How To Build Shoulder Muscle

How To Build Shoulder Muscle

Just as most women crave for an hour glass figure, most men have a fascination to get that perfect V shaped body with a narrow waist and broad shoulders. Since shoulder conjoins most of the upper body limbs, a well developed shoulder muscle has the power to not only enhance the muscular look but also provide a strong stable core to the rest of the body.

Since shoulder or deltoid muscles as they are known medically form a vital link between the arms and the chest, undeveloped or underdeveloped shoulders can ruin all the good work done of upper body including arms, biceps and chest. Well developed shoulders not only enhance the ‘tapered V look’ as mentioned above but also make the person appear tall and broad in men and sleek and shapely for women.  Hence it’s important to include shoulder muscles in your exercise program religiously irrespective of gender and age. Before chalking out any exercise program for the shoulders, it’s very important to understand the biological anatomy of the shoulder muscles and its constituents. The shoulders medically also known as deltoids is derived from the Greek word delta which basically signifies a triangular shape. Just like any other triangle, the shoulder also has three distinct heads namely Anterior, medial and posterior deltoids. Any shoulder development program must be made keeping in mind the overall development of all the three parts of the muscle to achieve desired results.

Recommended Exercises To Include In Your Shoulder Workout Program:

1. Overhead Military Press:

Standing overhead press also known in the bodybuilding circuit as military press has been one of the most basic shoulder exercises that has withstood the test of time and modern sports science.  Performed with a barbell bar or a rod with weights on both sides,  the rod is rested on upper chest and shoulders and then swiftly pressed up  in front by extending the elbows just short of lockout. Start with three sets of 15-20 repetitions each.

Overhead Military Press

2. Seated Dumbbell Press:

Seated dumbbell press or shoulder press is a must have in your shoulder workout routine as its considered to be one of  the most effective free weight shoulder exercise.  Although considered to be a primary mass building exercise for the shoulders, there are a number of variations that can be performed in the seated dumbbell press that makes it a complete shoulder workout exercise focussing on all the three shoulder parts and joints.

Seated dumbbell press is performed in a seated position with back support. Dumbbells in each hand are then slowly lifted over the shoulder level with palms facing the front.  Perform one warm-up set of 15 to 20 repetitions and include 4 working sets of 12,10,8 and 6 repetitions with descending repetitions and ascending weights.

Seated Dumbbell Press

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3. Side Dumbbell Lateral Raise:

Side dumbbell lateral raise works primarily on the medial head of the deltoid or the shoulder muscle. That’s not to say that the exercise completely ignores the anterior and posterior deltoid muscles.  To perform side dumbbell lateral raise, stand upright with feet planted firmly on the ground shoulder level apart with bent knees.

Raise the arms in front of the body with palms facing each other until the hands are at the shoulder level or slightly higher.

Slowly go back to the original position and repeat. Experienced body builders must ideally include 3 to 4 sets with 10 repetitions while beginners can include 2 to 3 sets. It’s important to include weight that can be performed with proper form as heavier weights can add a lot of strain to the shoulder joint as well as the medial deltoid.

Side Dumbbell Lateral Raise


4. Arnold Press:

Arnold press as the name suggests is one of the unique shoulder exercises developed by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.  Arnold press is performed just like seated dumbbell press but with palms facing inwards rather than outwards.

The dumbbells are rotated and pressed at the same time which makes the exercise work on both the front and side heads of the delts.  Perform one warm-up set of 15 to 20 repetitions and include 2 to 3 working sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Arnold Press

5. Dumbbell Shrugs:

Dumbbell shrugs develop the trapezius muscles and add mass and density to the trapezius. Since trapezius muscle is one the hardest to develop, dumbbell shrugs are performed by using very heavy weights, in fact the heaviest dumbbell that can be lifted without discomfort.

Standing in an upright position with bent knees, hold the heavy dumbbells in each hand with arms by the side and shrug the shoulders. An ideal shrug program should include a minimum of 3 sets with 10 to 12 reps of heavy weights while beginners can include 2 sets of 10 repetitions each.

Dumbbell Shrugs: