Everyone talks about growing bigger glutes or rock-solid abs, but what about those shoulders?
Building bigger shoulders is great for guys and gals alike. They help give your body that signature X-frame look, and make your waist look smaller!
Beyond aesthetics, shoulder strength is vital for daily activities. Cleaning up, carrying in the shopping – it's all your shoulders!
In order to keep fit, healthy and balanced, shoulder exercises need to be incorporated into your training schedule.
Here are 5 of our favourite exercises that will work the different parts of your shoulders and help you to really start seeing those gains.
1. Seated Bent-over Lateral Rear Delt Raises
The clue is in the name, but these bad boys are going to help build those rear delts (basically, the back part of your shoulder).
Start off sat down with a dumbbell in each hand. Lean forward slightly and raise the dumbbells until your rear delts are fully contracted. Keep the movement slow and controlled to get the maximum benefit from the exercise.
2. Lateral Raises
Now you have worked the back of the shoulders; it’s time the work the sides.
Lateral raises are a very similar movement, but the workload is placed onto the lateral head of the delts – again, the clue is in the name.
Stood upright with a dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms to the side until they are lateral to the floor (don’t fully lock your arms out, you want to keep a slight bend). This is important - don’t cheat yourself out of a rep! If you’re struggling to hit parallel, then lower the weight.
Once again keep the movement slow and controlled and focus on contracting your delts.
3. Frontal Raises
You’re getting the gist now, right?
Frontal raises are going to work the anterior (front) delts. While these exercises all seem very similar, it is important to make sure your shoulder workouts are working all the different areas of the delts to promote muscular balance.
For frontal raises, start off in a standing position as you were for the lateral raises. Without locking your arms out, raise your arms in front of you, hold for a few seconds and slowly return your arms back down to your sides.
You don’t want to find yourself rocking side to side or backwards and forwards for these exercises. If you do, you either need to engage your core to help with stability or lower the weight you’re using to ensure your shoulders are getting the benefit.
4. Military Press
It’s now time to mix things up a bit.
The military press has been shown to be one of the most effective exercises for building anterior deltoids. However, it also engages the lateral and posterior heads, so you’re getting a full shoulder workout.
Start with the bar rested in the squat rack at about the same height you would have it if you were going to squat. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the bar in the same way as you would if you were doing bench press. Slightly tilt your head back and raise the bar upwards above your head. Make sure your back is neutral, and your core is engaged throughout.
Slowly return the bar to around shoulder height and repeat the movement.
5. Wide-grip Upright Row
Last but not least it’s time to work those middle and rear delts with the wide-grip upright row. You can use either dumbbells, a barbell or even a smith machine for this workout. Start stood with your feet hip-width apart with the bar (or dumbbells) at thigh height.
Using an upright grip, position your hands just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Flex your shoulders and slowly lift the bar or dumbbells towards your chin (you don’t want to bring it this high though, around chest height is perfect!).
Once in this position, hold it for a few seconds to really feel the burn in your shoulders and slowly lower the bar back down to your thighs.
Which is your favourite shoulder building exercise?
Let us know in the comments below.