Best Shoulder Exercises | Shoulder Training for Mass

Best Shoulder Exercises | Shoulder Training for Mass

Shoulders play an important role in emphasising the all important 'V' taper body - wide upper frame and lean waist. If you want that thick and full shoulder look then it's absolutely critical to know what shoulder exercises are optimal in your shoulder routine.

This intermediates guide to building giant shoulders will walk you through the various muscle groups surrounding the shoulder, the best shoulder exercises and rep ranges to focus on, and how to implement these into your routine for mass.

Breakdown: The Shoulder Muscles

Before we jump into shoulder exercises, here's what the shoulders are made of. The shoulders are a ball and socket joint which allows for the shoulders to move in any direction - up, down, backwards, sideways, as well as internal and external rotation.

Your shoulders are made of 3 primary muscles, the anterior, lateral, and posterior. You can easily remember these as front, side, and rear. You then have some supporting muscles called the rotator cuff, and teres minor. The rotator cuff muscles play a crucial role in keeping your upper arm bone tightly held within the more shallow end of your shoulder socket. The more you know about where these muscles are located and how they operate the better you'll have an understanding of how to work them effectively.

Mass Building Shoulder Workout

Lets jump straight into the components of this effective shoulder workout for mass.

As an intermediate workout we'll be focusing our time on compound lifts that target more than one muscle. Additionally our rep ranges will vary from the typical hypertrophy 10 - 12 reps, to 6-8 reps so that we're putting enough load and stress on our muscles to grow through hard training.

Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press

The seated dumbbell overhead press is one of the best shoulder exercises for mass building. The move primarily targets the anterior (front), and lateral (side) deltoid, in addition to your triceps. Having this movement early on in the shoulder routine allows you to expend more of your energy and strength on a key exercise for building size in your shoulders.

There will be 4 sets in total. With the aim to start heavy and de-load the weight as the sets go on.

2 sets, 8 reps
2 sets, 12 reps

Great example of Seated Dumbbell Press

Barbell Shrugs

A debate that's being going on before time itself. Are barbell shrugs designed for back day or shoulder day? The trapezius muscle - which shrugs target, are a diverse muscle and can be targeted in a variety of ways. Barbell shrugs target the upper traps and should therfore be incorporated into your shoulder workout. This is a solid compound exercise which involves a strong core to hold the heavy barbell in place whilst your raise your shoulders to touch your ears (or to that effect). Forearms are also included in this and you'll benefit greatly from improved grip strength. If you're finding that grip strength is a problem - check out these lifting straps we've reviewed.

2 sets, 8 reps
2 sets, 10 reps

Wide grip barbell shrug

Front Double Dumbbell Raise

We now move our focus onto important isolation movements. The anterior (front) delt will be targeted here. This exercise can be done seated, you can also do it one arm at a time. The reason for standing and doing a double dumbbell raise is to ensure you keep momentum to a minimum and control the weight - this also targets your core and ensures your body is in perfect alignment. If your upper body is leaning backwards to propel the weights up then you're going too heavy.

2 sets, 8-10 reps
1 set, 10-12 reps

dumbbell front raise (single)

Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

A completely overlooked muscle is the posterior (rear) delt. This muscle is paramount to stabilizing when your elbows come parallel to and behind your body. Anytime when performing a pressing or throwing move, that's when your rear delts are engaged.

It's important to find a weight you are comfortable with first, ensure you get this technique nailed right before you build up.

2 sets, 8-10 reps
1 set, 10-12 reps

Rear delt dumbbell raise

Shoulder Exercise Conclusion

Now you have a solid mass building shoulder workout with some great compound shoulder exercises mixed with isolation moves - go out there and hit the gym hard!

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