The Best Shoulder Workout in Only Six Moves. If you want to have a complete, aesthetic, and powerful looking physique, shoulders are a must and they must be a priority. Have wide shoulders help make your waist appear smaller which can help you if you’re an aspiring bodybuilder. Packing on solid mass and focusing on lifting heavy will help you if you’re into weightlifting or powerlifting. So regardless of what your fitness priorities are, you would be much better off by giving special attention to the delts than you would be by just throwing in an exercise or two after training another bodypart like chest or back.

So how do you do that? First, you must take an objective look at your shoulders. There are three parts or “heads” of the shoulders – the front, side, and rear. Most people associate the traps with the shoulders but they actually should be considered as a part of the back since the bottom part of the traps run down along the spine. Now that we are only focusing on the three heads of the shoulder area, you need to decide which of the three is your weakest. Since you want to have balance, then your goal should be to bring up the weakest part so everything can be even. For example, if you feel you have strong front delts but your side delts are smaller than they should be then it should make sense that you start your training with movements for the side area. Analyze each head and rank them from weakest to strongest. This will be the order that you train in on your next shoulder workout.

Shoulder WorkoutThe Shoulder Workout

The plan that follows is a high volume approach. Higher volume means you’re going to work the shoulders more than you might with a traditional bodypart that you would be stronger with. This plan is 18 total work sets with 1 warm up set of each exercise. There are six exercises in this plan, two for the front heads, two for the side heads, and two for the rear heads. Remember to put your own plan together based on your order of weakest to strongest areas.

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A Tip About Weight- You should try to go heavy on all of these exercises but let’s be clear. The goal is to work and fatigue the muscle, not lift the number on the weight. Yes you might be able to use 40 pound dumbbells on an exercise but if you can control 25’s better with better form and feel the targeted muscle working, then please lower the weight. Your sacrifice of ego will be well rewarded with the results you’re seeking.

Shoulder Workout -Front Shoulder
Front Head Exercises

Shoulder Workout Move 1: Front Barbell Raise – Take a shoulder width, overhand grip of a barbell. Hold the bar at arms’ length with your arms down. Squeeze the bar as tight as you can and take a deep breath in. Stand straight and tall with your feet shoulder width apart and a soft bend in your knees. This is your starting position. While using force from your shoulders and keeping your arms straight, lift the bar up until your arms are parallel with the floor. Breathe out as you perform this movement. Hold the bar in this position for a second and slowly lower the bar back to the starting position. Don’t just let the bar drop down. Once the bar is back to the starting position, repeat for the desired number of reps. Perform one warm up set of 12-15 reps with lighter weight and three work sets of 12-15 reps with heavier weight. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

Shoulder Workout Move 2: Seated Arnold Press – Sit on a seated bench with a pair of dumbbells in each hand. Lift them up so they are at shoulder level with your palms facing you. Lift them up by curling them or by placing them on your knee and kicking them up. Make sure your chest is out and your spine is straight. Squeeze the weights as hard as you can. Your feet should be flat and solid on the floor. Take a deep breath in as you prepare. This is your starting position. Using force in your shoulders, press the weights up overhead and twist them as you do so that when you have the weight pressed your palms should be facing away from you.

Breathe out as you lift the dumbbells up. Don’t lock out your elbows at the top of the press. This would place stress on the elbows and triceps. Slowly reverse the motion and return the weights to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Perform one warm up set of 12 reps with lighter weight and three working sets of 10-12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

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Side Head Exercises

Shoulder Workout Move 3: Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise – Sit on a seated bench or the end of an adjustable bench with a pair of dumbbells in each hand. Hold the weights down to your sides at arms’ length. Make sure your chest is out and your spine is straight. Squeeze the weights as hard as you can. Your feet should be flat and solid on the floor. Take a deep breath in as you prepare. This is your starting position. Using force from your shoulders and while keeping a very slight bend in the elbows, lift the dumbbells out to your sides until your arms are parallel with the floor. Breathe out as you perform this portion of the movement.
Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Perform one warm up set of 12 reps with lighter weight and three working sets of 10-12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

Shoulder Workout Move 4: Standing Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise – Stand next to a cable station with a low pulley and a single hand attachment on it. If you’re standing with the right side next to the stack, take a grip of the handle with the left hand or vice versa. Take your free hand and place it on your hip. Stand straight and tall with a soft bend in the knees and stand far enough away from the stack so the weight on the pin doesn’t touch the rest of the stack. Take a deep breath in. This is your starting position. Lift the handle and the weight attached out to your side while keeping your arm straight until it is parallel with the floor. Breathe out as you perform this part of the movement. Hold this position for a second and slowly lower the weight to the starting position. Repeat for the desired amount of reps and switch sides so you can do the same with the other side. Perform one warm up set of 15 reps with lighter weight and three working sets of 15 reps per side. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

 

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Shoulder Workout Move 5: Wide Grip Upright Row – Take a shoulder width, overhand grip of a barbell. Hold the bar at arms’ length with your arms down. Squeeze the bar as tight as you can and take a deep breath in. Stand straight and tall with your feet shoulder width apart and a soft bend in your knees. This is your starting position. Bend the elbows and bring them up while you pull the bar up along your body until the bar reaches your nipple line of your chest. Breathe out as you do this. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps. Perform one warm up set of 12 reps with lighter weight and three working sets of 10-12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

Shoulder Workout Move 6: High Rope Pull – Stand in front of a cable station with a rope attached to a high pulley. Take a grip of the rope and stand away from the cable stack. Hold the rope with your arms stretched out. Stand straight and tall with a soft bend in the knees and stand far enough away from the stack so the weight on the pin doesn’t touch the rest of the stack. Take a deep breath in. This is your starting position. Using force from your shoulders, pull the rope in until the middle of the rope is next to your face. Spread the rope apart as you pull in and breathe out. You shouldn’t have to generate momentum from your back while doing this. If you have to then lower the weight. Squeeze the rear delts for a second and slowly let your arms stretch back out to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Perform one warm up set of 12 reps with lighter weight and three working sets of 15 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

 

The Shoulder Workout

Shoulder Workout -Front ShoulderFront Head Exercises

Front Barbell Raise
1 Warm up Sets 12 reps
3 Working Sets 12-15 reps
90 seconds between sets.

Seated Arnold Press
1 Warm up Sets 12 reps
3 Working Sets 10-12 reps
90 seconds between sets.

Shoulder Workout -Front ShoulderSide Head Exercises

Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise
1 Warm up Sets 12 reps
3 Working Sets 10-12 reps
90 seconds between sets.

Standing Single Arm
Cable Lateral Raise
1 Warm up Sets 15 reps
3 Working Sets 15 reps
90 seconds between sets.

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Rear Head Exercises

Wide Grip Upright Row
1 Warm up Sets 12 reps
3 Working Sets 10-12 reps
90 seconds between sets.

High Rope Pull
1 Warm up Sets 12 reps
3 Working Sets 15 reps
90 seconds between sets.

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