No matter how big your arms, chest, or back are…an upper body just isn’t complete without well-developed shoulders. A lot of people make the mistake of neglecting them. They get too focused on arms and chest muscle exercises, and forget to develop their shoulders.
If you want to build bigger, denser, wider delts in a balanced manner, you must shape your deltoid exercise routine around all the three delts. Most guys run into problems when they choose their exercises unwisely, and don’t pay attention to balancing out the three deltoid muscle groups that form their shoulders as a whole.
Let us first understand that our shoulders are made up of three major muscles, called as deltoids:
(i) Anterior deltoid
(ii) Medial deltoid
(iii) Posterior deltoid.
Best Shoulders Workout Routine – 45 Minutes
Generally the most people have good anterior deltoids (to a point) due to chest exercises. You’re working the anterior deltoids while you are doing chest exercises – but posterior and medial deltoids don’t get worked at all. So, mostly it is the posterior deltoids and medial deltoids that need the most attention. Keeping this in view, I have specially designed a 45-minute program to workout shoulder muscles – focusing a little more on posterior and medial deltoids. Give it a try and see how it works for you!
For each exercise, we’ll tell you how to do it in the correct form and useful tips about it in the context of your workouts. If you disagree with our selections, or think we have missed any of your favorite shoulder exercises, let us know in the comments section below!
Instructions: First warm up completely, and then carry out 3-4 sets of the following exercises, 10 -15 repetitions each, with 90-120 seconds of rest in between the sets. Increase weight by 5 or 10 lbs. in each subsequent set. To get best results, let your shoulder rest for at least 2-3 days before re-training.
How To Build Shoulder Muscles? – Complete Shoulder Workout
Many experts claim that a 45-minute training program is an ideal workout format for muscles growth and development. That’s because research shows your body goes in to a “building state” after a 40-45 minute session. It is at it’s strongest during that time. Any additional time added or infused into the program sets your body in a state known as “recovery mode” because of fatigue. Furthermore, this is the phase during which most injuries occur. That’s why I personally love 45-minute workout for its combination of all aspects to give me width, depth, strength, endurance, and power all in one!
I have worked out this routine, which is put together just for you guys who wish to take their shoulders to the next level. This multi-faceted ultimate shoulder workout routine is designed to target all the three delts: Anterior, Medial And Posterior for developing big muscular shoulders.
1. Seated Dumbbell Press To Focus On Middle Delts: While the middle delts are heavily recruited during overhead-pressing work, not all shoulder presses work the middle delts equally. Watch your elbow position relative to your torso. When you press overhead with dumbbells, your upper arms go straight out to your sides; that’s your cue that the middle delt is positioned to undergo maximal contraction.
How To Do Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press?
(i) Grasp a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand, on a military press bench or utility bench that has back support. Place the dumbbells upright on top of your thighs.
(ii) Now lift the dumbbells to shoulder height using your thighs to help propel them up into position.
(iii) Twist your wrists so that your palms are facing forward. Your back should be flat against the backrest and your feet firmly planted on the floor for stability. This is the starting position for the exercise.
(iv) Keeping your eyes facing forwards and while exhaling, slowly raise the dumbbells upward until they touch at the top.
(v) Then, after a brief pause at the top contracted position, slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position (to the sides of your shoulders) while inhaling.
(vi) Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.
(a) You can do this exercise standing or sitting on a regular flat bench. For people with lower back problems, the seated version described above is recommended.
(b) You can also do the exercise as Arnold Schwarzenegger used to do it, which is to start holding the dumbbells with a supinated grip (palms facing you) in front of your shoulders. Now raise the dumbbells as you rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward. Continue raising the dumbbells until your arms are extended above you in straight-arm position and the dumbbells touch at the top. As you come down, then you would go back to the starting position by rotating the wrist throughout the lowering portion until the palms of your hands are facing you. This variation is called the Arnold Press. It is not recommended, if you have rotator cuff problems.
Dumbbell Press Tips:
(a) Always use the longest range of motion possible and control the dumbbells throughout the set.
(b) Keep the correct form and don’t add weight too quickly. This can at times results in an injury and could hinder your shoulder gains.
2. BEHIND-THE-NECK SHOULDER PRESS: There are several exercises used amongst fitness enthusiasts that can be considered “bad”. Behind the neck press is certainly an exercise that has slowly gained a bad reputation. It’s an exercise that, if done improperly, can put you in a very vulnerable position and can compromise your shoulders and lead to severe injury. However, if it is done properly it can be an exercise that activates several muscle fibers in the deltoids. It helps develop your lagging deltoids, build posterior strength, and improve the mobility of your shoulder socket.
How To Perform Seated Barbell Press Behind Neck?
(i) Sit down on a military press bench or an adjustable angle bench, setting the back to 90 degrees.
(ii) Load a barbell with the appropriate weight. Ideally, you can un-rack the weight from a weight rack or have a training partner hand you the bar.
(iii) Hold the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing forward) with your hands just beyond shoulder width. Your arms will now be almost fully extended above your head with a slight bend in your elbows. This is the starting position.
(iv) With your back straight and chest pushed out, slowly begin lowering the bar down behind your neck as far as comfortably possible. Elbows will be flared out, slightly behind you. Forearms nearly perpendicular to the floor.
