Take the weight off your shoulders
Want better results? Take the weight off your shoulders!
Building great shoulders comes down to feeling how they work and learning how to place the muscles under overload without hurting the joints and ligaments that keep it pain free! Most people that train in the gym want great shoulders but they go too heavy and train them too often or with too much volume. I'll add this as a 'third workout' but only every 3rd week of training, see my FIRE program below. If you increase the weight gradually, you'll see some nice mass added to your shoulders!
The Shoulder Workout
1. Standing Shoulder Press - MP Warm up followed by 2 sets of 12 RM.
To recruit all the deltoid muscles the elbows need to be kept high and wide and to do that, you need core and back strength to keep the chest up. Using a higher rep range teaches the midsection this 'strength' and the ability to transfer force through to the shoulders. The force you produce with your shoulders actually starts from the midsection with the correct posture!
2. Lateral dumbbell raise - 2 sets of 12-8 RM
This is the most abused exercise I see in the gym. The aim of this exercise is to load all three heads of the deltoids (read, medial and front). To do that the hands needs to be palms to the floor throughout the movement. Think, pouring a jug of water in each hand as you raise the 'bells. As soon as you start rotating your hands higher than the elbows all the emphasis shifts to the front delts - which already get more than enough work from all press movements.
3. Seated dumbbell Presses - 2 sets of 12-8 RM
Although this exercise looks the same as the standing version the key difference is firstly the use of dumbbells to better unilateral strength. the second difference is the seated position now reduces the need for stability. This seated position, allows you to focus more on the Range of Motion of the 'bells and keeping that 'chest up' position that enables more recruitment of the shoulder muscles.
4. Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl 2 sets of 12-8 RM
So what is a curl exercise doing in a shoulder workout? The long head of the biceps crosses the shoulder joint and is therefore heavily involved in all should pressing movements however it doesn't get a lot of strengthening during regular curls due to the rounded shoulder position most people adopt. So the seated incline dumbbell curl is a great exercise that strengthens this all-important bicep tendon for injury prevention.