The shoulders are a neglected muscle group. Sure, most guys do some lateral raises and maybe even a few sets of seated presses but that’s it. And that’s a big mistake because impressive shoulders are the one muscle group you can’t hide when you have to cover up, like in winter.
What good do big biceps do for you when you’re bundled up because it’s 22 degrees out? But you can’t hide wide shoulders. They look impressive, even in a jacket. Or simply a dress shirt and tie. Wide shoulders set you apart.
Oh, and guess what else? Wider shoulders make the waist look smaller and who doesn’t want a smaller looking waist? No one, that’s who! And if your waist looks smaller than your arms and your chest look bigger, too.
This is one of the big Hollywood secrets when it comes to actors getting in shape for action and superhero movies. They focus on certain body parts that create illusions of being bigger and more ripped. The shoulders are one of those super-secret muscles that guys like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans focus on when training for their roles as Thor and Captain America.
So how do you go about working out for wide, impressive shoulders that make your entire body look better?
One of the best ways to widen the shoulders is to crank up the intensity of the training. This means less focus on strength and more focus on getting more work done in less time. So forget about low reps and long rest periods between sets. That’s not going to get the job done here.
We’ll be going light with the weights in order to get the work done but that’s okay. It’s not about building pure strength, it’s about triggering muscle mass gains.
We’re going to use two different shoulder workouts and alternate them. So you’ll do shoulder workout number on then rest a day. Then shoulder workout number two. Then rest a day.
So for the first week, you’ll do shoulder workout number one twice and the second shoulder workout once. The next week it will flip so over a two week period you’ll hit each workout three times for six total workouts.
Shoulder Workout #1
For each exercise below you’ll perform eight sets of eight reps per set and you’ll only take 30 seconds of rest between sets. You’ll need very light weight. The first four sets or so may seem very light but that will change quickly. If you manage eight reps on all eight sets, you’ll increase the weight next workout. If you can’t get at least four reps on the final set, lower the weight for the next workout.
Seated Barbell Press
Standing Lateral Raises (you can do these in a machine if one is available)
Bent-Over Lateral Raises
Shoulder Workout #2
For this workout, we’re going to use supersets. Supersets are simply two exercises done back to back without rest between them. Perform 8 to 12 repetitions per set. Do as many reps as possible. Rest two minutes between supersets.
Super Set #1
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Seated Barbell Press
Super Set #2
Dumbbell Upright Row
Barbell Shoulder Shrug
With the final exercise, you’ll do a drop set. Pick a set of dumbbells that will allow you to get about 12 reps. Once you hit failure, grab a lighter set of dumbbells. Finally, do a third and final set with yet another set of lighter dumbbells.
Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Work hard on these shoulder workouts for a couple of months and you’ll be buying all new clothes!