When it comes to building impressive shoulders, workout routines that incorporate direct delt work are the way to go. Very few compound lifts actually provide the three heads of your shoulders with the necessary stimulus for growth, so you need to perform movements specifically designed to do so. Read on to learn about some of the best shoulder workouts you can perform!
The Ultimate Boulder Shoulders Workout
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Optimizing Shoulders Workout Plans
Until 1972, the shoulder press, along with snatch and clean & jerk, was tested at the Olympic weightlifting contest. But due to participants continuously using bad form (i.e., bending their back excessively to lift the weight), they removed the lift from the competition.
By removing the lift, they left a bad taste in the mouth of the bodybuilding and powerlifting world. From that point on, a lot of bodybuilders started comparing their strength based on the bench press. It became more than a competition of bulky shoulders. Since then, more and more people ignore the benefits of the standing shoulder press in pursuit of being the bench press king.
Shoulders Workout Beyond The Bench Press
While the bench press is an effective exercise, just as with anything else in life, doing too much of it is bad for you, especially if you want big or powerful shoulders. I bet a lot of you right now have (or have had) to deal with a bum shoulder due to doing the beloved bench press too much. So let’s discuss the 3 other exercises that will build size and density in your shoulders.
1. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press (or Overhead Press)
As previously mentioned, before the bench press, this was the ruler of upper body shoulder exercises. That makes sense in a way: in the real world, will your strength likely be tested by lifting something over your head or by lifting something up while you’re lying on your back? Exactly. When it comes to body-building, performing lifts that simulate real-world movements produces the best results.
In addition, doing real-world exercises like the standing barbell shoulder press hits a multitude of muscles. Besides the shoulders, this shoulders exercise also targets the abs, triceps, lower back, traps, serratus, and upper thighs; this movement basically engages your entire body. So if you’re serious about not only building shoulders that resemble boulders but also a proportional physique as well, this exercise is for you.
2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
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While not a real-world functional lift like the standing barbell shoulder press, the seated dumbbell shoulder press builds the shoulders tremendously. By being seated while using dumbbells, you get to focus that tension specifically on your shoulder muscles. This shoulders exercise is a must to include if you are serious about being confused for a superhero by the general public!
3. Pike Push-Ups
While attending the gym is a great way to get in shape and build your shoulders, it is not the be-all and end-all to do so. Whether you’re on the road or bad weather halts your trip to the gym, there are always exercises you can do with your own body weight to get the job done. This is also a really effective back and shoulders workout. With that said, pike push-ups are a great bodyweight movement for building your shoulders. In addition, it’ll work your abs like crazy!
You can do them by placing your feet on a bench (or on a Swiss ball when you really get good at doing them). A word of caution when performing pike pushups:
Please stop doing these when you feel you can only complete 2 more reps.
I don’t need you getting a concussion because of my advice.
Pietro Boselli showcases some great shoulder workouts for serious gains:
If you want bigger shoulders, workout routines that incorporate exercises like the ones you’ve seen here today are your best bet. Keep in mind that your delts are just like any other muscle in your body. Give them a reason to grow and they will. So, give the routine we’ve shown today you a shot and be one step closer to building truly impressive boulder shoulders!
Got any other shoulder workouts to share? Post them in the comments section below!