Skip to main content

SHOULDERS. BAM. Who doesn’t want incredible shoulders? Other than looking amazing, guy or girl, having incredible shoulder health is optimal for daily living. If you need to lift something onto a shelf, you have the ability to lift it WITH EASE. If you need pick up something from your waist to your shoulders, you could do that as well WITH EASE. 

If you want to look like you have a small waist, guy or girl, having developed shoulders will do the job. It will give off the illusion of a small waist because of a larger upper body. It will show that you have a more defined, upside-down triangle shape. This is where the V taper look comes into play – but that’s for another article. 

So what can we do to develop our shoulders to get that look? This article will break it down for you. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on their favourite shoulder exercise. 

The barbell shoulder press

This is hands down the king of all shoulder exercises. Just take a barbell, put a bunch of weights on it then push it up as hard as you can. With this exercise it is a good idea to put it in the beginning of your training day. You are pushing pretty heavy weights so you would want to do it when your nervous system is fresh. 

A pro-tip for this one is when you are pushing the bar upwards, after it clears your head drive it just a bit backwards. The end of the movement is when your arms are extended and the bar is stacked in-line with your ears. This is how you will know when you have reached full overhead pressing range. 

I would recommend 6 – 8 repetitions with no less than 4 sets. 

The dumbbell Arnold’s press

Do as Arnie does! Who doesn’t want Arnie’s shoulders? If he has what you want, do what he does! 

The difference between this movement and a regular dumbbell shoulder press is that the dumbbells come inward in a shoulder adduction, then abduction pattern. This allows the shoulder to be retracted through the movement in order to prevent any shoulder injuries. If you‘re injured, you can’t train! 

I would recommend 4 sets of 8 – 10 repetitions. You still want to lift pretty heavy but not as heavy as your barbell press. Strength is still the primary focus here with a little more volume. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on the form of the Arnold’s press. 

Upright rows 

Nearing the hypertrophy side of training now; upright rows are another great movement for building the shoulders. It will hit the lateral deltoids, rear deltoids as well as the trapezii. A pro-tip for this one is to restrict any swinging of the trunk because that is just plain cheating. Keep your torso upright and locked. Let the shoulders do its work. 

Another great thing about the upright row is that it can virtually be done with any piece of equipment: barbell, dumbbells or even cables. Any piece of equipment you can pull upwards with two hands will work those shoulders. 

I would recommend 4 sets of 12 – 15 repetitions. Here we are working within the hypertrophy rep ranges. You will feel a little bit more of the burn and that is because the time-under-tension is greater than the previous exercises. This is how muscles get better. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond about time-under-tension. 

Cable lateral raises 

I specifically recommend CABLES and not DUMBBELLS for one reason: constant tension. Let’s take a basic exercise a dumbbell bicep curl. As you begin the movement at the bottom, there is full tension of the weight due to gravity. As you lift the dumbbell past parallel from the floor, the tension decreases. That is because it is affected less by gravity because it is held upright. 

With cables, the tension is constant because of the design of the machine and the stack. Regardless where you are in the movement, there is always tension in the movement. 

When we do our lateral raises, the shoulder is constantly challenged through the movement with the constant tension from the machine. Again, we are able to take advantage of the time under tension. 

I would recommend 3 sets of 12 – 15 repetitions per arm. 

Until next time, 

Coach Marco