Shoulders are awesome show muscles. If you have good shoulder mass, it can make you look big, even bigger than you actually are. Big shoulders allow you to sport a shirt and make it look like your shoulder mass is going to pop the sleeves off! If you are asking yourself how to build bigger shoulders, we have workouts for you for each portion of the shoulder, tips to use for better growth as well as how to bust through shoulder building plateaus! Check it out below my friends!
Understanding Different Parts Of Your Shoulders and How to Work Them All
In order to really kill it with your shoulder growth, you have to hit the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids hard and do them with multiple sets. A lot of guys will maybe do two or three shoulder exercises, thinking it will add mass. Building massive shoulders are just like are different. With, say biceps, you do three or 4 exercises and you have an awesome pump through the entire slab or muscle. It is a lot easier to target the entire muscle each and every set.
But shoulders, like we said above had 3 different portions of the shoulder that need to be stimulated to really round off your shoulders. Bigger shoulders equate to a better V-taper aside from bigger lats. We want you to get jacked shoulders, so here is an overview of how to hit each section!
Medial Delt Workouts
Probably best workout for medial delts include the Arnold Press. You can also do
- Dumbbell, barbell or cable shoulder raises
- Incline dumbbell or barbell shoulder raises.
- Also don’t neglect your hammer strength machine or machine shoulder press. You can use this for regular sets as well as for drop sets for a better pump.
Front Delt Workouts
Simply put, don’t just hit the medial part of your shoulder! If you hit the anterior (front) of you shoulder with exercises like
- Front barbell presses, either seated or standing
- 45 pound plate raises
- Dumbbell lat raises but instead of keeping the dumbbell horizontal lift it so it comes up in a vertical fashion.
You can also do the same movement on an incline bench, as well as use a pull down rope. Attach the rope and lock it in low on the cable machine. Pull the slack out of the rope so it is fully extended and the rubber is slid all the way down to the attachment point. Set your weight and simply grab the rope, gripping it with your index finger and thumb on the top and raise straight up and out.
Rear Delt Workouts
Really putting in the time for delt workouts will translate to an awesome muscle striations that runs down the back of your shoulders, leading right into your triceps. Some great rear delt workouts are
- Face Pulls with the rope attachment.
- Wide Grip Rows – Seated on a cable row, grab a longer bar and pull the bar up towards your head instead of your abs like you would with a regular seated row.
- Reverse Flyes as well, which you can isolate your rear delts even better by keeping your arms closer to your body instead of straight out.
- Bent Over Rear Delt Lateral Raises: This is a great exercise, which if you aren’t familiar with it, you want to lean down until your back is flat. Also for better stability place your head against the top of an adjustable bench. Let the dumbbells hang so they are touching together, then raise them up like you are doing a lat raise but twist the dumbbell as you are coming up, rotating your wrists inward.
Tips on Building Bigger Shoulders
Work Shoulders Twice A Week
Hitting shoulders twice a week can create a better round on your shoulders. Break your shoulder days up, hitting them every 3 days. Doing so will add more mass to them. You are going to experience more growth as you are increasing the stress placed on them.
Work Them On Days That Don’t Follow Chest
Chest does work triceps but it does integrate a lot of shoulder recruitment. You may not necessarily feel soreness in your shoulders after a chest workout, but you did stress them. So if you do shoulders the day after, you will not generate the power you would if you gave your shoulders a day off after your chest day.
Dont Neglect Trap Work
Again a lot of guys just think they can do one or two trap exercises and they are good. As you build good trapezoid muscles, you shoulders will naturally look bigger. Just try raising your traps right now and see what your shoulders do. They round off, proving that creating more trap mass will equate to bigger shoulders!
I suggest doing your trap work on your back day as you are already going to be doing 9+ exercises as you are hitting each head three times.
Have a SHOULDER Day
A lot of times, we can really neglect our shoulders, at least that is true for myself. But dedicating a day to shoulders will really allow you to focus all your effort on building them. Instead of doing shoulders with another muscle group on the same day, give them their own day and burn them out!
Do Different Exercises
We mentioned some great shoulder building exercises above, but remember to switch it up. Doing the same exercises will produce good results but the body will adapt, so utilize other shoulder exercises to build better mass. This will also provide for a more enjoyable workout routine instead of doing the same exercises every shoulder day.
