Ultimate Shoulder Builder

  • By Scott Mooney
    By Scott Mooney Six Star Ambassador
Exercise Sets x Reps
Seated Rope Face Pulls 4 x 15
Bent-Over Cable Rear Delt Raise 3 x 10/10/10*
Cable Lateral Raise 3 x 10/10/10*
Cable Front Raise 3 x 10/10/10*
Incline Plate Upright Row 3–4 x 12
Standing Barbell Overhead Press 3–4 x 10

*This is 3 sets and on EVERY set, perform a double drop set.

This workout is not for the faint of heart. It’s going to pump blood and vital nutrients into your shoulders to give you an unreal pump. On your three angles of shoulder raises (rear, side and front), you will add a double drop set to every set you perform. Make sure you keep rest periods to a minimum during this workout. Rest just long enough so you can complete all of your reps. It’s not about how much weight you can lift; focus more on keeping constant tension in the muscle. Keep your form tight and really isolate those shoulders!

1. Seated Rope Face Pulls

I like to start this workout with face pulls. This exercise is a great way to warm up the shoulder joint and get the blood flowing. This is also a great exercise for all-around shoulder health. I have noticed that doing these while seated forces you to use less momentum. I prefer to hold the rope with my thumbs towards the end of the rope. Squeeze and hold each rep at the top for one second before lowering.

Face pull 1
Face pull

2. Bent-Over Cable Rear Delt Raise (+ Double Drop Set)

I start this workout hitting the back of the shoulder and then moving to the front. I also prefer cables compared to dumbbells, as I feel more of a constant tension with cables. I bend over as far as possible on these and force myself to not raise my back and use momentum. After you do your first set of 10, drop the weight and do 10 more. Then drop the weight again and do 10 more with no rest. You do this three times total. The weight you are using will be light, and there’s a good chance that you will only be able to do 3 plates, then 2, then 1.

Rear delt raise
Rear delt raise

3. Cable Lateral Raise (+ Double Drop Set)

After destroying the back of the shoulder, we are going to do the same double drop sets for the middle delts. Remember to raise the weights leading with the elbows. Again do 10, then drop and do 10 more, then drop and do 10 more. Then repeat this two more times. The blood should be rushing to your shoulders at this point of the workout.

Cable lateral raise
Cable lateral raise

4. Cable Front Raise (+ Double Drop Set)

The final exercise of the double drop set portion of the workout is the front delts. Same concept as the previous two exercises. Remember to minimize momentum used and get a full stretch and full squeeze on each rep. After this, your shoulders should be fried.

Front raise
Front raise

5. Incline Plate Upright Row

I really like this exercise as an accessory movement for my shoulder workouts. Standing barbell upright rows puts the shoulder in a very dangerous position and can lead to injury. I get a better contraction of the deltoid with this version of the upright row and it keeps the shoulder in a much safer position. Set the bench at an incline that is over 45 degrees. Get a full stretch at the bottom and hold at the top of the movement for one second before lowering.

Plate upright row
Plate upright row

6. Standing Barbell Overhead Press

I, personally, have had shoulder pain from overhead pressing. For this reason, I like to put it at the end of the workout since I am already drained, and I am unable to lift as much weight. I really try to use a mind-muscle connection and think about the contraction of the shoulders on my overhead presses. I bring the bar down to about neck level before pressing all the way up. No half reps – always keep a full range of motion. By this time in the workout, you will be much weaker than if the shoulder presses came first. So make sure to lower your weight accordingly.

Overhead press
Overhead press

Start typing and press Enter to search