Last modified: Friday, August 31, 2018

Why men want broader or wider shoulders?

Because it shows their masculinity. And of course, many women find the man shoulder as their attractive body part.

But if we keep that aside, wider shoulders have many benefits in your workout and daily routine. For overall upper-body strength, bigger shoulders are the main factors.

And for having an abdominal 'V' shape physique, you need to train your shoulders as well with your biceps and triceps.

Table of Contents

Anatomy of Shoulder Muscles

anatomy of shoulder muscles

Let's understand how male shoulders muscles are made.

The shoulder muscles consist of the Deltoids. The 'V' shaped physique that is created due to the upper body width is possible because if the Deltoids.

Deltoids are three-headed muscles:

(1) Anterior (2) Lateral (3) Posterior.

The Anterior Deltoid is on the front side of the shoulder. It is responsible for shoulder flexion such as moving your arms forward and upwards. This muscle is targeted during press exercises.

The Lateral Deltoid is on the outside of your shoulder. It is responsible for shoulder abduction such as raising your arms upward from your sides. This muscle is targeted with dumbbell raise exercises.

The Posterior Deltoid is on the back of your shoulder. It is responsible for shoulder extension such as pulling your arms backward. This muscle is targeted with face pull and bent over row exercises.

Best Exercises To Get Wider Shoulders

Here is a list of the exercises that I used to do when I was so invested in building wider shoulders.

1. Barbell Overhead Press

Barbell Overhead pressBarbell overhead press, also known as the shoulder press, is one of the best compound exercises to build stronger arms and muscular shoulders. This exercise targets your shoulders and boosts strength in other muscle groups of the upper body as well.

How To Perform This Exercise

Stand straight with your feet slightly apart and looking ahead.

Grasp the barbell in front of your shoulders, elbows bent and your grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Tighten your knees & hips and press the barbell overhead. Fully extend your arms. Move your torso forward, don't lean back.

Hold the position for a moment and carefully return the barbell to your chest. Take a deep breath and go for the next rep.

Do the repetition for 5-8 reps in 3-5 sets. Start with lighter weight and do not stretch yourself with heavyweight which your body cannot afford.

Also check our article on building bigger biceps and stronger forearms.

2. Alternate Seated Dumbbell Press

Alternate Seated Dumbbell PressThis exercise is a better version of regular seated dumbbell press, that helps to build the shape and size of your shoulders. Using alternate hands helps to increase the time under tension without using heavyweight and has a balanced form.

How To Perform This Exercise

Sit on a bench with 90 degrees. Hold dumbbells in each hand.

Bend both elbows in a way that both dumbells come over your shoulders.

Slowly raise one dumbbell up overhead and rotate your palms facing forward. Extend your elbow and contract the deltoid.

Hold the position for a moment and lower the dumbbell to the starting position.

Repeat the same movement with a dumbbell of the other hand. Do this repetition of 6-8 reps for each arm in 4 sets.

3. Barbell Upright Row

Barbell-Upright-RowBarbell upright row is the free-weight exercise to build shoulder strength and tone your upper arms. It targets the lateral deltoids. Be sure to maintain the perfect form, to avoid injury and achieve the desired results.

How To Perform This Exercise

Stand straight, hold the barbell up to the hip with an overhand grip, and shoulder-width apart.

Lift the bar straight up to your chest level and close to your body. Keep your arms parallel with the shoulders.

Hold the position for a moment and slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.

Do this repetition for 3-8 rep in 4-6 sets.

4. Barbell Front Raise

Barbell-Front-RaiseThe barbell front raise helps to strengthen the deltoids (front and sides) for better shoulder flexion and also the upper chest muscles. This exercise would help in recovering from a shoulder injury. For a variation in front raise, you can also use dumbbells.

How To Perform This Exercise

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, up to your thighs. Keep your abs tight.

Slightly bend your knees and lift the barbell, to your front, at your shoulder level. Your arms should be parallel to the floor.

Hold the position for a moment and lower down the bar to the starting position. Control the weight as you lower it.

Do repetition of 10-12 reps in 2-3 sets. Keep the lighter weights to perform it with the best form.

Also check our guide to building bigger triceps

5. Incline Lateral Raise

Incline lateral raise

Incline lateral raise help to strengthen the middle & lateral deltoids and also increase shoulder mobility. Usually lighter weights are used for this exercise, though it helps in intense shoulder training.

