Even if you’ve built huge biceps and a rock-hard chest, if your shoulders are lagging in size, you’re not going to look as big as you could. In fact, if you’re serious about body sculpting, you’ll want to put in the effort to create the broadest, thickest shoulders your body can carry. Strength aside, it will make your waist look smaller and your physique look more impressive overall. So how do you go about getting the shoulders of a true champ? We’ve got the perfect training routine to help you make it happen.
This routine includes two shoulder-exercise workouts that should be combined for real results. Both feature compound movements that promote mad strength and pack mass onto the entire shoulder girdle. You’ll also do isolation movements to sculpt fine lines on the deltoid heads, giving you a competition ready look. Do it for eight weeks, alternating workouts and focusing on shoulders only once a week. You can make the routine as intense as you’d like—to hit it hard, reduce rest time between sets to about half a minute.
Don’t forget—as when you start any exercise routine, run it by your doc first. You’ve also got to remember to stretch and warm up before starting, every time. Do the first set with lighter weight, then work toward heavier weights for the remaining sets. Also remember to stay focused on form. When the eight weeks is up, take that much-needed break from shoulder training, allowing your body time for growth and recover. Then you can hit it again with greater intensity!
Start the first set using lighter weight, then do two intense sets with progressively heavier weights. Between sets, rest for 30 seconds to a minute. When all sets are complete, challenge yourself with the next exercise.
Shoulder Workout One
Dumbell shoulder presses: Three sets of 8 to 10 reps
Works: Deltoids, triceps, upper trapezius and serratus anterior
How to do it: Sit with your back straight, holding two dumbbells just above shoulder level. Keep palms facing forward. Press dumbbells straight up until they’re nearly touching over your head. Return to starting position.
Remember: Don’t lock your elbows at the top of movements; this will keep tension on the deltoids.
Upright rows: Three sets of 8 to 10 reps
Works: Deltoids, biceps and trapezius
How to do it: Stand with feet slightly apart, holding barbell with overhand grip in front of thighs. Raise the barbell to chin level, keeping it close to your body. Return to starting position.
Remember: Get those elbows as high as possible. You can also do this exercise using the lower pulley on a cable stack.
Dumbbell lateral raises: Three sets of 10 to 15 reps
Works: Deltoids (especially medial side)
How to do it: Grab dumbbells with palms facing each other, in standing position with feet slightly apart. Start with dumbbells in front of thighs, then raise to reach shoulder level. Return to starting position.
Remember: Don’t go overboard (use manageable weight) and keep elbows slightly bent.
Should Workout Two
Dumbbell front raises: Three sets of 10 to 15 reps
Works: Deltoids, especially anterior (front)
How to do it: With feet slightly apart in standing position, hold dumbbells with overhand grip in front of thighs. With one arm at a time, raise dumbbell in front of you to shoulder level. Lower to starting position.
Remember: Back needs to be kept straight. Again, use manageable weight. Don’t throw the weight up using your entire body.
Bent-over lateral raises
Works: Deltoids, especially posterior (rear) and trapezius
How to do it: Stand with knees slightly spread apart, bent at the waist. Grab dumbbells with palms inward and elbows slightly bent. Raise dumbbells out to your sides. Return to starting position.
Remember: Squeeze shoulder blade together at highest point. Keep back straight.
Smith machine presses: Three sets of 8 to 10 reps
Works: Deltoids, upper pectorals, serratus anterior and triceps
How to do it: Sit on bench under bar of Smith machine. Grip barbell with palms forward, keeping back straight. Press barbell straight up. Return to starting position.
Remember: Don’t lock your elbows at end position to keep tension on deltoids.
Ready to go? Great. You’ll be on your way to muscular shoulders in no time. But keep in mind, you’ve got to train intense, getting that cardio in and making sure to rest for best results. You’ll also benefit from a protein-packed meal plan that’s low in fat and carbs. Be sure to check out the MuscleTech line of sports nutrition supplements to fully support your efforts.
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