Well developed shoulders (deltoids) are impressive to see. The world is obsessed with building chest and arms, not to mention abs. Big and strong shoulders will give the illusion of a smaller waist, giving the v-shaped appearance. If your desire is to bench some impressive weight, your shoulders will play an important factor in that. The shoulders muscle are the most movable and unstable joint in the body. Its important to strengthen your delts, so you can lift more weight in other exercises. The following exercises will help to strengthen, and add mass to your shoulders. I will list the main exercises that will need to be done first, to add strength and mass, followed by the ones needed to add shape. I will list the alternatives to keep the delts guessing, so they will always grow from doing the new exercises. At the end I will list the exercises that are important to prevent injuries.
Its very important to always take time to warm up your shoulders before starting any workout routine, especially shoulder training. After warming up the shoulders for 5 to 10 minutes, start your shoulder routine with the barbell military press.
Barbell Military Press- This is truly one of the best exercise that will build massive hard delts. If new to shoulder training, start with the smith machine. Using the smith machine will lock you in a fixed position so you don’t have to worry about balancing the bar, which could lead to injuries if you are a beginner. Start with a hand grip that is even to your shoulders. I recommend doing the barbell military press seated rather to standing. Doing the barbell military press seated will help protect you lower back, because standing presses tend to arch the back especially at the end of the set when doing forced reps. Barbell military press will build your overall shoulders, and your triceps to secondary.
Seated Dumbbell Military Press- Similar to the barbell press, but dumbbells are used. Dumbbells are a good alternative to the barbell military press. I prefer the dumbbells instead of barbell, because it takes more balance when performing reps with the dumbbells, meaning your shoulders will be bigger and fuller from recruiting more muscle fibers. Bring the dumbbells down even with your ears, then explode right back up. Bringing the dumbbells down lower than ear level isn’t recommended, because you might be at risk for shoulder injuries in the future.
Dumbbell Side Laterals- This exercise will add width to your shoulders. If your are looking for the v- shape that makes your waist looks narrow, these will get you one step closer to your goal. Bring the dumbbells up with power, while lowering them with control. Increase your weight with each set. Only raise the dumbbells to shoulder length. If you go any higher, it can lead to injury.
Cable Side Laterals- Side cable laterals will work your side delts in a different manner than doing them with dumbbells. Cables will keep tension on the delts from the start of the exercise until the end. After a couple months of doing side dumbbell laterals, give cable side laterals a try.
Dumbbell Front Laterals- Dumbbell front laterals, will build up the front delts. Start with a moderate weight, and increase the weight on each set. Keep your arms straight while lifting the weight up. Never bring the dumbbells up past your shoulders. To get a good contraction on front raises, hold the dumbbells for 2 to 3 seconds on the top of the movement to stress the delts.
Ez-Bar Front Raises- doing front raises with the ez-bar will allow you to change hand positions to hit the front delts from different angles. Do 1 set of 10 with your hand grip wider than your shoulders. Do another set with your hands even with your shoulders, and do your last set with your hands six inches apart (narrow grip).
Upright Rows- upright rows are a excellent exercise to add to your shoulder routine. This exercise can be done with a ez-bar, barbell, dumbbells, or by using the smith machine. If you have a hand grip of six inches a part, this will put more emphasis on the side delts and trapezius muscle. New research has come out saying to use a hand grip wider than your delts to fully target the side shoulders.