Whether you’re male or female, having a set of well-developed shoulders instantly enhances your physique — both aesthetically and athletically.
Broad delts that can be seen from any angle — front, back or side — will dwarf your waist giving you that V-taper appearance. Also, strong muscular shoulders scream athleticism and confidence.
With so many upsides to a set of well-developed delts, why is that so many gym goers lack respectable shoulder development?
The answer is obvious: They don’t know how to train the shoulders to get the response they are looking for. Here are four quick reasons why people come up short with their shoulder development.
To build strong, big healthy shoulders you need exercise variety
The standard press is a classic movement. But it’s an incomplete approach as a standalone exercise to bring up the shoulders. You need more variety of movements to hit all three heads (anterior, medial and posterior) of the shoulder to give them that 3D look.
To build strong, big, healthy shoulders you need to train with high reps
Blood flow is actually functional to building your shoulders since it delivers nutrients into the muscle. The better you are at activating the pump in your shoulders, the higher the potential those muscles have for growth. This is a bodybuilding strategy that has worked for decades: Using higher rep sets (usually around the 15–30+) range helps you activate the pump in the muscle your working. This approach is particularly advantageous to the shoulders since they are made up of mostly slow twitch fibers which respond best to high rep range training.
To build strong, big, healthy shoulders you need to hit the rear delts often
The rear-delts are on the backside of your physique. Logic would follow that this muscle group should be trained on back day. I suggest the rear delts get hit on back day and shoulder day. The reason? This muscle group has the potential to change the way your physique looks more than any other part of the shoulder. When the rear delts are developed you can see them from the front and from the side they pop out and shrink your waist. And from the back, they solidify the V-Taper.
To build strong, big, healthy shoulders you need to train the rotator cuff
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulders.
Training the rotator cuff isn’t sexy — but the payoff is huge. Think of it this way: If your shoulders are vulnerable due to weak rotator cuff muscle groups, then how will manage loading up the lats, chest and shoulders with increasingly heavier loads? The answer: You won’t.
By adding in the cuban rotation (video below) you’ll increase the health of your shoulders and be on your way to building strong, big, healthy shoulders.
The Recipe for Big, Strong, Healthy Shoulders
This complex is made up of four movements that together, hit all the heads (anterior, medial and posterior) of the shoulder. This complex will also improve the health of your rotator cuff muscle group. You’ll go from the weakest movement to the strongest movement, a concept known as mechanical drop sets.
Seated Cuban Rotation x 4
Ahrens Press x 8
Seated Rear Delt Flye x 12
Seated Press x 16
Here’s a video clip for visual reference: