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  1. #1
    Registered User Bodydouble's Avatar
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    Best exercises for building shoulder mass

    Hey everyone...I was just curious as to what the BEST exercises are for building shoulder mass. I have been struggling to put size on my shoulders...and was wondering if the forum could help me out.

    Right now I do shoulders on monday...

    seated military press (front)...10,8,6,4
    laterals 10,10,8,8
    upright rows 10,8,6,4
    rear delts on smith machine 10,10,8,8
    rotate each week between dumbell shrugs and bar shrugs...same rep sequence...10,10,8,8

    Is there anything I can change or improve on? Please feel free to offer any advice...thanks in advance
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  2. #2
    Biscuits-n-Gravy yobusta's Avatar
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    Standing Military Press.
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  3. #3
    Johnny Rotten ThickAsABrick's Avatar
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    The exercise selection you have is pretty solid. My own shoulder routine is very similar, minus the upright rows (and I don't use the smith machine for rear delts).
    Do you train shoulders on their own day, or with other body parts?
    Are you eating enough?
    Have you given yourself enough time to grow?
    Do you change your routine every few weeks so you don't stagnate?
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by Bodydouble
    Hey everyone...I was just curious as to what the BEST exercises are for building shoulder mass. I have been struggling to put size on my shoulders...and was wondering if the forum could help me out.

    Right now I do shoulders on monday...

    seated military press (front)...10,8,6,4
    laterals 10,10,8,8
    upright rows 10,8,6,4
    rear delts on smith machine 10,10,8,8
    rotate each week between dumbell shrugs and bar shrugs...same rep sequence...10,10,8,8

    Is there anything I can change or improve on? Please feel free to offer any advice...thanks in advance

    I personally can NOT build side delt mass without laterals. I also got very little results from presses until I switched to dumbbells.

    Do you mean rear delts on "flye" machine? I like the FEEL of these, but get more size from DB bent laterals.

    Your routine looks good, maybe just tweak exercises until you find what works. A small change can make a big difference.
    CSCS, ACSM cPT.
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  5. #5
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  6. #6
    Registered User mr.perffect's Avatar
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    maybe you're doing too much. you're doing 20 sets just for shoulders ... i'd hate to see what you do for a big bodypart!
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  7. #7
    Registered User Bodydouble's Avatar
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    ThickasaBrick,

    Yes I train shoulders on their own day as part of my 5 day split. Before this workout I did German volume training for 8 weeks...then took a week off...and before that it was a hybrid workout for 6 weeks...before another week off. I don't do total body workouts...so I have assigned shoulders their own day...along with bi's/tris on tues...legs...wed...back thurs...chest fri.

    I like to think I am eating enough although I am sure there is always space to pack some more food in...lol. I take my 3 protein shakes a day...one in the morning...one post workout and one before bed. I eat a few eggs and 12 grain toast in the morning..switching between oats and cheerios to break up the monotony of ALWAYS eating oats (GAG). I usually have 2 servings of chicken a day with raw veggies...and a serving of lean ground beef with some yams...usually alternating time of day with the chicken to again...break up the monotony. I take a mulitvitamin in the morning...and then take...vitamin b complex...vitamin e...and zinc..before I go to sleep to help with recovery.

    I think I have given myself enough time to grow...I take a week off in between training regiments and I really attempt to get 8 solid hours of sleep. Its tough because I do shift work...working 430am-1pm...and I usually hit the gym in the afternoon.

    I change my routine...every 6-8 weeks...with taking a week off as I mentioned...and I have had some very exciting results with some of the programs (ie..MAX OT and German Volume Training). I agree with what you said about switching to avoid becoming stagnant....which is what I attempt to do.
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  8. #8
    Johnny Rotten ThickAsABrick's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Bodydouble
    ThickasaBrick,

    Yes I train shoulders on their own day as part of my 5 day split. Before this workout I did German volume training for 8 weeks...then took a week off...and before that it was a hybrid workout for 6 weeks...before another week off. I don't do total body workouts...so I have assigned shoulders their own day...along with bi's/tris on tues...legs...wed...back thurs...chest fri.

