Growing up, I wanted to be big and strong. My weight training reflected that. As I got older, I developed a lot of injuries. I tore my capsules in my shoulder. I developed "weightlifter's shoulder," among other things. So instead of training harder, I learned to train smarter.

Now, I change the number of repetitions I do. I change my weights. I started training a lot of different angles to target the circular nature of my shoulders. My results improved and I became less injury-prone.

I used what I learned to build the workout below. It includes seven exercises that work together to help develop overall shoulder strength. I recommend doing it once per week. Don't be afraid to change variations of exercises from dumbbells to machines to cables. Keep your body guessing.

Mile-Wide-Shoulder Workout
1
Side Lateral Raise
4-5 sets, 15-25 reps (rest 20-40 sec.)
2
Seated Dumbbell Press
4-5 sets, 15-25 reps (rest 20-40 sec.)
3
One-Arm Side Laterals
4-5 sets, 15-20 reps (rest 20-40 sec.)
4
Front Dumbbell Raise
4-5 sets, 15-20 rep (rest 20-40 sec.)
5
Standing Military Press
4-5 sets, 15-20 reps (rest 20-40 sec.)
6
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
4-5 sets, 15-20 reps (rest 20-40 sec.)
7
Side Lateral Raise
Perform as Angled Dumbbell Side Raise
4-5 sets, 15-20 reps (rest 20-40 sec.)

Fokken's Shoulder Round-Up

Exercise 1 Side Lateral Raise

4-5 warm-up sets of 15-25 reps, rest 20-40 seconds

Brandan Fokken's Mile-Wide-Shoulder Workout

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Side Lateral Raise

I use this modified side lateral raise as a warm-up. Hold the weight in front of your waist before lifting it out to your sides. I take my time with it, use strict form, and make sure I've got some blood flowing before starting my working sets.

Exercise 2 Seated Dumbbell Press

4-5 sets of 15-25 reps, rest 20-40 seconds

Brandan Fokken's Mile-Wide-Shoulder Workout

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Seated Dumbbell Press

This is the first working exercise. Use strict form. Instead of pressing up and touching the weights, I usually lift the dumbbells straight up and bring them back down after a peak contraction of the deltoids.

Exercise 3 Standing Straight Bar Side Raise

4-5 sets of 15-20 reps, rest 20-40 seconds

Brandan Fokken's Mile-Wide-Shoulder Workout

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Standing Straight Bar Side Raise

Grip the center of the bar and tilt it upward at a slight angle. Bring the bar to your side and back a little. You should feel this in both your side and your rear delt. You're going to get a great pump from this!

Exercise 4 Dumbbell Front Raise

4-5 sets of 15-20 reps, rest 20-40 seconds

Brandan Fokken's Mile-Wide-Shoulder Workout

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Dumbbell Front Raise

Go straight up in front; don't go too far above your head. Get a nice squeeze and come back down. I do a few variations: slow-pace alternating single-arm raise, double-arm raise, hammer-grip front raise, or fast-paced alternating single-arm raise.

Exercise 5 Standing Straight Bar Press

4-5 sets of 15-20 reps, rest 20-40 seconds

Brandan Fokken's Mile-Wide-Shoulder Workout

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Standing Straight Bar Press

I press to the front or back—it depends on how I feel. Just because I lift for higher reps doesn't mean I don't lift heavier.

Exercise 6 Seated Dumbbell Rear Lateral Raise

3-4 sets of 15-20 reps, rest 20-40 seconds

Brandan Fokken's Mile-Wide-Shoulder Workout

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Seated Dumbbell Rear Lateral Raise

The rear delts are smaller muscles, so I don't hit them as hard. I make sure that I have proper form. I usually go slower with it. A lot of people actually neglect their rear delts; make sure you hit them weekly. Otherwise you may develop a deficiency in your shoulders.

Exercise Angled Dumbbell Side Raise

4-5 sets of 15-20 reps, rest 20-40 seconds

Brandan Fokken's Mile-Wide-Shoulder Workout

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Angled Dumbbell Side Raise

Take the heads of the dumbbells and touch them in front of your hips. When you raise them, you want to keep the dumbbells facing each other as you lift them upward. Take your time here and have fun with it.

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Shoulder Workout