Shoulders are one of the most important body parts when it comes to bodybuilding. The muscles in your shoulders workout make you look wide and enhance your personality. Your biceps also look bigger when your shoulders are well-built. Just like any other body part, you need to hit the muscles in your shoulders separately in order to increase the size and muscles mass. Two things that are very important in bodybuilding are consistency and progression. While there are several muscles in the shoulder, the exercise basically focuses on three different parts largely.
The first part is the front part, the second is the back part and the third is the traps. Three heads namely anterior (front delt), medial (side delt) and posterior (rear delt) make the shoulder. While working out, you need to hit all the three delts to get visible results.
A barbell, two dumbbells are generally enough for hitting the shoulder but you need a heavyweight to challenge your limits and force break the muscle tissues to make way for the formation of new and bigger muscles. Now, focusing on your shoulders doesn’t mean hitting them every day. Rest is equally important in bodybuilding as your muscles need time to recover after breaking due to the tension they are subjected to the workout.
Ideally, hitting a muscle two times a week is enough for solid gains and shoulders are no different. You need to stick to a tempo and maintain uniform rep speed throughout the sets. Also, a brief rest of 10 seconds after every set is necessary to allow the muscles sometime to gain strength.
Growing big doesn’t always mean growing heavy. There’s a limit to everything and you need to know your strength. Lifting more than your capability might lead to injuries and it is the worst thing that can happen to you while you are trying to build muscles.
You might have seen people doing dozens of exercises for the shoulders at the gym. But with the right form and correct progression, 5 basic exercises will be enough to help you get muscular shoulders.
Barbell Overhead Press
It is a great weight-lifting exercise that engages your shoulders as well as your core. You need to stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell with an ideal weight across the front of your shoulders. Tighten the core and push the barbell directly overhead. Bring it back down in a slow motion. Squeeze your shoulders upwards while pushing the barbell upwards. Perform 12 to 14 reps in the first set. With every set, increase the weight and decrease the reps.
If you can’t hit even 8 reps, you are probably lifting more than you should. Three sets of the exercise are enough but you can do 4 sets considering the first one as a warmup set. The exercise will have an amazing effect on your deltoids and will also increase your lifting capacity.
Barbell shrug is another important exercise for your shoulders. It primarily targets the traps. Traps make your shoulders look bigger and add definition to your upper body. This exercise involves heavyweights. For performing the exercise, you need to stand tall while holding a barbell in an overhand grip.
Your hands should be just outside your thighs. Lift your shoulder upwards without applying power from your hands and hold for a second or two and then lower them back. Your spine and elbows must be straight while doing the exercise. Increase the weight after every set and perform three power sets of this exercise.
Seated Arnold Press
Seated Arnold Press is a more complex and result-giving version of seated dumbbell press. You need a flat bench and two dumbbells to perform the exercise. Sit straight on a flat bench and hold the dumbbells with an overhand grip at your side. Engage and tighten your core. Bring the dumbbells up in such a way that your palms are facing you. Push the dumbbells overhead and rotate them as they go up in such a way that your palms are facing the opposite direction of your face. Pause for a second and bring the dumbbells down slowly to their initial position. Perform 3 sets of the exercise with 12, 10 and 8 reps.
Seated Lateral Raise
If you want big and round edges of your shoulders, seated lateral raises are one of the best exercises. Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit straight on a flat bench. Hang your arms down on either side with your palms facing each other and holding a dumbbell each. Now slowly lift your arms to the side until they are parallel with the ground. A slight bend in the elbows is OK but it should not be entirely bent. Pause for a second and contract the shoulders. Then bring them back slowly. Perform 3 sets of 10-13 reps each. This is a great exercise for adding muscle mass and strength to the shoulders and stabilising the core.
Bent-Over Reverse Fly
The final exercise of our shoulder workout routine is the bent-over the reverse fly. You need a pair of dumbbells to do this exercise. Stand straight while holding a dumbbell each in your hands. Bend your knees a little and hinge from the hips until the upper body is slightly upward than getting parallel to the ground. Now, push the dumbbells towards the ceiling using the rear deltoids. Pause for a second and bring the dumbbells back slowly to the initial position. Focus on your breathing and keep the core tight while doing the exercise. Perform 3 sets of this exercise as well.