As an IFBB pro bikini athlete, I know the importance of a pair of stacked shoulder caps. They're the key to any well-rounded physique and can make your shoulders appear wider, your waist smaller, and your hips narrower. Strong shoulders mean balance, symmetry, and proportion.

To build great shoulders, you can't just show up and go through the motions. Training is all about strength, intensity, growth, and that neverending desire to reach higher every time. Good genetics and natural talent are swell, but they don't mean anything if you're not willing to work for your goals.

In other words, to build great shoulders, you have to lift heavy, sweat, and push yourself.

I get a lot of questions about my shoulder routine. In general, I like to stick to the classic bodybuilding exercises, bump up the weight as I lift, and lower the reps. I throw in a couple dropsets for good measure.

My workout usually consists of six exercises done for 4-5 sets in the 6-15 rep range. Try incorporating this workout into your routine twice each week, allowing for a couple days rest in between.

Brittany Tacy's Sexy Shoulder Workout

Watch the video: 04:27

Exercise 1.  Arm Circles

Warm-up: 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps

It's a good idea to kick off this shoulder workout by properly warming up your muscles. I warm up by taking the 2.5 or the 5-pound weight plates and doing circles to the front and to the back with both arms. This gets your muscles warm, your blood flowing, and prepares your joints for heavy work.

Exercise 2. Military Dumbbell Press

Warm-up: 1 set of 15-18 reps

Working sets: 4 sets of 6-12 reps

I always start my shoulder routine with my very favorite exercise—military dumbbell press. When you get to the top, make sure you don't touch the weights overhead. Just bring them straight up to keep the tension in your shoulders the entire time.

Brittany Tacy's Sexy Shoulder Workout

Military Dumbbell Press

Exercise 3. 90-Degree Lateral Raise

Warm-up: 2 sets of 10-15 reps

Working sets: 3 dropsets to burnout

Lateral raises are going to give you a great shoulder burn. After your first two warm-up sets, head straight into dropsets. If you start out with the 20s for your first 2 sets, go to the 15s, the 10s, and then either the 8s or the 5s for your last drop. Make sure each set is to a total burnout.

Brittany Tacy's Sexy Shoulder Workout

90-Degree Lateral Raise

Exercise 4. Arnold Dumbbell Press

Working sets: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

I usually stick with the same weight for all 3 sets of this exercise. Use the Arnold dumbbell press as an opportunity to focus on your form. Be sure to keep the dumbbells close to your chest, bring them straight up and down the entire time, and ensure you get a full stretch at the bottom of the exercise.

Brittany Tacy's Sexy Shoulder Workout

Arnold Dumbbell Press

Exercise 5. Front Raises

Working sets: 4 sets of 10-15 reps

For an added burn, I usually start my first set of front raises by alternating arms for 10 reps. Then, for sets 2 and 3, I lift both arms simultaneously to fatigue my shoulders before burning them out with alternating reps on the final set.

Brittany Tacy's Sexy Shoulder Workout

Front Raises

Remember to keep pulling with your shoulders while using as little of your traps and back muscles as possible. Keep the weights nice and controlled, and avoid the tendency to swing.

Exercise 6. Dumbbell Upright Rows

Working sets: 4 sets of 6-15 reps

You can perform dumbbell upright rows alternating or at the same time. You want to make sure the dumbbell comes straight up your body and straight down with no swinging motion back and forth. Don't heave the weight; lift the weight.

Brittany Tacy's Sexy Shoulder Workout

Dumbbell Upright Rows

About the Author

Contributing Writer

Brittany Tacy

Bodybuilding.com's authors include many of the top coaches, nutritionists, and physique athletes in the world today.

View all articles by this author