Huge shoulders are symbolic of strength and power. If you’re going for an alpha physique, there is no way you can ignore your shoulders. It’s no coincidence superheroes have gigantic shoulders – they also make a perfect place for their lady love to sit on.
People with tiny and sloping shoulders convey weakness and lethargy to trained eyes. You should have square shoulders with an upright posture if you want to be seen as a tough individual. All this is easier said than done.
Shoulders can be one of the hardest body parts to train, especially if you have genetically small shoulders. Since you’re reading this, we can assume you could use some help with your shoulders. It can be hard to build a mind-muscle connection with your shoulders.
Your shoulder workouts shouldn’t just be about going through the movements, you need to focus on every rep and exhaust your shoulders with every workout. Your shoulder caps should look like you have helmets in place of delts.
Some people don’t take the complete approach to training their shoulders. Your shoulders have three heads: anterior, medial and posterior. You need to be doing exercise for each head to train your shoulders effectively.
8 Best Exercises To Build Massive Shoulders From Scratch
1. Smith Machine Military Press – 3 Sets 12 Reps
This exercise can do wonders for you and your shoulders. Doing seated military presses on a smith machine will put all the tension on your anterior delts and will give you an incredible pump. You can go heavier on this exercise as compared to using the free weights.
This will also help exhaust your delts. Using the smith machine eliminates the risk of a back injury as your back is supported on a military chair or an inline bench. Once you get good at the front military presses, switch to behind the neck variation of this exercise.
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2. Behind The Back Cable Side Lateral Raises – 3 Sets 12 Reps
Chances are, you might have never heard of or seen someone do this exercise. You only find this exercise once you dig deep enough into the exercise rabbit hole. If you’ve never done this exercise, your muscles will be forced to grow.
Stand at an 80-degree angle with your feet close to the cable machine. Hold the handlebar behind your back and mimic the motion of a side lateral raise. This exercise will focus on your anterior and medial deltoids. You’ll have no idea what to do with your shoulders once you’re done with this exercise.
3. Arnold Presses – 3 Sets 12 Reps
This exercise was invented by Arnold himself. Arnold Presses focus on all the heads of your shoulders. This exercise will take the life out of your shoulders even though you won’t be able to lift the same weights as you would lift on dumbbell presses.
Hold the dumbbells in front of your shoulders with a supinated grip. Turn your wrists outwards as you’re lifting the dumbbells. Your palms should be facing forward – opposite of where you started – when you reach the top of the movement.
4. Cuban Presses – 3 Sets 12 Reps
Drop your ego before you get into this exercise. Neil ‘Yoda’ Hill made this exercise famous and athletes like Flex Lewis use it to carve their shoulders. Use half the weight on this exercise as compared to what you would use in dumbbell upright rows.
Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs. Do an upright row and bring the dumbbells to your shoulders. Switch from the upright rows into overhead dumbbell presses. Complete a dumbbell press and return to the starting position completing the dumbbell upright row.
5. Side Lateral Raises – 3 Sets 12 Reps
This exercise is indispensable if you’re looking to build huge shoulder caps. Side lateral raises work on your medial deltoids and make them rounder and fuller. We see a majority of the people doing this exercise incorrectly.
Stand with the dumbbells at your side. Have a slight bend in your elbows and lift your arms so they’re parallel to the ground. At no point during this exercise should your hands be higher than your elbows. Bring the weights back to your sides. Don’t bring them to the front of your thighs because this will transfer the tension from the medial delts to the posterior delts.
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6. Cable Rear Delt Fly – 3 Sets 15 Reps
Your posterior delts can be one of the most stubborn body parts to develop. Since you can’t see this muscle in the mirror, this makes it hard to set up a mind-muscle connection. This is another reason your rear delts are hard to build.
You can do this exercise on a cable machine or a pec fly machine. Make sure you don’t have a bend in your elbows while performing this exercise. Have a full range of motion to target your posterior delts. Using a machine or cable will make sure you’ve tension on the muscle throughout the exercise.
7. Bent Over Dumbbell Raises – 3 Sets 12 Reps
If you’re like most people, your rear delts can use some extra help. A couple of exercises for the posterior delts won’t cut it. Bent over dumbbell raises is a compound movement which will help bring size in your rear shoulders.
If you find it hard to maintain a strict form where you don’t move your back and use momentum to lift the weights, you can do this exercise on an incline bench. Place your chest on an incline bench and focus entirely on your rear delts.
8. Shrugs – 3 Sets 15 Reps
You can’t forget to train your traps. Trapezius muscles are an important part of your shoulders and we hardly see people training them. Traps connect your neck and shoulders. They give you the muscular and gigantic look.
You don’t need to go ultra heavy to train your traps. You can drop your ego and use weights which will make you hit failure at 15 repetitions. Hold the weights at the top of the movement and squeeze your traps with all you’ve got. Your traps should be filled with lactic acid at the end of this exercise.