This workout is like a car wreck. As you drive by, the cops tell you to keep moving because there's nothing to see. But you can't look away.

Created by MuscleTech- and athlete Abel Albonetti, this brutal shoulder workout is going to be super tough, with lots of volume and lots of dropsets, supersets, triple dropsets, and static holds. They're all intended to build those big, round shoulders you'd drive a thousand miles for.

Warning: Albonetti recommends doing this workout only once a month. This is too much volume to do every week.

Abel Albonetti's Total-Shoulder-Builder Workout
Seated Dumbbell Press
4 sets, 12, 10, 10, 8 reps (1 dropset of 6 reps)
+ 5 more exercises


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Technique Tips

Seated Dumbbell Press

With each set you do, increase the weight as you decrease the reps until you get to the last set, your triple dropset. Take each dropset to complete failure.

Seated Barbell Military Press and Seated Side Lateral Raise

Seated Side Lateral Raise

Albonetti wants you to do these exercises in a squat rack with the safety rack set at about shoulder height. This will allow you to move quickly from the presses to the side raises.

Do a set of presses followed immediately by a set of lateral raises, bringing up the dumbbells until your forearms touch the safety racks. The lateral raises should be performed as dropsets, so when you fail with your starting weight, replace those dumbbells with a lighter pair. After you hit failure on the second dropset, lift up your unweighted arms and press them against the underside of the safety racks and hold for a 20-second isometric squeeze.

Barbell Front Raise

Aim for 4 sets of 10 reps. Every set will be a dropset. Go to complete failure, which should be after 6-8 reps.

Seated Cable Shoulder Press, Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise, and Cable Rear Delt Fly

Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise

Albonetti's tortured twist on the cable shoulder press is to do 8 reps with one arm, 8 reps using the other arm, and then 8 reps with both arms. Adding to the challenge, he wants you to hold the arm that isn't lifting in a locked-and-loaded position for those 8 reps. Albonetti starts with a different arm each workout to prevent one arm from becoming dominant.

Albonetti does standing low-pulley delt raises while leaning to maintain continuous tension on the working shoulder. He also runs the cable between his legs, which helps him hit his mid delt harder. He chooses a weight that causes him to fail between 12-15 reps, then he bangs out some partial reps. Again, switch arms with each consecutive set to balance your development.

Finish the giant set with 12-15 reps of cable rear delt flyes. When you finish the last set, do a triple dropset. For this exercise, Albonetti wants you to keep the cables as high as the apparatus allows, then cross them over as you lift. Don't let the weight pull the handles behind the plane of your torso during the negative.

Dumbbell Front Raise, Dumbbell Lateral Raise, and Incline Bench Reverse Dumbbell Fly

Use the same dumbbells to do your front and side raises. Choose a pair 5 pounds lighter for the incline reverse dumbbell flyes.

When you do the dumbbell front raises, your palms should face down. As you raise the dumbbells, twist your wrists slightly until your pinkies are slightly higher than your thumbs.

Albonetti has you doing reverse flyes on an incline bench because it eliminates momentum, focusing all your effort on the rear heads of the deltoids.

About the Author

Hobart Swan

Hobart Swan

Hobart Swan formerly wrote and edited for He also worked as a producer of health content for CBS Radio, and as a health-content specialist at Healthwise, the nation’s...

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