Build Balanced Shoulder Strength | STACK

Chris Hitchko
- Chris Hitchko, CSCS, owns ShowUp Fitness, a personal training facility with locations in Santa Monica and the San Francisco Bay area. He is also an...

Build Balanced Shoulder Strength

October 30, 2012 | Chris Hitchko

Must See Strength Training Videos

Michael Johnson Performance Series: The 40-Yard Dash Drive Phase

Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: One-Leg Deadlift

Real Workouts: Henrik Zetterberg


The shoulder is an incredibly complex joint. It comprises many muscles whose job is to move the joint and keep it stable. If you don't strengthen all of these muscles, you run the risk of sabotaging your performance and increasing the risk of injury.

Of all the joints, the shoulder has the greatest range of motion, but it relies on muscles for support. In particular, the four rotator cuff muscles help keep the upper arm in the shoulder socket.

Athletes run into problems when they fail to strengthen all of their shoulder muscles. Most have sufficient—or even too much—strength in the front of their shoulders, which they develop with pressing exercises. However, the backside of the shoulder is often underdeveloped, and this can alter the natural mechanics of the shoulder; limit the amount of force you can produce with your arms; and set the stage for an overuse injury.

To prevent this from happening, you need to strengthen every muscle in your shoulders. Add these shoulder routines to your upper-body workouts to build balanced shoulder strength and size. (For more shoulder workouts, check out STACK's Shoulder Guide.)

Day 1

  • Military Press
  • Machine Shoulder Press
  • Upright Row

Sets/Reps: 4x12,10,8,12 with 60 to 90 seconds rest between sets; finish with a drop set.

Day 2

Perform exercises in superset fashion

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press / Standing Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Arnold Press / High Face Pull
  • Push Jerk / DB Side Raise / DB Reverse Flies

Sets/Reps: 4-5x12, 10, 8, 12 with 60 to 90 seconds rest between sets

It's common for your shoulders not to get sore. If you really want soreness, slow down your movements to two seconds up and four seconds down.

Topics: SHOULDERS
Chris Hitchko
- Chris Hitchko, CSCS, owns ShowUp Fitness, a personal training facility with locations in Santa Monica and the San Francisco Bay area. He is also an...