How To Perform This Exercise

Lie on a bench inclined to 40-45 degrees, feet on the floor, and arms on your sides.

Hold the dumbbells in both hands with an overhand grip.

Raise both dumbbells to your side up to your shoulder level, parallel to the floor, and keep your elbow slightly bent.

Slowly lower your arms at the starting position. Keep control of the weights as you lower it.

Do this repetition for 12-15 reps in 3-5 sets.

6. Face Pull

Face pull strengthens the posterior deltoids, upper back and builds overall shoulder strength. This exercise prevents shoulder injuries and muscle imbalances. It also engages the core muscles to build better stability.

How To Perform This Exercise

Stand in front of the cable machine with a rope attachment fixed on the high pulley.

Hold the handle of the rope with an overhand grip and step back so that your arms are fully extended.

Pull the handles towards your face and elbows to your side of the shoulders.

Return the rope back with control and extend your arms without letting your shoulders to go forward.

Do this repetition of 15-20 reps in 3-5 sets. Keep your core tight and maintain a good posture throughout the exercise.

7. Bent-Over Lateral Raise

Bentover lateral raiseThis exercise is beneficial to strengthen the posterior deltoids of the shoulders and the upper back as you change the rear angle during the movement.

How To Perform This Exercise

Hold the dumbbells in both hands and bend over in a way that your chest is parallel to the floor.

Hang your arms beneath you and elbows straight. Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent.

Raise the dumbbells up at your sides in a way your upper arms should be parallel to the floor.

Hold the position for a moment and slowly lower back the dumbbells to the starting position.

Do this repetition for 8-12 reps in 3-5 sets.

8. Incline I, Y, T’s

Incline I, Y, TThe incline I, Y, T raise is a compound exercise that helps to build strength front & side muscles your shoulders, and the upper back. It also increases mobility and range of motion of the shoulders.

How To Perform This Exercise

Lie on an inclined bench of 40-45 degrees with chest down and arms hanging towards the ground. Hold the lightweight dumbbells in both hands.

Tighten your core and raise the dumbbells out at your sides forming 'T' shape.

Lower the dumbbells and hang your arms as in a starting position.

Again raise the dumbbells out, and pause when dumbbells come between your shoulders and head, forming 'Y' shape. Slowly lower arms to the starting position.

Again raise the dumbbells out, and take in front of your head, forming 'I' shape. Slowly lower arms to the starting position.

This whole movement will be considered as 1 rep. Do 5-8 reps of this movement in 3-4 sets.

9. Standing Front Raise & Lateral Raise Superset

You can easily combine the sets of different exercises as a superset and get the maximum benefit from it. For strong and healthy shoulders, exercises like Lateral Raises and Front Raises contribute strength to the muscles to do the major compound lifts.

Front RaiseHow To Perform Front Raise

Stand straight with feet slightly apart and hold the dumbbells in both hands at your sides.

Raise the dumbbells to your front, at your shoulder level. Your arms should be parallel to the floor.

Hold the position for a moment and lower down the bar to the starting position. Control the weight as you lower it.

Do repetition of 10-12 reps in 3-5 sets. Keep the lighter weights to perform it with the best form.

We have a complete guide for building six-pack abs.

Dumbbell-Lateral-RaiseHow To Perform Lateral Raise

Stand straight with feet slightly apart and hold the dumbbells in both hands at your sides.

Raise the dumbbells at your sides, at your shoulder level. Your arms should be parallel to the floor.

Hold the position for a moment and lower down the bar to the starting position. Control the weight as you lower it.

Do repetition of 10-12 reps in 3-5 sets. Keep the lighter weights to perform it with the best form.

What one should expect from these exercises?

It's not only the exercise that will help you grow bigger shoulders, Your nutrition also impacts your bodybuilding greatly. All the workouts mentioned in the above article will help you fully develop your shoulders. If you have tried any of these exercises, You'll surely get benefit from the techniques.

If you already have habits of spending an hour at the gym, you can easily include these techniques for your benefits. I like to see what is right for my body before I go to the gym and start doing any random exercise without know any impact that will do to my body.  So I suggest you should also consider checking some exercises so you can customize your workout routine as per your need.

I am sure I have missed many great workout techniques. So you can comment on what have I missed and I'll try to get second round of the same article in the future.

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