Wondering what’s the best shoulder workout for long term results? Struggling to add size to your shoulders? Want to have a balanced physique that looks amazing from every angle? Then it’s time to tweak your diet and exercise routine. Strong, wide shoulders don’t come easy. It can take months or even years to shape these muscles and make them pop.
The best shoulder workout will be different for each individual. What works for your friend might not work for you, and vice versa. What you read in magazines may not be suitable for you. An ideal exercise routine should be tailored to your needs. It’s important to consider your current shape and fitness level as well as your body type and frame. However, there are a couple of rules every guy should follow when training shoulders.
How to Build Big Shoulders Fast
One of the best things about developing broad shoulders is the effect it will have on the overall look of your physique. Big, strong delts give your body an athletic appearance and boost you’re your ‘masculine energy.’ Think about your favorite athletes. They all have wide shoulders, narrow waists, and muscular legs.
World-famous bodybuilders like Kevin Levrone, Victor Martinez, Flex Wheeler, Arnold, and Dexter Jackson have huge delts. Not to mention Naseer El Sonbaty — who had the biggest shoulders in this sport. Considering how great these athletes look, it’s worth putting effort into best shoulder workout training.
Strong delts are the jewels of bodybuilding. They contribute to the V-taper, balance your physique, and make your waist look smaller. Plus, most women love guys with big, wide shoulders. They look amazing no matter what they wear, whether it’s a T-shirt, formal suit, or tank top.
Unfortunately, not everyone is born with great genes. Some guys work out for years and yet, have weak, narrow shoulders. When underdeveloped, these stubborn muscles drag everything around them down. The good news is that you can naturally improve shoulder size and strength through diet and training.
The key is to choose the right exercises, use perfect form, and work out for your goals. Since your diet accounts for over 80 percent of your results, it’s crucial to eat clean. Also, there are some common shoulder training mistakes you must avoid at all costs. Here are a few examples:
Assuming That All Overhead Presses Are Equal
Without a doubt, the overhead press is one of the best shoulder exercises out there. It can be done in several ways, and each has its perks. This multi-joint movement will help you build a stronger bench and lockout, add size to your delts, and boost your exercise performance. It also strengthens your core, shapes your chest, and improves your balance.
However, not all overhead press variations are equal. The standing press, for instance, is far more efficient compared to the seated press. Your core muscles have to work harder to support your weight and maintain your balance. Basically, this exercise requires more effort, power, and strength.
Your lifting form matters too. For example, lowering a bar behind your head will hit your delts from a different angle than lowering it in front of your head. Barbell and dumbbell presses in which you lift the barbell behind your head will target the middle delt region more efficiently.
Before you start training, think about what areas you want to target. Is it the anterior, posterior, or medial delts? Tailor your workout accordingly.
Overemphasizing Front Delts
Many gym goers focus on the front delts and ignore the medial and rear delts. These three areas are all part of the deltoid muscle. They work synergistically and play a role in physical performance. Ignore one will affect your entire workout and hamper your progress.
The best shoulder workout will include exercises that target all three delt heads, such as:
- Overhead press (anterior delts)
- Upright rows (anterior and lateral delts)
- Arnold press (anterior delts)
- Front arm raises (anterior delts)
- Lateral dumbbell raises (lateral delts)
- Lying side laterals (lateral delts)
- Standing military press (anterior and lateral delts)
- Face pulls (posterior delts)
- Rear deltoid flyes (posterior delts)
- Seated bent-over lateral raise (posterior delts)
- Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise (posterior delts)
- Standing cable reverse fly (posterior delts)
- Reverse Pec deck machine (posterior delts)
Consider your weakest part and then decide what exercises you’re going to do. Let’s say you want to add size to your lateral delts. Start with the military press, which targets both the anterior and lateral delts, and continue with lateral dumbbell raises and another similar exercise. Next, perform one or two exercises for the posterior delts.
Training Chest and Shoulders on Consecutive Days
Another common mistake is training pecs and delts on the same day or on consecutive days. Chest training involves lots of pressing and dipping. These movements indirectly target your delts. If you work shoulders right away or the next day, you won’t get the same results. Your shoulders will be fatigued and more prone to injury.
Work your chest and shoulders at least three days apart. This way, your muscles will have time to recover from training.
Rushing through the Motions
Workout intensity can make or break your progress. The same exercise will have a completely different outcome depending on the intensity used. While it’s true that high-intensity workouts can help you break through plateaus and boost your endurance, they’re not always the best option.
The deltoid muscle is relatively small and more likely to suffer injuries. Rushing through the motions can affect your form and damage your shoulders. To stay safe, use slow, controlled motions. Hold the contraction at top of the movement and then slowly lower the weight.
Use a load that allows you to do eight to 12 reps with perfect form at a slow pace. Focus on the muscles you are targeting. Watch your form at all times. Cheating is not an option when it comes to shoulder training. Even the slightest mistake could cause muscle tears and strains.
Going Heavy with Behind-Neck Barbell Presses
The behind-neck barbell press is a fantastic exercise for the anterior delts and traps. It also hots the front portion of the chest muscle and builds upper body strength. When done right, it can increase shoulder range of motion, improve stabilization, and boost overhead mobility.
Even though it’s tempting to use heavy loads, don’t do it. When you’re performing this exercise, your delts are in their weakest anatomical position, w/;;’hich increases injury risk. Heavy lifting can result in muscle tears and neck strain. Use a moderate weight that you can safely lift for eight to 12 reps.
If you want to go heavier, do standard overhead presses. Any injury to the shoulder muscles could keep you out of the gym for months, so don’t take unnecessary risks.
Using a Partial Range of Motion
Many gym goers finish isolation movements like front and lateral raises when they reach shoulder height. This keeps them from fully engaging the anterior and medial delts.
The best shoulder workout requires a full range of motion. In fact, experts recommend going as far as 45 degrees past shoulder height. Using a full range of motion will make the exercise more challenging and keep your delts under tension. This leads to faster gains in muscle size and strength.
Doing the Same Exercises Over and Over Again
Lack of exercise variety is one of the most common mistakes that stop you from getting the best shoulder workout. Doing the same movements in the same order over and over again will lead to plateaus.
Even though most shoulder exercises are quite similar, each has a different purpose and hits your delts from different angles. There are dozens of ways to vary your routine and shock your muscles into growth.
Let’s take the lateral raise, for example. This exercise can be done on a machine as well as with dumbbells, cables, and resistance bands. You can use both arms to lift the weight, or go unilateral. By mixing different exercises, you’ll keep your body guessing and ignite muscle growth.
Using Poor Lifting Form (Best Shoulder Workout)
When it comes to strength training, bad form is your worst enemy. It not only increases injury risk but also stalls your progress and keeps your reaching your goals.
Sometimes, gym goers sacrifice form for volume. Other times, they simply develop bad habits that are hard to break. Either way, poor lifting form affects their ability to make gains.
Your shoulders have a complex structure. The ball-and-socket joints are particularly vulnerable to injury. It’s not unusual to see gym goers and athletes who end up with an AT joint sprain, a rotator cuff strain, or a dislocated shoulder due to a wrong move. It takes a single bad rep to damage your shoulders for months or even years.
If you’re not sure how to perform an exercise, ask a PT about it. Watch videos online and practice with low weights. There must be someone more experienced than you at the gym, so watch him training. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Better safe than sorry.
These common mistakes can ruin even the best shoulder workout. Don’t let them stand in your way! Lift with proper form, work all delt regions, and keep your routine varied.