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WORKOUT: Shoulder Shape-up

Thick, capped shoulders are the hallmark of a well-balanced physique.

The only way to deliver delts that dominate is to target these complex muscle structures from multiple angles. You’ll never develop the round shape and thick slabs of muscle around the shoulder joint if all you do is press.

Multiple angles of attack

Shoulders are complex structures as they consist of a joint and the requisite muscles that enable the movement of your arms through 360 degrees – they’re the only joint structure in the body where that’s possible.

The shoulder is also involved in almost every upper body exercise or movement pattern, which makes strong, mobile shoulders a must for anyone serious about their gym training and developing unparalleled strength.

This shoulder workout targets the shoulders from multiple angles to ensure your front, side and rear deltoid muscles, as well as your traps, get the dedicated focus they need.

The workout

ExerciseSetsReps
Seated dumbbell shoulder presses 3 Sets 8 Reps
Lateral raises 3 Sets 10 - 12 reps
Bent-over rear delt kickbacks 3 Sets 10 - 12 Reps
Dumbbell front raises 3 Sets 12-15 Reps
Upright rows 4 Sets 8 Reps
Trap raise 3 Sets 10 - 12 Reps

Check out the complete workout series: Arms | Back | Legs | Shoulders | Chest

Seated dumbbell shoulder presses

Overhead presses are the bread and butter of a shoulder workout that aims to develop serious size. Pressing with dumbbells, instead of a bar, ensures each side of your body works equally hard to develop better symmetry.

Do 4 sets x 8 reps

Lateral raises

This is the money-maker move when it comes to developing that sought-after round shoulder shape, so do them early on in your routine with sufficient weight to work these muscle fibres.

Do 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Bent-over rear delt kickbacks

The rear delts are often the most neglected of the shoulder muscles. This exercise is ideally suited to targeting these important muscles, which are needed to pull your shoulders back and avoid that hunched-over look many lifters sport due to overdeveloped front delts.

Do 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Dumbbell front raises

This isolation exercise is better suited to developing front delt definition, so use lighter weights and higher volume for the desired effect.

Do 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Upright rows

This is a compound exercise that involves the trapezius, the deltoids and the biceps. However, lifting with a straight bar can lead to shoulder impingement, so opt for dumbbells or an EZ bar.

Do 4 sets x 8 reps

Trap raise

This is a less common exercise, but it is highly effective. Set a bench to a low incline and lie face-down. Retract your shoulder blades, then raise the dumbbells straight up to chin height until your arms are parallel to the floor.

Do 3 sets x 10-12 reps