A good set of shoulders is an imposing muscle group, there is something about having big shoulders that will make you stand out from the rest. However, many people do not have the correct approach to shoulder training or do not do the best exercises. We are interested in having a good development of the shoulders because in men it will contribute to that “V” shape that is so wanted and in women it will help to have that hourglass shape. Thanks to the media and muscle magazines, there is a lot of confusion on shoulder training. When I started training I didn’t even train my shoulders directly. This is to understand that people do not give the importance to this muscle group, at least not what it deserves.
How to train your shoulders
There is a lot of confusion about the correct way to train the shoulders, but the truth is that the shoulders should be trained like almost any other muscle group. Even so, it is important to keep in mind that they are a small muscle group, so if you use a lot of weight in isolation exercises, it is likely that you are using other muscles such as the back / traps to complete the repetitions. When you work with compound exercises, thats when you can focus on gaining strength but remember keeping with good form. The shoulders will be worked optimally with low, moderate and high repetitions. That’s right, all rep ranges have their place in shoulder training. We must also understand the anatomy of the shoulders if you want to know how to train them optimally.
The shoulders have 3 “parts” the middle, front and back. It is important that all the “heads” of the shoulders are worked to have a complete development of this muscle. Isolation and compound exercise work is necessary for maximum development of the shoulder muscles. The mind-muscle connection is also important in this muscle group.
As a natural, you need a good base of strength
The first approach you should take is to have a good base of strength. When you have a good base of strength you will have your first muscle gains and an easy way to progress. For this you should do about 4-6 repetitions and add the minimum amount of weight possible when you get to do 6 repetitions. This way of gaining strength is simple and will help you progress easily. How much is enough you may be wondering? You need to do a military press with at least 135 lbs or push-ups against the wall for shoulders. You can still gain more strength, but this level of strength will give you good muscle gains.
Criteria used to choose the exercises
These exercises are chosen based on two criteria, the ability to increase weight or resistance and the impact they have on the development of muscle mass in an aesthethic way. There are many more exercises that are very good for the shoulders that will not be on this list, but without a doubt these are the top 5 exercises to build muscle mass in the shoulders in no particular order.
Top 5 shoulder exercises
1.- Pushups for shoulders (handstand against the wall)
Many people will be surprised to see this exercise in a shoulder top 5. The truth is that very few people can do these types of push-ups. This does not mean that if you cannot do them you shouldn’t learn. Pick a variation that gets you closer to doing this exercise. The advantage here is that you can do it practically anywhere at the gym, home, park or wherever there’s a wall. That range of motion will recruit more of the middle deltoid given the nature of the exercise . Once you have mastered this exercise, you can add weight with a backpack, vest, or by adding range of motion with parallel bars (parrallettes).
2.- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The dumbbell shoulder press is an ideal exercise when it comes to hypertrophy and aesthetics. The reason is similar to our first exercise. If I have to choose between a dumbbell shoulder press and a barbell shoulder press I would choose the dumbbell press when it comes to developing shoulders only. This exercise is very good and it is easy to apply progressive overload. Once you master a weight, you can increase that weight to give your body a new stimulus. Take into account that this exercise must be done with good form since you can hurt yourself if you are not careful (as in almost any exercise).
3.- Barbell Military Press (standing or sitting)
Im sure that there’s no surprise this exercise makes the top 5. This is a classic exercise and is commonly recommended in strength programs. One of the advantages of this exercise is that you can use large amounts of weight and it is very conducive to progressive overload. In fact, it is an exercise that I recommend you do for strength development issues. My only problem is that given the nature of the exercise, the lateral head of the deltoid is not optimally worked with a military press. The medial delt is stimulated but not like in other exercises. One of the advantages of this exercise is the strength gain and the development of the front head of the deltoid. Also the clavicular head of the pectoral (Upper chest) and core will be worked to a great extent, which is why it is a very complete exercise.
4.-Lateral raises with dumbbells
Lateral raises? What? Yup. It is said that there is no mandatory exercise in bodybuilding as there are a thousand ways to stimulate our muscles. But if there was a mandatory exercise, this would be it. This exercise or some variation of lateral raise will be the optimal way to stimulate the lateral head of the deltoid. This means that you should necessarily include this exercise if you are a bodybuilder. For this exercise, you can add weight, do rest pause sets, dropsets, improve mind muscle connection or other intensity techniques to keep progressing.
Would you believe me if I told you that there is an exercise that will improve your posture, stimulate the posterior deltoid head and reduce your risk of injury? Well believe me, because this exercise is the facepull with rope or resistance bands. This exercise is the main one for the back of the shoulder(posterior delt) and will also stimulate the medial head of the shoulder to an extent. This exercise will strengthen those muscles that nobody cares about working on and we must take into account. The good thing is that training the posterior deltoids is gaining popularity
This is the top 5 exercises for the shoulders. Remember that you can get in good shape (or even get better) but progress at your own pace. You cannot force your body to progress faster than it wants and you must be careful in all exercises to avoid injuries. The last thing you want is a shoulder injury since these are very annoying and can leave sequels for life. So being safe and slow is better than fast and risky. Do not have unrealistic expectations and think that with 3 months of gym you will have your ideal body. It takes years to achieve your goals. Train safe, smart and hard and if you are already an advanced trainee, i hope this post was helpful.
That was all! If you have any questions or comments let me know in the comments!