Strong, powerful shoulders are like the icing on the cake of the perfect upper body physique. Jutting out from your body like boulders on a mountain, the several muscles that make up your shoulders give you a powerful athletic look that everyone wants!
The great thing about the shoulder muscles is that they are often worked indirectly through a variety of chest and back exercises like the flat bench press and barbell rows. They also get worked through repetitions in sports, like a boxer throwing punches on the heavy bag or a basketball player practicing their jump shot. This means that unless you are a highly experienced professional bodybuilder, you really don’t need to devote an entire workout to just training your shoulders since they receive a significant amount of indirect volume from everywhere else.
Shoulder training should be kept simple with a few basic lifts that have stood the test of time and are guaranteed to pack on some serious muscle for that boulder shoulder look! You can do this workout by itself, or add on some lower body training or other small muscle group exercises like arm and abdominal training. Do not do shoulders on the same day that you train chest or back as this can result in too much volume in one session.
ARM CIRCLES: 30 SECONDS FORWARD, 30 SECONDS BACKWARD
Start with your arms stretched out wide parallel with the floor and rotate your arms forward, making small circles with your hands. Slowly work your way up to larger and larger circles. Reverse the rotation and repeat.
SHADOWBOX: 1 MINUTE
Throw punches in the air including straight punches, hooks and uppercuts. If you have access to very light dumbbells (1–5 lbs.) use them to make this slightly more difficult; however do not overly fatigue the shoulders.
STANDING OVERHEAD BARBELL PRESS: 5 REPS FOR 5 SETS, REST 120 SECONDS
This is best done in a squat rack or cage. Set a barbell at about chest height; place your hands at shoulder width or slightly wider (whatever feels most comfortable). Lift the barbell and step back, pressing the weight overhead. Let the barbell travel in a straight line upwards by moving your head back as it passes in front of your face and then moving your head back into a neutral position once the bar has safety risen above your head. Lock out your arms and then immediately lower back down while again moving your head out of the way as the bar passes down.
SEATED DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS: 8–12 REPS FOR 3 SETS, REST 90 SECONDS
Holding a dumbbell in each hand using a neutral grip (palms facing inwards toward each other), press the weight overhead as explosively as possible until locked out and then slowly lower the weight back down for a count of 4 seconds.
DUMBBELL LATERAL + FRONT RAISE SUPERSET: 3 SETS OF 12–15 REPS OF EACH
Take two light dumbbells, and without using momentum, raise them up at your sides with your palms facing down until your arms are parallel with the ground, then lower back down, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows. After finishing 12–15 reps of this, immediately raise both dumbbells in front of you until your arms are parallel with the ground with elbows slightly bent for another 12–15 reps. Rest for 90 seconds and then repeat the two exercises back to back until you have completed 3 rounds.
This last super set should really burn out your shoulders and will take a lot of determination to push through. If you find yourself fading towards the end of your workout and unable to maintain the intensity needed to get serious results, try supplementing with a quality pre-workout. Taking a pre-workout supplement with clinically dosed ingredients like Six Star Pro® Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion will help to ensure that you are able to maintain focus and intensity until your very last rep!