Place Your Awareness On Your Shoulders
When you are doing your shoulder workouts, try really focusing on the muscle you are working. Whether it be your front, medial or posterior delts, focus in on them while you are working them. This will place emphasis on that muscle as well as allow you to become more aware of muscles you are using that aren’t geared towards building your shoulders.
When you become aware that you are using muscles that are useless to building your shoulders you can eliminate them, allowing you to isolate your shoulder muscles better during your lifting sessions.
Lighter Could Be Better
Make sure you are working your shoulders, not other parts of your body. Often times we will go to heavy, We think that heavier weight equates to bigger gains, which is true to an extent. But we can also be doing ourselves a disservice because we are using other muscles to lift the weight because its to heavy. If you find yourself arching your lower back to lift the weight up, then the weight is most likely to heavy.
Drop the weight down a few pounds and do your sets at that weight. This will allow you to target your shoulders better and isolate the muscle.
Give Yourself A Massage!
A great study that I found on Web MD talking about how massaging muscles that have been worked has been shown to lessen inflammation as well as speed up your muscle recovery process. The article also talks about how not only does it speed up recovery, it also decreases how sore you feel in the muscle worked. I don’t know about you but I love building muscle, but hate feeling sore!
This is true for any workout you are doing. Having a workout buddy push you to do one or two more reps or keep each other on your workout routine can really translate to more gains. When you are working out with someone, without being aware of it or not, you are trying to beat them. If they do a set, you want to do a set at the same weight or better.
Better yet, if you can find a workout partner that is bigger than you. This will accelerate your shoulder growth as you will be challenged by someone who is lifting more than you. You will naturally want to keep up, forcing you to lift bigger and harder.
How To Break Though Shoulder Building Plateus
There comes a time where your shoulder growth may slow down or straight up come to a halt. Gym plateaus suck, plain and simple. You are putting in the work but literally have nothing new to show from it. Now you can either throw in the towel and think that you can’t build any more muscle or strength. Or you can use our suggestions below to obliterate your shoulder hypertrophy plateaus!
- TAKE A WEEK OFF: This may literally be the toughest week of your life! As gym rats we are used to punishing our muscle fibers every day. We get the addicting pump and a great rush as well as simply feeling accomplished. Well my friends, taking a week off can allow your muscular, skeletal as well a most importantly your nervous system to recover. We grow OUTSIDE of the gym, and when you give yourself a week off, you will reap massive benefits. Honestly you usually look bigger when you come back and your body has had sufficient time to repair itself. “But what about losing my gains or strength”, you may be asking. Well, truth be told, gains take months to lose and your strength may be a little less for the first workout or two. But that is all, and you will come back stronger than before, and best yet more aggressive, reminiscent of when you first stepped into the gym.
- Lighters Sets: This is another tip that is probably going to make you hate me. But doing lighter sets for your shoulder day in between doing a couple heavy days will allow your muscle to rest. Remember your body adapts to the imposed demands placed on it. Doing a light day with higher reps will allow you to cycle your shoulder muscle through a different sort of rep scheme and intensity. Doing so will work different muscle fibers, predominately your slow twitch muscle fibers, than heavy lifting does, creating a stronger shoulder complex in a different way than heavy lifting does. This also includes using resistance bands. People underestimate the power of resistance bands but they can be awesome for building better endurance muscle in your shoulders.
- Explosive Shoulder Workouts – This is the same concept as doing lighter sets. But on a different spectrum where you are still working your fast twitch muscle fibers (the ones you work during heavy sets). But the difference here is that you do the exercise as fast as possible versus doing your sets at a more controlled weight like you do when you are trying to pack on muscle. A couple awesome power/explosive shoulder workouts
- Creatine – Utilizing a creatine supplement is another awesome way to help your muscle grow past it’s plateau. And it is natural and doesn’t have terrible adverse side effects. I found an awesome article written by on the link here at Bodybuilding.com, that talks about how when we ingest creatine, it creates more ATP in our body, aka energy. It does this by introducing our boy to more of 3 different amino acids, those being arginine, glycine as well as methionine which has also talks about how the Journal for Strength and Conditioning has shown that taking creatine supplements can actually enable your body to generate muscle 14 percent more than not taking creatine. That is a huge amount and shouldn’t be looked over when trying to build bigger shoulders!
- Eat More – This goes for building more shoulder mass as well as overall mass. Eating more will provide your body with the essential amino acids needed to stack on more muscle everywhere, including your shoulders.