Subj: How to Build Damn Big Delts with the “Boulder Shoulder” Workout Routine.
No physique is complete without a set of wide shoulders.
The sad truth is, ripped shoulders are a rare commodity. Most guys have underdeveloped shoulder muscles. Even mine are a little flat, despite years of effort.
There are a few reasons why you might have small shoulders:
Maybe your shoulders are lagging because the genetic deck is stacked against you. Or, maybe you need a little knowledge to gain an edge in the gym and bring your delt game up to speed.
The knowledge gap is usually the culprit here, so let’s get right to the lesson and fix your small-shoulderness, shall we? The first thing you need to understand is that…
Shoulders are a stubborn and complex muscle group that needs to be specially trained to grow to its full potential.
Shoulder training can be tricky. You need to understand the shoulder’s function and design in order to build them appropriately.
A little background to give you the full picture: Deltoids, or “Delts” as the muscle group is commonly referred, are named after the Greek word “Delta”. Delta is represented by a triangle. A delta is also the name for the mouth of a river that flows into a lake or ocean or other large body of water. River deltas a shaped like triangles…Okay, you see the pattern here… Deltoid muscles are shaped like a triangle, hence their name.
Like a triangle, deltoids have three side. And all three sides must be worked individually for complete shoulder development.
Use exercises that specifically target the Front, middle and rear delts to big delts that look good from every angle.
Shoulders are designed to move your arms up through many different angles. A combination of pressing and raising motions is best for training shoulders.
Shoulders are designed to press your arms up into the air and lift your arms up from your sides.
Shoulders presses and rows are the best way to build shoulder muscles mass and strength. While, lateral or side raises are the best way to sharpen your delt muscles to make the defined.
Shoulder presses and rows train the entire shoulder muscle as a unit which is perfect for functional strength and engaging maximum muscle fibers for increasing gains.
Shoulder muscles respond best when first blasted with heavy “power” lifts. Followed up by high-volume of lateral shoulder raises to exhaust the muscles.
It’s best practice to start your shoulder workout routine with sets of heavy presses and/or upright rows. Training shoulders for mass first, then sculpting them with isolation exercises is the perfect way to build broad shoulders.
Benefits of Training Shoulders
Broad shoulders are synonymous with strength, power, toughness, and grit.
Board shoulders are like the capstone to a complete physique. They help create the V-Shaped Torso look and give you’re upper body that nice taper. Clothes will fit better and you’ll look better both naked and dressed up.
Broad shoulders will make your waist look slimmer and your physique look leaner overall.
Like I mentioned above, the best approach to build big shoulders is to first, pack on lots of quality muscle mass. Then, define that muscle mass with high volume, shoulder isolation exercises.
Make Shoulder Health a Priority!
Injuries suck. Shoulder injuries really suck. Shoulders are a pivot point for your arms snd your arms are needed for every upper body exercises I can think of.
An injured shoulder can really set you back in the gym. Keep your shoulders healthy by always training with proper form. 1 rule of thumb is to always maintain perfect posture with a straight upper back.
Equally training your front, middle, and rear deltoids is also very important to avoid muscle weakness or imbalances in the shoulder muscle. Shoulder muscle imbalance can lead to shoulder discomfort, pain and injuries. Shoulder injuries like rotator cuff injuries and shoulder impingement are not fun and rehab is a bitch.
Avoid injuries by always training safe. Always keep shoulders packed tight when performing pressing movements like bench press.
3 Tips for Building “Diamond Delts”
#1. Volume -Train Shoulders with High Volume Workouts
Train shoulders with high volume the majority of time. Shoulders are used to a lot of movement so high volume is necessary to ensure muscle growth.
Hit your military press and upright rows often. Throw in a few heavy sets of each during shoulder workouts.
#2. Variety – Shoulder Muscle Workouts should have Variety
Shoulder workouts should vary to “keep the muscles guessing”. Shocking muscles with new stimulus is the best way to trigger muscle response. Do heavy military press one day coupled with high-rep lateral raises. Do 5 reps of 5 sets of heavy military press one day then do 3 sets of 10 reps the next. Change up your training method but always train with intensity.
Train shoulders with front lateral raises, side lateral raises and rear delt raises. Varied delt training is critical to ensure you’re hitting all the muscles, thus creating an illusion of wide shoulders that are round and full.
#3. Isolation – Incorporate Shoulder Isolation exercises into each delt workout.
Delt muscles respond best to workouts with some degree of shoulder isolation. Many workouts like pull ups and bench press hit the shoulder muscle. Even military press, which is a great shoulder muscle building exercise, doesn’t fully isolate your delts.
