Guide: The ultimate Shoulder Workout
A six-pack is great and all, but since that will likely be hidden under a t-shirt during summer, you might want to focus on sculpting a nice set of broad shoulders. Broad shoulders are not only attractive, but they also make you look stronger and are an asset to attract the ladies. Ready to carve out some muscle and tone your shoulders? We have the perfect workouts to get you there.
Alright, gents. You’re looking to get bigger, stronger, bolder-looking shoulders. Easy, right? Well, let’s see. You’re looking to hit your deltoids, upper trapezius, serratus anterior, rotator cuff muscles and levator scapulae to build the shoulders of an iconic man. And in order to take there, you’ll have to try several workouts.
First, let’s examine why wanting stronger shoulders is the right idea. Sure, it looks good. But having strong shoulders has other benefits. The most obvious one is having improved strength. A lot of upper body exercises targets several of the major upper body muscles.
It’s also good for your bones. When you lift using upper body muscles, the load placed on your bones by the weights you use stresses them. As a result, the bones adapt, just like your muscles, and over time become stronger. Why? Bones respond by increasing mineral density and becoming stronger. This in turn can help you reduce the risk for other diseases later on in life, like osteoporosis.
Another obvious one is that it improves stability, especially in your arms and torso. Although some exercises might not target your torso directly, you have to work on maintaining your posture whenever you lift above your shoulder length. This leads to better core stabilization and overall body balance, especially if you do some shoulder workouts standing up instead of sitting on a bench or laying down.
Shoulder exercises can benefit you in many other ways, especially when performing other exercises. For example, when you do shoulder presses you’re likely to notice an improvement during triceps-targeting exercises, bench presses and even pushups. Stronger shoulders can also help you reduce the risk of injury during other sports such as swimming, softball, lacrosse or other activities that require you to use your upper body muscles.
Those are enough reasons why to want to strengthen your muscles, right? Whether you’re just looking to improve shoulder strength for physique purposes or health benefits, we compiled a list of the top five shoulder workouts to get you there. Check out our iconic man shoulder workout recommendations:
1. Barbell overhead press: Oh, yeah! Get ready to really get those shoulders working. You can set the bar up in a squat rack or cage and grasp it just outside shoulder width. Make sure you’re always holding the bar at shoulder level with your forearms perpendicular to the floor, or else you could get injured. Full disclosure, this is a tricky move. Not so much because it’s hard, but it does require you to pay a lot of attention to your body and posture overall. Is the bar perpendicular? Is it a shoulder level? Are your knees holding too much pressure? Is your back positioned correctly? And are your abs and core tight? Did you tighten your glutes a little bit? It’s a lot. But! The more you practice this move, the better you will get at it and the more natural all of this will come to you.
2. Standing dumbbell fly: This is one of my favorite moves. It’s deceiving in that it looks easy. It’s an easy move, sure. But once you’ve grabbed a set of dumbbell with a comfortable weight (and you might have to lower it if you’re going for time rather than a specific number of sets) and you start exercising this move, your arms will begin to feel heavy. In fact, they’ll feel really heavy. Again, make sure that when your arms are going upwards to not surpass shoulder level. You want to make sure you’re forming a perfect 90-degree angle and slowly lowering your arms before lifting them upwards again. You can aim for three sets of 12 or three sets of 45 seconds each. Don’t try to go too heavy, you won’t last. The goal of this move (and any move, really) is to build resistance and strength by performing the activity correctly, not by aiming to lift the heaviest weight possible. Be patient, you’ll get there!
3. Dumbbell neutral grip overhead press: By holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level with your palms facing each other and your elbows pointing outwards, start pressing the weights upwards. Once you’ve reached the top, shrug your shoulders for a second and lower your arms before repeating this move. This move is one of my favorite ones. You can actively feel your muscles engaging and start seeing results fairly quickly. You’re likely to feel sore the next day if you’re not used to exercising this muscle group, but that’s only a sign that you have targeted your shoulders and these are beginning to grow.
4. Machine shoulder press: If you don’t have access to a machine, that’s OK. You can also just use a bench and a set of dumbbells to perform this move. You might want to do this move earlier on during your workout as it can tire your shoulders very quickly. If you’re using a machine or a bench, it’ll be easier to keep a healthy posture. Aim for a weight you’re comfortable using but that it’s heavy enough that it makes you work for lifting the weight. Make sure your elbows track in a normal pressing path while you’re pressing the handles overhead.
5. Rack deadlift: There’s no way we would leave this one out. Do you want shoulders? You got to work to form them. Again, this move requires you to consider several things: posture, knees and back. Set up the bar in a way so that it rests just below your knees. Stand with feet hip-width and, keep your lower back in its natural arch. Try to bend your hips back and grasp the bar just outside your knee before pulling the bar into your body tightly. Make sure to extend your hips and stand up before you repeat this move. Try three sets with 12 repetitions each.
Some of these moves help you target your triceps and biceps. Try a couple of these out or make them part of your arms workout routine and watch yourself get the shoulders of an iconic man!
Found this article to be helpful? Are there any workouts we left out that are helpful to you? Share your tips by leaving a comment below, we want to hear from you!
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