Dumbbell Press 3 12, 10, 8
Cable Laterals (behind the glutes) 4 15, 12, 10, 8
Bent Over Reverse Cable Flye * 4 15, 12, 10, 8
Cable Upright Row 3 15, 12, 10
Barbell Shrug (1 second pause at top) 4 15, 12, 10, 8
Dumbbell Shrug (1 second pause at top) 3 15, 12, 10

workout from muscleandstrength

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