It’s safe to say that huge arms only look at their best when they’re accompanied by a big, rounded set of boulder shoulders.
This article will provide you with a full shoulder routine to help you achieve those 3D delts!
Shoulder Workout Warm up
As always, it’s important to warm up. However shoulders are especially essential to warm up before taking on a routine as they’re one of the most common places for injury and they come into play when doing all upper body movements. Any injury can have a huge impact on your whole training regime.
You can perform warm-up sets (very light weight) of the exercises you perform as part of your workout, however here are some additional movements you can do to help warm up your shoulders;
✓ Rotate your arms clockwise 15 times followed by anticlockwise – Perform 3 times.
✓ Raise your arms from your sides upright and clap your hands 10 times – Perform 3 times.
✓ Turn your hands to face outwards and raise your arms up as far as you can 10 times – Perform 3 times.
You may also wish to perform some shoulder stretches (EG; holding your arm across the body or behind your head, one at a time.)
Now that we’re set to lift, let’s get stuck in.
Exercise 1: Standing Military Press
This exercise is a great compound movement which requires a lot of core strength as well as shoulder strength to perform, however I can assure you if performed correctly the benefits are incredible.
As the military press requires you to both balance yourself and then press a barbell vertically above yourself, it’s important that you start off using very little weight or even just the bar so that you can perfect your form firstly.
Sets: 4 – Reps: 6-8 per set
a) Start with the bar mounted on a rack and your legs shoulder width apart.
b) Approach the bar and have both palms facing the ceiling with your elbows in front of you – remove the bar and take a step backwards.
c) Press towards the ceiling, keeping your head facing forwards. Bring your head slightly forward and lock out elbows at the top of the movement.
d) Slowly begin the eccentric part of the motion and bring the weight back down, focussing on keeping your elbows tight and controlling the weight.
Perform set amount of reps and replace the weight back on the rack.
Rest for 1 minute and repeat.
Exercise 2: Cable Lateral Raises Superset Dumbbell front raises
It’s important to hit the shoulders from all angles in order to target all the heads of the deltoids.
Following on from the first exercise (compound) the shoulders are fuelled with blood and ready to push heavy weights; it’s now time to shock them and really get the blood flowing by hitting a superset and making sure we target the majority of the shoulders.
Sets: 4 – Reps: 10 & 15
>> Single hand cable raise
a) Stand at a cable ready to perform your raises with a single handle attachment -Keep a dumbbell to your side on the floor
(I suggest this weighs 75% of the dumbbell you use for your cable
b) Position yourself horizontally facing to either side away from the weight stack and take hold of the single handed cable in your arm furthest from the weight stack.
c) Keep your palm facing the floor and pull from your mid-section through your elbow, up in a swinging motion until your elbow raises just above shoulder level.
d) Slowly control and lower the weight down to your mid-section and repeat for the desired amount of reps.
Swap arms and repeat this exercise; once completed move straight on to the second exercise of this superset.
>> Dumbbell front raise
Immediately after your last repetition of the single handed cable raises, pick up your dumbbell from the floor.
a) Begin this exercise with the weight in your hand and your palm facing inwards – Raise the weight by pulling from your elbow joint once again and slowly turn your palm to face the ground.
b) Once your arm is pointing straight out in front of you, lower the weight slowly and controlled back to the starting position and then begin the second rep.
c) Perform all repetitions and then rest for 1 minute.
d) Repeat the whole superset again for the specified amount of sets after 90 seconds of rest.
Exercise 3: Dumbbell ‘Arnold Press’
The Arnold press is a dumbbell shoulder press in which you turn your elbows through the movement, which allows you to incorporate numerous heads on your deltoids through a different range of motion to the basic pushing movement shoulder press. Variety is key!
Sets: 4 – Reps: 8-10
a) Start seated on an upright bench and take hold of your dumbbells – Begin the exercise with your palms facing your body and your elbows out in front of you.
b) Push upwards and turn your hands until they face away from you (which should be at the top of the movement.)
c) Return back down from the top of the movement slowly in the same range of motion.
d) Repeat this for the desired amount of reps.
Rest 1 minute and start next set.
Exercise 4: Dumbbell Rear-Delt Raises
The rear-delts are the area of the shoulders in which most people fail to engage fully into their workouts. When looking at the shoulders from the side these are the muscle which makes the shoulder still look 3D as the rear head of the delt can look like a separate muscle if trained correctly.
Sets: 4 – Reps: 12-15
a) Take two dumbbells and position yourself in a bent-over position – Keep your back slightly upright, your shoulders back and chest up
b) Start with the dumbbells facing together in front of you with your arms extended.
c) Raise your arms from the centre until they are fully spread out and facing horizontally, keeping your arms extended but not locking your elbow joint.
d) Focus on squeezing the rear delts at the top of the movement and then go back through the motion on the eccentric part of the exercise.
Repeat the movement for the specified amount of rep after 1 minute of rest.
Take Home Message
Now you’re equipped with a shoulder routine full of both compound and isolation exercises designed specifically to target each head of the deltoids, I hope you reap the benefits and I’d love to hear any feedback!
Please comment below if you use this routine or any of the exercises provided!