5 Shoulder Routines For 3-D Definition

From deep in the Bodybuilding.com forums come 5 routines, ranging from the reasonable to the terrifying. Your next shoulder day is locked and loaded!

Shoulders are a miracle of bio-engineering. They boast a ridiculous range of motion, and depending on your flexibility, are the only joints you can use to scratch or scrub nearly every part of your anatomy. (Except maybe that one elusive spot in the middle of your back. A little help over here?)

But shoulders are much more than just joints. The musculature of the shoulders can be seen from 360 degrees around your person, which means they define your athletic physique like almost nothing else can. You may have the arms, but the shoulders truly announce "I Lift, Ergo I Am." You may be strong, but if your shoulders are slumping and narrow, nobody will notice the rest!

Not surprisingly, the Bodybuilding.com forums are a treasure trove of shoulder-training wisdom. Our members share their secrets without asking for anything other than a little rep power in return. Plug one of these five routines into your split, and let us know how you like it in the comments—if you can lift your arms to the keyboard!

Hooray for Pre-exhaustion! by Jaries12

Not everyone can come out of the gates at a gallop when it comes to shoulders. For those of you with persnickety shoulder joints comes this routine to help ready them for action.

The workout starts with a lengthy warm-up: a slow and steady superset of presses and upright rows using dumbbells to heat up your joints. One more warmer-upper in the form of a seated side lateral raise done for 3 straight sets of 10, and you're ready to get into the working sets.

Not only does this formula mean happy, shiny rotator cuffs and blood rushing to needy parts, it also works to pre-exhaust your delts. Translation: You lift less weight for the subsequent five-move workout, adding size while saving your shoulders from wear and tear.

Not only does this formula mean happy, shiny rotator cuffs and blood rushing to needy parts, it also works to pre-exhaust your delts.
Jaries12's Shoulder Workout
Warm-up
Superset
1
Standing dumbbell overhead press Standing dumbbell overhead press

Dumbbell upright row

3 sets of 10 reps
Dumbbell upright row Dumbbell upright row

Workout
2
Seated dumbbell side lateral raise Seated dumbbell side lateral raise

3

Military press

3 sets of 8 reps
Military press Military press

4

Plate front raise

3 sets of 10 reps
Plate front raise Plate front raise

5

Upright row

3 sets of 8 reps
Upright row Upright row

6

Reverse cable fly (or reverse dumbbell fly)

3 sets of 10 reps
Reverse cable fly Reverse cable fly

7

Arnold press

3 sets of 10 reps
Arnold press Arnold press


Take It Sitting Down by Slu12

Momentum can be your worst enemy when it comes to hypertrophy, so forum member Slu12 solved his own momentous issue by doing all his shoulder work while seated.

This program begins with heavy seated military presses to build mass in the shoulders as a unit, then moves into sustained hypertrophy mode with dumbbell and cable work to shape and detail all three heads of the deltoids. And because you'll do all this work while seated, your legs, glutes and back can't assist to generate power and momentum to help you lift. Every bit of stimulation that they don't get goes instead to—you guessed it!—your shoulders.

Slu12's Shoulder Workout
1

Seated military press

3 sets of 6-8 reps
Seated military press Seated military press

2

Dumbbell overhead press

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Dumbbell overhead press Dumbbell overhead press

3

Lateral dumbbell raise

3 sets of 10 reps
Lateral dumbbell raise Lateral dumbbell raise

4

Front raise

3 sets of 10 reps
Front raise Front raise

5

Reverse cable fly

3 sets of 10 reps
Reverse cable fly Reverse cable fly


Shoulders and All the Trappings by The-truth86

The traps are like the red-headed stepchildren of the shoulder world. They assist with many functions of the shoulders themselves, as well as the upper back, but they don't typically get a lot of love in most peoples' shoulder programming.

This program delivers plenty of adoration to the traps with a triple-whammy of shrugs at the end of the workout. You'll slay them with 10 building sets done in a rep range of 8-15. You can mix and match your other shoulder moves pre-trap annihilation, using both dumbbells and barbells in straight or building sets to get 'er done.

The-truth86's Shoulder Workout
1

Lateral dumbbell raise

4 sets of 12 reps
Lateral dumbbell raise Lateral dumbbell raise

2

Military press

5 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6, 8 reps
Military press Military press

3
Incline bench lateral dumbbell raise Incline bench lateral dumbbell raise

4

Upright row

3 sets of 10, 8, 8 reps
Upright row Upright row

5

Incline bench front raise

3 sets of 8 reps
Incline bench front raise Incline bench front raise

6

Reverse dumbbell fly

3 sets of 12 reps
Reverse dumbbell fly Reverse dumbbell fly

7

Barbell shrug

4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 10 reps
Barbell shrug Barbell shrug

8

Incline dumbbell shrug

3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps
Incline dumbbell shrug Incline dumbbell shrug

9

Smith machine behind-the-back shrug

3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps
Smith machine behind-the-back shrug Smith machine behind-the-back shrug


High-Volume Shoulder Gauntlet by GM54

Though they're not for everyone, high-volume 28-set workouts like this one by GM54 can give stubborn shoulders a shock treatment. This workout incorporates heavy mass-building sets, supersets, and high-rep sets, subjecting your delts to an onslaught of intensities and techniques. The result: burnout, exhaustion, and growth.

To get the most out of this routine, use slow, controlled contractions, holding a full second at the peak exertion. Then pause 1-2 seconds at the bottom for a miniscule window of recovery before going into the next rep.

This workout incorporates heavy mass-building sets, supersets, and high-rep sets, subjecting your delts to an onslaught of intensities and techniques. The result: burnout, exhaustion, and growth.
GM54's Shoulder Workout
1

Overhead dumbbell press

4 sets of 6 reps
Overhead dumbbell press Overhead dumbbell press

Superset
2

Behind-the-neck press

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Behind-the-neck press Behind-the-neck press

Plate front raise

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Plate front raise Plate front raise

3

Dumbbell lateral raise

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Dumbbell lateral raise Dumbbell lateral raise

Superset
4
Behind-the-back cable side lateral raise Behind-the-back cable side lateral raise

Machine side lateral raise

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Machine side lateral raise Machine side lateral raise

5

Seated row

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Seated row Seated row

6

Reverse pec deck

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Reverse pec deck Reverse pec deck

7

Upright row

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Upright row Upright row

8

Barbell shrug

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Barbell shrug Barbell shrug

9

Dumbbell shrug

3 sets of 12 reps
Dumbbell shrug Dumbbell shrug


Barbell Shrug

Pre- and Post-exhaust Madness by SeriousDon

Forum reader SeriousDon lives up to his name with a shoulder workout that is not for the weak of heart or rotator cuff. It begins with a dedicated 8-set pre-exhaust to waste all three heads of the muscle group, using both straight sets and supersets to jump-start his delt engine.

Next up: a triple dose of overhead presses using barbells, dumbbells, and machines, followed by yet another 8 sets of the pre-exhaust program. Then your traps get whaled with a 9-set pyramid of behind-the-back Smith machine shrugs in reps ranging from 10-50, followed immediately by 4 sets of dumbbell shrugs, in which the fourth set should end with absolute failure.

But you're not done. For your final hurrah, perform a farmer's carry using kettlebells, plates, or dumbbells—pick your poison—shuffling ahead until you can no longer physically hold the weights. Masochistic? Absolutely, and we love it.

Next up: a triple dose of overhead presses using barbells, dumbbells, and machines, followed by yet another 8 sets of the pre-exhaust program.
SeriousDon's Shoulder Workout
Pre-exhaust routine
1

Dumbbell front raise

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 10 reps
Dumbbell front raise Dumbbell front raise

Superset
2

Dumbbell lateral raise

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 15 reps
Dumbbell lateral raise Dumbbell lateral raise

Dumbbell reverse fly

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 15 reps
Dumbbell reverse fly Dumbbell reverse fly

Main workout
3

Barbell military press

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 10 reps
Barbell military press Barbell military press

4

Dumbbell military press

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 10 reps
Dumbbell military press Dumbbell military press

5

Machine shoulder press

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 10 reps
Machine shoulder press Machine shoulder press

6

Dumbbell front raise

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 10 reps
Dumbbell front raise Dumbbell front raise

Superset
7

Dumbbell lateral raise

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 10 reps
Dumbbell lateral raise Dumbbell lateral raise

Dumbbell reverse fly

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 10 reps
Dumbbell reverse fly Dumbbell reverse fly

8

Behind-the-back Smith machine shrug

9 sets of 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 reps
Behind-the-back Smith machine shrug Behind-the-back Smith machine shrug

9

Dumbbell shrug

4 sets of 20, 15, 10, and to failure
Dumbbell shrug Dumbbell shrug

10

Farmer's carry

1 set to failure
Farmer's carry Farmer's carry


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