Best Shoulder Workout - 5 Things You Must Know
Nothing says you lift like boulders for shoulders, huge traps, and some arms that barely fit in your sleeves. So we do press exercises, lots of shoulder isolation, but not enough growth.
If you think you've been training your delts hard but you aren't seeing the results you want, here are some valuable secrets to building massive shoulders.
Oh yeah, there's a bonus workout at the end.
Best Shoulder Workout
1.) Pump up the Volume
Our shoulders respond to volume.
Most lifters will perform their heavy compound lifts at the beginning of their workout — so you can get the most bang for your energy.
In terms of mass gains, getting some stellar shoulders means you'll need to go a step beyond what you've been doing.
Follow up your initial compound presses later on in your workout with some machine presses. This allows you to push yourself harder without the risk of injury from free weights.
Banging out a few more sets on the machines will ensure you have caused enough trauma to your muscles to grow.
2.) Add Some More Lateral Work
If you want that rounded capped look that professional bodybuilders possess, you'll need to add in some more lateral work. Lateral raise movements are an important part of your routine — and some people only do one form of laterals per session.
If what you're doing is working, there's no need to change. But if you're struggling to grow your shoulders, adding in a second or third lateral movement with cables or a machine could help you get your shoulders to the next level.
Use free weights before you get fatigued, but jump into some machine work after to finish them off.
3.) Don't Forget Your Rear Delts
Your posterior delts don't get any time and attention. After you spend an hour pressing and doing a couple sets of lateral raises, you may take a look over at the rear delt machine.
By the time you are finally ready to do them, your energy is gone and you really don't want to hit them. I mean, who sees them anyways?
Instead of doing the same routine you always have, try to change things up a bit. If your rear delts are lagging (I bet they are), you should give them a little more priority.
You could start by pre-exhausting your rear delts at the beginning of your workout with some free weights. Do a couple different exercises that target your rear delts and then jump into your compound presses.
Your shoulders will start to look more 3-D and will improve your shoulder stability and health.
4.) Training Your Front Delts Are a Waste
Every pressing movement you perform works your chest, triceps, and front delts. This is why you see guys with huge front delts, but the rest of their shoulder is lacking.
Instead of putting energy into (over)training your front delts, spend this time to hit the rear delts or add some lateral fly moves for your side delts.
Since you only have so much energy in a session, stick with training your lateral and rear delts. Working your front delts is kind of like hiring a tutor for a class you're getting an A in.
5.) Don't Forget About Recovery
Your muscles are made in the kitchen. Period.
Every pressing movement and every shoulder session you have in the gym requires time for your shoulders to rebuild and get stronger.
If you want to grow your shoulders and keep them healthy, giving them the rest, rehab, and proper stretches will give you the gains you are looking for.
Ideally, you should have at least one day of rest between your chest and shoulder workouts.
Bonus Shoulder Workout
Looking to change up your shoulder routine? Check out this bonus shoulder workout.
- Military Press - 4 sets of 10 reps
- Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise - 3 sets of 12 reps
- Cable Rear Delt Fly - 3 sets of 15 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press - 4 sets of 8 reps
- Side Lateral Raise - 3 sets of 15 reps
- Machine Side Lateral Raise - 2 sets of 15 reps
- Machine Overhead Press - 4 set of 12 reps
Wrapping It Up
If you've never had a shoulder injury, consider yourself lucky.
Rotator cuff and labrum tears are common, they are painful, and they ruin training other parts of your body.
If you've never wrecked your shoulders yet, you don't really realize how important they are for stabilizing other exercises. Training your chest with a torn labrum is impossible, doing some shrugs with a torn cuff is painful, and trying to get your shoulders to hold heavy weight to squat just isn't going to happen.
Respecting your shoulders and giving proper warmup, stretching, and rehab will keep them healthy for years. Don't be afraid to hit those cuff exercises that many people skip.
Pay attention to your form, there is no reason why you should compromise form for weight when the risk of injury is so high. Stick to an 8 to 12 rep range per set and you'll grow in no time.