Military press allows your arms, upper back, and trap muscles to bare some of the weight load. Overhead presses are a great way to build muscle mass but often times the front or side delts do most of the work. When this happens the rear delt lags behind. For this reason you must train each “head” of the shoulder with isolation exercises.
Nice shoulders have 3 things in common: Size, Symmetry and Muscle Density.
#1. Shoulder Size
Large shoulders are required if you have any bulk on your frame. If you have big arms and chest and small shoulder muscles it will look funny.
The Best Shoulder Exercises for Mass
- Standing Barbell Military Press
- Seated or standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Standing upright barbell row
- Dumbbell shoulder presses
#2. Symmetry, Balance and Full Development
Your delts have 3 dimensions: Front, back and side. All 3 sides need to be developed evenly . Your left right shoulder should also be the same size, shape in order to look the best possible way.
You achieve symmetry by training each part of the delt with equal intensity. deltoids should be balanced and symmetrical. Symmetry is required for aesthetic effect.
Workout out with dumbbells at different angles and positions will help build full balanced, muscles.
Front Delt Exercises
- Front delt raises with dumbbells of low-set cables
- Incline Barbell Bench Press
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
- Diamond pushups
- Behind the head barbell shoulder press
Middle Delt Exercises
- Side delt raises with dumbbells of low-set cables
- Seated Dumbbell Press
- Leaning Lateral side raises with dumbbells
Rear Delt Exercises
- Bent over rear delt rows with dumbbells
- Face pulls with rope and cable
- Reverse rows (lay with your back on the floor. Reach up with arms fully extended grab a racked barbell. pull your chest to the bar)
#3. Dense and Defined
Clear cut line separating them from the upper arm and torso. Mind muscle connection and constant tension are 2 keys to building nice shoulder muscles.
Best shoulder exercises for muscle density and deltoid definition
- Poliquin Press (Demonstrated in the video below)
- Bus Drivers (plate twists) – Grib a plate with hands at 9 and 3 o’clock. extend the plate straight out until your arms are completely straight. Now, rotate the plate so you right hand is a 12 o’clock and your left hand at 6 o’clock. Then, rotate in reverse. DO this as many times as you can while keeping your arms completely straight.
- Arnold Press – Arnold presses are excellent for training shoulders because they keep constant tension on the muscle. Arnold presses are especially great for creating a line between your shoulders and upper arm.
Shoulder Workouts for Muscle Mass and Defined Delts
The following is a great shoulder workout for build delt muscle mass, strength and complete definition:
- Seated Shoulder Press or Military Barbell Press – 5 sets of 6-10 reps each (heavy)
- Lateral Side Raises – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Rear Delt Raises – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Poliquin Shoulder Raises – Usually 4 sets of 8-10 reps – (video example below of how to perform Poliquin Press)
- I’ll usually add drop-sets into the workout, especially the end as a finisher
“Boulder Shoulder” Workout B:
- Standing Military Barbell Press – 5 sets of 4-10 reps each (heavy)
- Upright barbell Rows – 5 sets of 4-10 reps each (heavy)
- Prone Dumbbell Front Raises – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Behind the back cable raises – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Arnold Press – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
A good shoulder workout routine would be to do one of these workouts a week, then do the other one the following week. Rinse and repeat.
Boulder Shoulder Workout Routine Training Tips
When training shoulders it’s important to relax your traps. Relaxing the traps isolates the shoulder and puts tension on the shoulders muscles. Isolation for shoulders will give you the best results.
Make sure you do an exercise that targets each of the three parts of the shoulder: Front, side and rear. So, each exercise should have front shoulder raises, side shoulder raises, and rear shoulders raises. In addition to a pressing motion or two like the barbell military press.
Add some drop sets into your workout. For example do lateral raise for 10 reps with 20 pound dumbbells then immediately grab 10 or 15 pound dumbbells and do 10 more reps. This will ensure you work the muscle to their max.
Boulder Shoulder Workout Burn Set for Hypertrophy and shoulder muscle growth. Videos
First video is front raise with a drop-set (also called burn-set, because they torch your muscles!) then moves into rear delt raises. This is an awesome workout finisher to really torch the rear delts.
How to do Poliquin Raises for Shoulders
The Poliquin raise was created by legendary strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin.
Pelican raises are one of the best shoulder exercises you can do.
They are a unique way to work your shoulders and help to build muscle density due to the static hold of your upper arm when extending the weights outward.
Now that you know how to build some great looking shoulders why not keep the momentum going? Check out my other articles to learn how to build Nice arms and Upper body!