(v) Once your upper arms are slightly past parallel to the floor, pause, and then slowly raise the barbell back up without locking the elbows out at the top of the movement.
(vi) Repeat for recommended number of repetitions.
Seated Barbell Press Behind Neck Exercise Tips:
(i) To avoid injury, do not lower the bar much further than the top of you head when bringing the bar down behind you. This will keep your arms at a 90-degree angle to the floor and place less stress on your shoulder joints.
(ii) Keep your back straight throughout the movement. Don’t let it arc too much when pressing the weight.
(iii) Use a lighter weight than what you would do on a regular barbell press.
(iv) Use slow and controlled movement, both when pressing and when lowering the weight.
3. Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise To Focus On Rear Delts: The rear deltoid works the posterior deltoid. As stated above, this muscle area is usually neglected. Most people tend to ignore this area while exercising shoulders. The main advantage of this position is that it provides better balance and reduces strain on the lower back. This position is tough, so a little less weight is usually recommended. You can perform this exercise standing or lying (on a flat or incline bench), but in all cases make sure that you maintain the correct form to avoid recruiting the larger muscles of your back.
How To Perform Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise?
(i) Place a set of dumbbells resting on the floor on either side of the end of a flat exercise bench.
(ii) Sit on the end of an exercise bench with your legs together. Bend at the waist so that your upper back is parallel with the floor and your chest meets your knees (your chest nearly resting on the thighs).
(iii) Drop your arms straight down, and grab the dumbbells with your palms facing each other. This is your starting position.
(iv) Keeping your torso forward and stationary, lift the dumbbells while slowly raising your arms to the sides and away from your body until they are parallel to the floor. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Exhale as you lift the weights. (Note: avoid swinging the torso or bringing the arms back as opposed to the side.)
(v) Hold and squeeze your shoulder blades together (pause for a second at the top of the movement), then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
(vi) Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.
Variation: Another way to perform this exercise is doing it standing by bending over to almost 90 degrees (torso parallel to the floor) while bending at the knees a bit, but those with lower back problems are better off performing this seated variety.
Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise Tips:
(a) The rear delts are small muscles that do not require heavy weights to see results.
(b) Don’t swing your body, let your rear delts lift the weight. You should be in complete control of the weight at all times.
(c) Your chest should be touching your thighs.
(d) Try to keep the weights suspended from the floor between reps to keep the tension on the muscles the entire time.
4. Bus Driver Exercise To Work Out Whole Of The Deltoid Muscles: It may look odd to you, but it will hit your shoulders in a way that other delt exercises cannot. This exercise put the whole deltoid muscles group under constant stress and works angles that are not normally trained in the gym. It’s a great way to finish a shoulder workout session and make the shoulder joints more resilient to injuries.
How To Perform Bus Driver Exercise?
(i) Hold a heavy plate straight, at arms length, in front of yourself. Keep your shoulders back and locked with arms parallel to the floor.
(ii) Rotate the plate slowly in a half circle from side to side like a steering wheel.
Bus Driver Exercise Tip: Try to bring the plate to eye level and twist it to each side as if you’re turning a wheel.
How To Perform Dumbbell Raise Exercise?
(i) Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells on front of your thighs at arms length with the palms of the hand facing your thighs. This will be your starting position.
(ii) While maintaining the torso stationary (no swinging), raise the dumbbells straight in front of you. Keep the palms of the hands always facing down with a slight bend on the elbow. Continue to go up until you arms are slightly above parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this portion of the movement and pause for a second at the top.
(iii) As you inhale, lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position.
(iv) Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.
Variations: This exercise can also be performed by alternating hands, meaning doing one repetition with the right arm, and then one with the left, back to the right, etc. Also, you could use a barbell as well.
Dumbbell Raise Exercise Tips:
(i) If your front delts are lacking, hit them first before side laterals and rear delt exercises.
(ii) Keep your body upright. Don’t lean backward to counterbalance for the sake of using a heavier dumbbell. That only reduces your range of motion, and puts you at risk for a lower-back strain.
(iii) Don’t swing. Lift the dumbbells straight out to the front, slowly and with concentration.
(iv) Try going all the way up. Most people stop the raise when their arm is horizontal, but I take it all the way up, until my arm is a few degrees short of vertical overhead. I can still feel that front head burning and tightening far above horizontal, so why stop?
(v) Reach total failure. On my last set, after completing full reps, I continue with partials until I can’t move the weight an inch.
It’s recommended not to include all of these exercises in each and every workout you do. By interchange them from training to training with some of other best shoulders muscles building exercises, you can maintain the stimulus high and also not allow your muscles to get adapted. Such constant change in your shoulders workout plan is what needed to avert a plateau and help push your strength levels to new extremes. So, do make sure you are making use of a good variety.
Have I missed any of yours favorite shoulder exercises? Please share with me. I will include them in my next shoulder building workout post.
Note: I have taken up the task of designing a series of 45-minute workouts. I have already posted on (i) 45-minute triceps workout plan (ii) 45-minute biceps workout plan (iii) 45-minute chest workout plan and (iv) 45-minute back workout plan.
If you are looking to stimulate some new muscle growth in your shoulder muscles than this 45-minute shoulder workout routine is guaranteed to add inches of width and mass to your shoulders. Big, round delts will make your body look great. Moreover strong, functional shoulders help in lifting heavy weights!