    I like to think I am eating enough although I am sure there is always space to pack some more food in...lol. I take my 3 protein shakes a day...one in the morning...one post workout and one before bed. I eat a few eggs and 12 grain toast in the morning..switching between oats and cheerios to break up the monotony of ALWAYS eating oats (GAG). I usually have 2 servings of chicken a day with raw veggies...and a serving of lean ground beef with some yams...usually alternating time of day with the chicken to again...break up the monotony. I take a mulitvitamin in the morning...and then take...vitamin b complex...vitamin e...and zinc..before I go to sleep to help with recovery.

    I think I have given myself enough time to grow...I take a week off in between training regiments and I really attempt to get 8 solid hours of sleep. Its tough because I do shift work...working 430am-1pm...and I usually hit the gym in the afternoon.

    I change my routine...every 6-8 weeks...with taking a week off as I mentioned...and I have had some very exciting results with some of the programs (ie..MAX OT and German Volume Training). I agree with what you said about switching to avoid becoming stagnant....which is what I attempt to do.
    Things sound pretty good. Keep it up and you should see gains.
    Last edited by ThickAsABrick; 06-13-2006 at 11:46 AM.
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  9. #9
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    keep changing your shoulder workout often, actually make up 2 or 3 shoulder workouts and every time u work ur shoulders switch between them, i started to believe very strongly that shock is the key and by doing the same routine u just master the exercise but not necessarily tax the muscle as much as u think u are. This is what i am doing and seeing results:

    Shoulder 1: DB presses
    Side rows
    Side laterals

    Shoulder 2: Front barbell raises
    Rear delt raises on incline bench
    Side laterals

    Shoulder 3: Upright rows
    Behind the back upright rows
    Db shrugs
    Side laterals
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  10. #10
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    i think what you're doing is too much. thats like an entire day devoted to shoulders. i find i gain enough from just heavy pulling and pushing. and throw in a few laterals and front raises to keep the rc's happy.
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  11. #11
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    whats the difference between standing military press and seated barbell presses???
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  12. #12
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    Food


    size comes from food. Keep adding weight to the exercises you have, and eat
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    Originally Posted by Human.Shield
    whats the difference between standing military press and seated barbell presses???
    One of them you're standing............
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  14. #14
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    Having a day just for shoulders is kinda goofy... Shoulders get hit on a hell of a lot of exercises, there's no point in dedicating an entire training day to them.

    Focus on getting stronger at overhead presses (whatever kind you like) and if you really feel the need then do some kind of laterals at the end of your workout.

    Forget about that 10, 8, 6,4 nonsense, just do sets across (straight sets).

    If you choose seated barbell overhead presses as your overhead pressing movement then make sure you don't turn it into some pseudo-incline leg flail garbage exercise as is too commonly seen.
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  15. #15
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    chest work with lateral raises.
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  16. #16
    Registered User fried96's Avatar
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    I don't understand why everyone loves lateral raises so much. DB Rows and seated rows along with reverse flyes is what I would recommend. Can someone explain to me why they think lateral raises are so important??
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    Yep, vegetarian. MrSinister's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fried96
    I don't understand why everyone loves lateral raises so much. DB Rows and seated rows along with reverse flyes is what I would recommend. Can someone explain to me why they think lateral raises are so important??
    because neither exercise you just listed will work the lateral deltoid head? nor will any other lift
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  18. #18
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    To gain mass, do your workout, but do 5 sets of 5 reps per exercise. And do them HARD!!!
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    Perhaps, but the exercises I listed bring more stability to the shoulders. I'm not trying to argue I really am interested. My P.T. told me that lateral raises wouldn't be as helpful for shoulder stabalization as rows and horizontal abduction(reverse flyes).
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    Stabilizers don't build mass.
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    Registered User fried96's Avatar
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    Aren't the muscles that the seated rows/db rows and reverse flyes bigger muscles than lateral delts though?
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    Yes, they are the muscles of your back. You won't add much mass to your shoulders by working your back.
    If it ain't hurtin, It ain't workin!

