Your shoulders are involved with almost every act of performance in sports, as well as many in training. They help you look bigger and stronger when appropriately developed. A wide pair of shoulders can even help your waist look smaller.
Regardless of the desire, training your shoulders is a must. Basics are great when it comes to training them, but you will need to challenge yourself in new ways if you want to maximize your potential. This workout performed weekly for 8-10 weeks can help you make the most of your shoulder development on all fronts. They appear basic, but the ways they are performed will challenge you to get better.
While this appears to be your basic seated shoulder press, this version will help you maximize explosiveness and increase pushing power to transfer to any other press you do.
Place the safeties in a rack to around shoulder height. The bar should be in whatever position you normally unrack from when doing this movement. Have the adjustable bench on the highest incline without being completely vertical. This will help you focus more on the front delts without having unnecessary pressure on your lower back.
Unrack the bar and allow yourself to settle for a couple of seconds. Slowly lower the bar to the safeties and come to a complete stop. After a count of "one-thousand one", generate as much force as possible to push the bar up until your arms are straight but not locked out. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
Perform this exercise for five sets of five reps. Your first two sets should be lighter so you can warm-up. Use your top weight for the final three sets. Rest as needed between sets.
Seated Lateral Raise with Band Iso-Hold
This portion of the workout will be similar to a superset. You will need dumbbells and light to a moderate resistance band. When you perform the lateral raises, turn the hands, so the index finger is slightly higher to maximize the contraction. You may have read or heard that the pinkie finger should be higher, but this can actually do more damage to your rotator cuffs, so focus on the index finger instead. Try to maintain control of the negative for each rep.
When you finish, immediately stand and place the band under your feet, so you have one end in each hand. Lift the handles out to your sides, so the band stretches and hold it for 10 seconds. This hold will help you increase your stabilizing strength and develop that solid, round look to the delts.
Perform three sets of 10 reps with increasing weight and 10 seconds for all three sets with the same band. Rest as needed.
Single Arm Face Pull
Face pulls are great for rear delt development. Most athletes and lifters pull with both arms on one handle when they perform this movement. The issue is if one shoulder is weaker than the other, then the stronger one will compensate. Your goal should balance across both shoulders.
Instead of using a rope or straight handle, use a single handle on the pulley when you perform this. Stand facing the lift so that the working arm is lined up with the cable. Pull straight back, keeping the elbow high and hold the end of the pull for a second before lowering the weight back down.
Start your sets with whichever arm you feel is weaker and needs more work. After you finish on the first side, repeat with the other. Three sets of 12 reps with rest as needed between sets will work well here.
Hex Bar Walk and Shrugs
This finisher that will target your traps, work your grip strength, and perhaps serve as intense cardio. If you don't have a hex bar, dumbbells can be a good substitute.
Load up the bar or grab a pair of dumbbells. The weight you use should be moderate. Set yourself up, so you have a decent distance to walk. You should be able to walk at least 40 steps.
Walk for 20 steps and perform ten shrugs. Repeat for the same steps and reps three total times. If you can walk 40 steps straight, then this is a trip down and back with two sets of shrugs.
Perform this twice, and you're finished for the session. If your grip keeps you from doing this in its entirety, use lifting straps to hold the weight.
Next Level Shoulder Workout
- Seated Rack Barbell Press – 5 sets of 5 reps.
- Seated Lateral Raise with Band Iso-Hold – 3 sets of 10 reps with a 10-second hold of the band.
- Single Arm Face Pull – 3 sets of 12 reps
- Hex Bar Walk and Shrugs – 2 sets of 80 total steps with ten reps of shrugs every 20 steps.