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Cap Off Your Physique: 4 Moves To Building Bolder Shoulders

You want your shoulders to look good and work well, not shoot off pain sparks every time you lift your arms. This giant set workout will build muscularity and maintain joint integrity at the same time.

By: Roger Lockridge

4 Moves To Building Bolder Shoulders


Women wear suits with shoulder pads to project an aura of authority in the workplace.

Men wear shoulder pads in football games so they can knock opponents into next week.

Which goes to show that shoulders have both symbolic and functional importance.

With the right workout, your shoulders will need no artificial padding. They'll be sculpted into round "caps," and capable of handling any reasonable load that comes their way.

They'll also keep their structural and functional integrity, because nothing derails upper-body gains like a bum shoulder joint or two. After all, the last thing you want is for those "coconut" delts of yours to crack.

The following workout will prod your delts into serious growth while keeping them healthy too:


Danger: Shoulder Work Ahead

So warm up, will ya? You should do so before every workout, but especially before a shoulder workout. Take 10 minutes and walk on the treadmill, to get the blood flowing and raise your body temperature. Don't work up a major sweat but don't tip toe, either.

While warming up, clear your head of any negative thoughts. Visualize your head sitting on top of boulders, because that's what you'll look like after the workout. Think about how it will feel to complete this training session, how pumped and big your shoulders will look in the mirror.

Now do rotator exercises to ensure your shoulder joints and rotator cuffs are fully prepared to handle the pounding they're about to receive. Start out by doing 20 arm circles in both directions.

Next, grab very light dumbbells-5-pounders will do. Do 20 external rotations for each shoulder, followed by 20 front raises. Then do 20 side raises, 20 shoulder circles, and 20 rear raises.

After resting for 1 minute, you're ready to roll. These exercises are basic-but they work. The twist here is that you're going to do these four movements in giant set style. That means you'll perform one set of each exercise consecutively before resting. You're going to hit the front, side and rear heads of the shoulder before finishing with traps. The entire deltoid area will feel so engorged with nutrient-rich blood that those coconuts will be ready to burst. Let's get to it!

Seated Dumbbell Press

Sit on an upright bench with a weight you can handle for 8-10 reps. The key to this movement is that you're going to pause at the bottom of the movement before performing the next rep. That takes away all momentum from the movement, which means you'll have to work that much harder to get it up. This means two things: You'll get stronger, and eventually your shoulders will need their own ZIP code.

Seated Dumbbell Press
Seated Dumbbell Press
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Seated Dumbbell Press
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Seated Dumbbell Press.

Side Lateral Raise

Find a weight you can handle for 10-12 reps … when you're doing 3-second negatives. In other words, once you reach the top of the movement, count to three as you lower the weight: One thousand one … one thousand two … one thousand three … then, boom, it's go time.

One more point about this exercise: Once your arms rise above parallel with the floor, your traps will assume control of the movement. Don't do this! Don't go too high; if you do, those coconuts won't get completely cooked.

Side Lateral Raise
Side Lateral Raise
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Side Lateral Raise
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Side Lateral Raise.

Rear Lateral Raise

Keep those same dumbbells and position yourself to do rear lateral raises. You're going to do the same thing here that you did with the side laterals: At the top of the lifting portion of the exercise, squeeze for a good contraction, followed by a 3-second negative. Feeling the burn at this point? Good! That's what it takes to be successful. Go for 12-15 reps here before moving on to the final exercise.

Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise.

Dumbbell Shrug

Use the same weight you used for the dumbbell presses and start shrugging. Grip the weights with every ounce of strength you have left. If you need straps, use them. Squeeze at the top for a second before letting the weights down. Once the DBs are down, let them hang for a second so you get a deep stretch in the traps. Keep going until you can't perform the next rep properly or you lose your grip. Once you finish with shrugs, it's time to rest!

Dumbbell Shrug
Dumbbell Shrug
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Dumbbell Shrug
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Dumbbell Shrug.


The Giant Set Plan, Man

You should only have two pair of dumbbells for this routine: one pair for the presses and shrugs and one pair for both raises. You'll perform each of these movements in a row before resting. Even then, rest periods are only 2 minutes for beginners and intermediate lifters. If you're an advanced trainer, take 90 seconds before doing the next giant set.

Beginners should only do two giant sets until they grow accustomed to training like this. Intermediate folks can do this plan for three sets for an effective workout. For you iron veterans, go for four rounds, really pushing yourself. Max effort here.

This routine shouldn't take you too long to complete. At the end, you will have effectively targeted every head of the deltoids as well as the trapezius.

Supersize Shoulders Recap

Warmup
Arm Circles
1 set of 20 reps
External Rotation
1 set of 20 reps
Front Raise
1 set of 20 reps
Side Raise
1 set of 20 reps
Shoulder Circle
1 set of 20 reps
Rear Raise
1 set of 20 reps
Giant Set

Each exercise done consecutively before resting 2 minutes.
Beginners: 2 rounds
Intermediates: 3 rounds
Advanced: 4 rounds

Seated Dumbbell Press
2-4 rounds of 8-10 reps
Side Lateral Raise
2-4 rounds of 10-12 reps
Rear Lateral Raise
2-4 rounds of 12-15 reps
Dumbbell Shrug
2-4 rounds to failure

Cap Off Your Physique: 4 Moves To Building Bolder Shoulders
rock23@bodybuilders.com

Back To Roger Lockridge's Main Page

Back To The Articles Main Page.

Related Articles
8 Shoulder Exercises You Must Do
Stacked Caps: Craig Capurso's Heavy-Volume Shoulder Workout
Shoulder Work Ahead: Jessie Hilgenberg's Delt Workout



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CallMeChaz

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CallMeChaz

I'm anxious to start this routine. I really appreciate the rotator cuff warm-up, as I have torn mine once. This looks like a great routine to keep from re-injuring it while getting my shoulders into shape.

Apr 23, 2012 6:39pm | report
 
nooboldster

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nooboldster

awesome!

May 17, 2012 5:19pm | report
 
rocklockridge

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rocklockridge

Thanks, everyone.

May 24, 2012 9:12am | report
 
ch9jermain

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ch9jermain

with a program like this, whats a reasonable time frame to expect an inch or 2 gained with a high calorie diet?

Jun 17, 2012 7:33pm | report
 
eatingroaches

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eatingroaches

Just finished this workout, and my delts are completely swollen, I needed my ole lady to make protein shake I could'nt lift arms. It was awesome!!!!!

Sep 22, 2012 6:53pm | report
 
xwill

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xwill

gonna try this as my new workout changes in November

Oct 9, 2012 12:03pm | report
 
xwill

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xwill

cant wait to try it in my next workout

Oct 9, 2012 12:06pm | report
 
AutumnHB

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AutumnHB

the most basic shoulder routine you can find.

Aug 22, 2013 8:03pm | report
 
jazzharp1

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jazzharp1

I know this was posted a while ago but I've been researching shoulder work to rehab my strained rot cuff. Luckily it's not a tear, but I've been grounded from lifting for at least two weeks. I was doing a similar warmup...my mistake was to do keep increasing weight as weeks went by. I was literally doing this warm up with 10s or 15s, and then heading off to lift. And sometimes I did shoulders twice a week. What have I learned? DON'T OVERWORK THEM!

May 13, 2014 9:43am | report
 
Showing 1 - 9 of 9 Comments

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