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  23. #23
    Registered User fried96's Avatar
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    Hmm interesting... do lateral raises put strain on the rotator cuff muscles though?
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    Registered User mccoog40's Avatar
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    Absolutely, which is why I have to stick to maily upright rows and overhead presses for my shoulders unless I go really light. I had a class 2 seperation of the AC Ligament in my left shoulder.
    If it ain't hurtin, It ain't workin!

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  25. #25
    Registered User fried96's Avatar
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    So I could stick to the seated/db rows and the reverse flyes and then throw in some upright rows for some shoulder mass?
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  26. #26
    Registered User mccoog40's Avatar
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    It would be better than nothing, but I recomend splitting back and shoulders into two lifts. I like to do chest/tri; back/bi; delt/trap splits for upper body with legs ona seperate day. Do your seated and DB rows on back day along with pulldowns or deadlifts and do the upright rows with military presses some kind of low weight lat raise, and DB and BB shrugs on shoulder day.
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    Thanks... shrugs build traps right?

    I'm trying to think of what exercises I absolutely need to do for my shoulders and what will just be add-ons.

    So far I'm thinking required are:
    db rows/seated rows
    reverse flyes
    upright rows

    add-ons
    shrugs
    shoulder press
    lat pull downs

    anything I'm missing?
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  28. #28
    Registered User mccoog40's Avatar
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    Once again, your dumbell rows and seated rows are for your back more-so than your shoulders. Priority lifts for shoulders should be Military press, upright rows, and shrugs, with your lateral raises as add-ons.

    You should do some form of overhead press (barbell, dunbell, smith, etc...) every time you lift shoulders, as well as some for of shrugs. Fill in teh rest of your exercise with your favortie movements.

    My shoulder exercise:

    3x12 Overhead Press (barbell, dumbell, smith, or nautilus)
    3x12 Upright Rows (Barbell, dumbell, smith, EZ-bar)
    3x12 Lateral raises (standing, seated, bent over, etc...)
    3x12 Barbell Shrugs
    3x12 Wide Cable Shrugs
    If it ain't hurtin, It ain't workin!

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  29. #29
    Yep, vegetarian. MrSinister's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fried96
    Thanks... shrugs build traps right?

    I'm trying to think of what exercises I absolutely need to do for my shoulders and what will just be add-ons.

    So far I'm thinking required are:
    db rows/seated rows
    reverse flyes
    upright rows

    add-ons
    shrugs
    shoulder press
    lat pull downs

    anything I'm missing?
    upright rows are awful, they are a compromise of a trap workout and a lateral (the side) delt workout, better to split it up properly and do a real lift for both. Shrugs and deads for traps, lateral raises for sides. Lateral raises is as interesting as you want it to be, dont just do them the same deal all the time, do them seated, high reps, low reps, single arm, both arms, cables, e.t.c
    Everyone worries too much about the "shoulders" neglecting the fact they are made of 3 heads and most ppl just work the front head and have a huge imbalance. At least the rear head gets worked when u do back work, however the lateral head is barely ever getting stimulated, hence i always tell people (especially if its lagging, which is the case for 9/10 ppl) make laterals the prime target of your shoulder workout
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    [QUOTE=Canadian Iron]Having a day just for shoulders is kinda goofy... Shoulders get hit on a hell of a lot of exercises, there's no point in dedicating an entire training day to them.
    QUOTE]

    I disagree, I dedicate Saturday, the end of my workout week, almost exclusively to shoulder exercises, at least five of them, and I have made good progress with this split:

    Mon.- Chest & Tri
    Tues.- Cardio
    Weds- Back & Biceps
    Thurs.- Cardio
    Fri- Legs
    Sat.- Shoulders & Forearms
    Sun.- Rest

    Now I change the exercises up a bit to keep my shoulders guessing. I usually do seated DB preses for overall mass, then DB or BB front raises for the anterior delts, and laterals are key if you want the wide shoulder look. I sometimes do my DB laterals with my palms forward instead of towards my body to hit the sides hard. Then psoterior delts usually on the reverse peck deck machine and finally BB or DB shrugs for traps.
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