10 Best Muscle-Building Shoulder Exercises!

Whatever your goal, one of these seven mass-building shoulder workouts can help you achieve it! No two people work out exactly the same. Whether it's choice and sequence of exercises, how many sets to complete of each move, how heavy to go and reps completed, length of rest periods, or advanced training techniques and finishing moves, each lifter has his or her own workout DNA.

Among the 9. Individuality can be a good thing, but certain principles make some routines better than others, especially for specific goals. So rather than present you with 9. If you find one you like, try it for weeks, then go back to your regular workout or try another from the list.

These workouts are just the start, though. You'll find dozens of full programs to keep your shoulders growing in the Bodybuilding. Once you master the routines here, use Bodybuilding. To build mass, always start your workout with the most demanding exercises—multijoint overhead presses, in the case of the delts—which allow you to push the most weight. In this mass workout, a second multijoint move is next, followed by single-joint moves for each of the three delts heads: front, middle, and rear.

This is the foundation for a solid mass workout. Keeping the total volume fairly high also promotes muscle growth. You can make the workout more challenging in several ways. For the overhead press, start by using dumbbells, which are slightly more difficult to control and have a slightly longer range of motion than a barbell.

We'll also follow a reverse-pyramid scheme, which allows you to take more total sets to muscle failure. For the first 2 sets, you'll use a fairly heavy weight for a low rep target—just 6—to promote even greater strength gains than you might normally get when shooting for a slightly higher rep target. As you become increasingly fatigued, decrease the weight by about 5 pounds per side on subsequent sets.

Finally, on your two heaviest sets, enlist a spotter who can provide you just enough help to keep the weight moving. Because the front delts get so much work on chest day, and the middle delts take the brunt of the weight on overhead pressing moves, it's not uncommon for the rear delts to be the smallest—and weakest—of the three.

In this workout, you'll do them before the other two, while you have a bit more energy in the tank. Feel free to rearrange the order of the single-joint moves based on your weaknesses, though. If you judge your delts to be fairly balanced, simply rotate the order of the single-joint movements from one workout to the next.

Lifting light weights for high reps is no longer considered the best approach to better defining the deltoids. This workout focuses on a stimulus to boost size first moderate weight for moderate reps , then a high volume of work combined with supersets to increase the number of calories burned both during the workout and after called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

You'll be moving faster and really feeling the muscle burn. This basic routine consists of an overhead press plus a single-joint move for each of the three delt heads. When possible, start with machines to learn the feel of the motion before graduating to free weights. So long as you adjust the machine for your body mechanics, you're constrained to the proper motion.

Though jumping over to free weights will prove to be a challenge for your coordination initially, they're better for muscle-building in the long term. Start light to focus on proper form first. Add weight only when you can fully control the motion.

Making your shoulders appear wider requires emphasizing the middle delts. Doing so helps broaden your V-taper while creating the illusion of a smaller waist. The key to the workout, of course, is to do more movements that target the middle delts.

Besides additional exercises, you'll want to use slightly different angles for a slightly different training stimulus, and do middle-delt exercises earlier in your routine, when your strength levels are highest. You can alternate this routine with a more balanced delt workout such as the mass workout in your weekly split.

Rear delts are commonly lagging for novices and bodybuilding pros alike. Simply put, they don't get as much stimulation, given that the front and middle delts are involved in chest- and shoulder-pressing moves. While the rears are called into action on back day, all too many lifters focus on mirror muscles.

If your rears are in arrears, just follow this routine for weeks—or alternate with a more balanced shoulder routine—to help bring them up. If you like to train chest, you probably already have well-developed front delts. After all, they're engaged in all your pressing moves, especially inclines. But relatively weak anterior delts can be holding you back from a bigger chest, so here's a front-delt-focused workout you can use in place of your regular shoulder routine.

Separate your chest and shoulder workouts by at least 48 hours in your training split to ensure they're fully recovered between workouts. As with chest, the triceps can sometimes be a limiting factor in shoulder training, especially on your presses. If your triceps are always giving out before your shoulders feel completely stimulated, you'll never be able to take the delts to total failure on those multijoint exercises.

This pre-exhaust technique addresses that issue. Here, you fatigue the delt heads with single-joint movements first, then do multijoint overhead presses while your triceps are still strong. That way, your delts should reach failure before your triceps do. Even though you'll be stronger with the single-joint exercises because you're doing them first, avoid the temptation to go too heavy, because of the added stress to your elbows joints.

Also, because you're already highly fatigued by the time you get to your presses, a machine version might be a bit safer. By flip-flopping the order of the exercises, you'll be a little stronger on your single-joint movements but a bit weaker on your overhead presses, so adjust your weights accordingly.

Bill Geiger, MA, has served as a senior content editor for Bodybuilding. View all articles by this author. Need Help? United States. Sponsored By:. Upright Cable Row. Front Barbell Raise. Delt-Mass Routine. Dumbbell Shoulder Press. Upright Barbell Row. Side Lateral Raise. Cable Front Raise. Delt-Definition Routine. Seated Barbell Military Press.

Side Lateral Raise Superset. Front Cable Raise. Reverse Machine Flyes. Lateral Raise - With Bands. Machine Shoulder Press. Beginner's routine. Machine Shoulder Military Press. Leaning Dumbbell Lateral Raise. Middle-Delt routine. Barbell Shoulder Press. One-Arm Side Laterals. Cable Rear-Delt Fly.

Rear delt routine. Standing Barbell Press Behind Neck. Cable Rear Delt Fly. Arnold Dumbbell Press. Front delt routine. Front Two-Dumbbell Raise. Smith Machine Upright Row. Pre-Exhaust routine. Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise. Barbell Front Raise. Access our entire library of more than 50 fitness programs. About the Author. Shoulders Shoulder Workout.

The 7 Best Shoulder Exercises

Some variations, like using dumbbells, are more difficult to get the hang of if you've never done them before. Levator Scapulae Your levator scapulae muscle is located at the side and back of the neck. We included both the barbell and source here.

2) Get creative with your presses

Access our entire library of more than 50 fitness programs. Your trapezius is the triangle-shaped muscle that runs down along your spine and across your shoulder blade. Pre-Exhaust routine. Sink into a squat and swing the dumbbell through your legs before immediately driving yourself forward, bringing the dumbbell up towards your head as you straighten your legs.

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