Here are a few of my tips for building beautiful, rounded shoulders:
Mix it up with compound movements!
Even though the shoulder muscle is comprised of three separate heads, they also work together in various movements such as: Strict Shoulder Press, Military Press, Push Press, and Arnold Press. Compound movements incorporate more muscle mass through a fuller range of motion which will allow you to move more weight which can, in turn, increase muscle mass faster. It’s a lot more bang for your buck!
Focus on isolating all of the heads individually
The deltoid is made up of an anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior(rear) head. In order for them to grow properly, they all need some love! Isolation of the individual muscles will also create a balanced, “rounded” look, improve posture, and can help deter muscle imbalances which could potentially lead to rotator cuff issues.
Some isolation exercises are:
Anterior: Front Raises, Shoulder Press, and Upright Rows
Lateral: Lateral Raises (all variations) and Steering Wheels
Rear: Rear Delt Flyes, Face Pulls, and cross-body pulls (mainly on cables)
You can get creative with your shoulder training by using different variations, techniques, supersets, and equipment (i.e. cables, dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands and machines) in order to fully incorporate them!
Drop it like its hot!
Drop-sets are when you start an exercise at a heavy(ish) weight and complete as many reps as you can until “failure” and then “drop” to a lower weight, complete as many reps as you can until you get to the lowest weight
possible. Drop-sets are an amazing way to really burn out your muscle fibers in order to stimulate maximal muscle growth (hypertrophy) and get that amazing “pump”.
A great way to incorporate more muscle fibers to stimulate hypertrophy is creating time under tension. This can be done with tempo movements! Tempo is the pace at which you are performing the exercise. Doing a movement with a slower tempo at a lighter (or what I call a “humble”) weight can give you a nice burn without overloading the muscle too much.
Train your shoulders more than once a week
While you never want to overtrain your delts, there’s nothing wrong with training them more than once in a week.
As always make sure to warm-up your deltoids and back properly before participating in any of these activities to reduce the risk of injury. Give these tips and tricks a try the next time you’re in the gym!
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