The Best Shoulder Exercises to Build Massive Shoulders

The Best Shoulder Exercises to Build Massive Shoulders

If your checking out this page right now, I think you would agree that:

Building huge shoulders is extremely hard.

But one of the most important body parts to build to have the "V" tapered physique. 

For many of us, shoulders can be one of the trickiest areas of our body to grow.

Most weightlifters I talk to assume since they workout chest and back every week, they don't need to isolate them in their workout splits.

However, to get your shoulders to have a "3D" or 3-Dimensional round look, you need to exercise your shoulders properly by focusing on all three heads properly (Front, Side, Rear). 

The Shoulder Anatomy

In this article we are going to cover, the best ways to train shoulders.

First, we need to understand each muscle group that is involved, so we know exactly how to target them while working out.

The shoulders are apart of a muscle group called Deltoids.

Most commonly put in the body building industry we look at our Deltoids broken into three "heads" 

  1. Anterior Deltoid (Front Deltoid)
  2. Lateral Deltoid (Middle Deltoid)
  3. Posterior Deltoid (Rear Deltoid)

So when you hear people talking about building massive shoulders, they are not referring to building shoulder joints. They are talking about their Deltoids.

Here's how they look:

<img src="deltoidanomated.png" alt="Deltoid Muscle Groups">

As you can see from the diagram you can see how they are broken into three muscle groups.

If you check out the picture below, you will see our IFBB PRO Athlete John Coss before his last show.

Notice the distinct separation between each group and how evenly built each Deltoid muscle is.  

<img src="Johncoss.png" alt="Building Massive Delts">

So if our goals are to build massive delts.

What's the best way to get there?

The Best Shoulder Workouts

Before we start diving into the most effective ways to build shoulders. 

Let's talk a little bit about some of the mistakes that I see every time that I walk in the gym. 

  1. Not training shoulders with enough frequency
  2. Over training shoulders
  3. Only training shoulders once a week
  4. Only focusing on high volume workouts
  5. Lack of compound movements in programming
  6. Thrown in with other groups like chest and back

 If you are going to build massive shoulders, there are couple things that need to happen. 

Frequency, and intensity.

Do not get this confused with trying to catch a "pump". When you train to simply just get a pump in the gym, that is one of the easiest ways to hit a plateau and stop progressing.

This means, all the guys you see doing drop sets, super sets, and pyramids for their shoulders and not lifting heavy are not training efficiently.

Sure this style of shoulder workouts work for a little while and can signal muscle growth upfront, but long term it will be hard to get out of a plateau and almost no strength will be gained.

If your goal is to build muscle consistently, your shoulder workouts need to look like the polar opposite of the "high-intensity" YouTube style of lifting.

Right now you may be thinking, "Well your wrong because my favorite bodybuilder or fitness influencer trains this way and he's jacked". 

You're very right, however he also isn't telling you about all the illegal substances he is injecting into his body every week. Which totally changes the ball game when it comes to the approach to workouts, because you can get away with terrible programming and still build muscle.

So, if you are a drug free lifter and you are not touching banned substances this article is for you.

If you are using PED's, you can still get great value out of this article and only enhance your training protocols. 

Let's dive into some of the most effective shoulder exercises for building mass:

Now that we have went over all of that, here is a list of the best shoulder exercises for building muscle mass:

  • Classic Overhead Press
  • Lateral Raises
  • Upright Barbell Row
  • Cable Rear Delt' Fly's

These core exercises have dramatically transformed my shoulders over the years, and got rid of all the wasted movements that I was doing in the gym that wasted time and energy.

1. Classic Overhead Press

The Overhead Press is my all time favorite shoulder exercise for building mass and if you truly want to grow your shoulders bigger this is a must in your programming.

The Overhead Press puts more emphasis on the Front and Middle Deltoid.

Anywhere from 5-15 reps would be ideal, and focus on lifting heavy weights in this lift.

Your goal with this shoulder exercise is to build progressive strength over time versus focusing on volume.

One thing to keep in mind, is this shoulder exercise does take a toll on the body and can cause injuries, so make sure not to over extend yourself & maintain proper form. Always use a spotter when going heavier to make sure you do not injure yourself.

2. Lateral Raises

No surprise on this one.

I'm sure that no matter who you are, you either do these currently, or have once done them at some point in your life.

Let's break down exactly the best way to perform Lateral Raises in the gym.

Lateral Raises are a isolating movement for the Lateral Deltoid (Middle Delt).

They do not require tons of energy expenditure nor require you to go super heavy and can be a highly productive movement to build mass on your lateral delt.

When you are doing lateral raises there are a couple things to remember:

Focus on feeling the burn, keep your reps in the 8-12 range, and don't go to heavy.

This exercise can be thrown in a couple times a week into your program to help accelerate a response.

3. Upright Barbell Row

This is another classic movement for focusing on growing the shoulder muscles as whole.

When you are doing this exercise, remember do not rock your body to move the weight. You want to maintain a tight and secure core.

If this means dropping the weight to focus on getting the movement right, no worries. It is better to have the right form with lighter weight than to ego lift and not properly train the targeted muscle groups.

To execute this shoulder exercise properly:

Start by grasping the barbell with a overhand grip that is less than shoulder width apart.

Make sure that your back is straight.

Focus on your shoulders to endure the load and raise your elbows up to the side.

Keeping the bar close to your body is vital, and make sure you take time to feel the movement as you contract and retract.

You want to keep this in the 6-10 rep range when incorporating this into your workouts.

4. Cable Rear Deltoid Fly's

One of my favorite shoulder workouts to finish my training is the Cable Rear Delt Fly's.

This is considered a isolating movement to balance out your shoulders.

One thing to remember whether you are doing dumbbell, cable or pec dec machine is to focus on your elbows to lead the movement.

Use the same techniques as in lateral raises and focus on 10-15 reps when doing this exercise.

Can Supplements Help Build Muscle?


However, you want to remember that supplements are not the "Holy Grail" to building muscle if your Nutrition and Training are not dialed in.

Too often we see supplements over marketed to consumers like you and often times they are selling under-dosed ineffective products.

If you are going to use supplements to help in your muscle building goals, then you do not want just any company and you definitely do not make your purchasing decisions around price.

That is how you end up with capsules of only rice flour... or even worse.. Spiked supplements that are extremely harmful.

You want to make sure you choose a company that focuses on delivering you proper and real information and a company that focuses on the highest levels of quality.

So with that being said, if you want to learn more about our company and our motive behind why we created Alchemy Labs, click here and learn more.

Here is a list of some of our supplements that are proven and backed by science that can help you build more muscle:

 Last Words On The Best Shoulder Workouts

In almost every way, training shoulders is just like training bigger muscle groups. 

You want to focus on building strength, perfecting compound movements and developing the muscle group as a whole. 

Now that you know the best shoulder exercises to build quality muscle mass, we hope you take great value in this article and are able to incorporate these techniques in your program.

Keep crushing your goals, and stay consistent.