Shoulder workouts should increase the size and strength of every muscle in your shoulders. But athletes (and others) often struggle with shoulder workouts and either end up with weak shoulders or an injury.
This shoulder workout is proven to add size to your trapezius and deltoid muscles. The secret is maintaining high volume (reps) and intensity and directly targeting each individual muscle. Most people don’t realize how strong their trapezius muscles are, so they can’t reach their full potential in certain lifts like Shrugs for example.
When doing a shoulder workout, make an Overhead Press your primary lift, whether you do a Push Press, Push Jerk, or strict Military Press. The reason to do that is because these exercises activate multiple muscle groups, including your core and lower body (depending on which of the three you do).
After you finish the primary lift, focus on targeting each part of your deltoids (the round muscles on your upper arm/shoudler region) and traps (the muscle that travel from your shoulder to your neck). There should be specific exercises for your anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoids, so be sure to add Lateral Raises, Front Raises and Scapula Raises.
Regarding the trapezius muscles, you should be pressing overhead with Dumbbell Shoulder Presses, and it’s good to add variations such as the Arnold Press.
For a finisher, you should perform heavy barbell Shrugs to really finish off your traps. To help with the weight, you can use wrist straps. These take grip strength out of the picture so you can focus on shrugging and not letting go of the bar.
Give this workout a try and you’ll be on your way to bigger shoulders in no time.
- 1A) Push Press – 4×10
- 2A) Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×10
- 2B) Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 3×10
- 3A) Dumbbell Arnold Press – 3×10
- 3B) Plate Raises – 3×10
- 4A) Heavy Barbell Shrugs – 3×10-15
- 4B) Dumbbell Scap Raises – 3×10
Shoulder Workout Mistakes and Tips
When doing any overhead exercise, a common mistake people make is to arch their back. This results from improper use of the core during these lifts, which, over time, will cause lower back pain. Your focus when pressing weight over your head should be to control your breathing by inhaling at the bottom of the rep and forcibly exhaling on the way up. By doing that and simultaneously contracting your abs, thereby engaging your core, you will force your spine into a neutral position.’
The best advice is to start with a weight that you can handle for 10 clean reps with good technique and do plenty of core work to strengthen the area.
Avoid the Upright Row. That exercise, when done improperly, can cause serious damage to your shoulders. When it’s performed, you internally rotate your shoulders; however with too much resistance it causes shoulder impingement. The wear and tear will eventually add up and cause injury.