Shoulders play an important role in emphasizing the all-important ‘V’ taper body: a 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. The best shoulder exercises for mass is a multitude of different movements that perfectly target the entire shoulder.
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. If you’re going through a phase of cutting to lose body fat, don’t worry as the same principles will apply.
Any good workout for mass will require a good diet plan, including sufficient protein supplements to grow the muscles effectively. We always believe in empowering our readers so we like to give you the blueprint but allow you to make this your own. Whether you want to combine this with some form of MMA circuit, go ahead, or even if you’d like to use this bulking workout while you do cardio for weight loss.
Breakdown: The Shoulder Muscles
Before we jump into the best shoulder exercises for mass, 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, backward, 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 infraspinatus, trees major, and the rotator cuff underneath all of that. . 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.
Shoulder Workout For Mass Building
Let’s jump straight into the components of this effective shoulder workout for mass. You’ll be using a lot of free weights in this workout, what works best is shoulder exercises with dumbbells and barbells.
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
A debate that’s been going on before time itself. Are barbell shrugs designed for back day or shoulder day? The trapezius muscle – which shrugs target, is a diverse muscle and can be targeted in a variety of ways. Barbell shrugs target the upper traps and should therefore be incorporated into your shoulder workout. This is a solid compound exercise that involves a strong core to hold the heavy barbell in place whilst you 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
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 backward to propel the weights up then you’re going too heavy.
2 sets, 8-10 reps
1 set, 10-12 reps
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 motion, 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
Shoulder Exercise Conclusion
Now you have an understanding of the best shoulder exercises for mass building – go out there and hit the gym hard!