Beautiful shoulders don’t happen by accident but you always notice when people have them! They make dresses and tank tops look a million times better. In fact, nicely built shoulders are coveted so much that back in the 80s, clothing was outfitted with shoulder pads! If you know, you know. But, you don’t need shoulder pads to reach new heights with your shoulders.
Frequency matters. If you’re trying to build any body part, you need to concentrate on it a little more than other parts. In fact, you may need to replace some exercises for a while to make room for shoulder ones. The good news is the shoulder complex is closely connected to your triceps and upper back so you will see carryover in those two areas by default. To grow a body part, I recommend touching it about three to four days a week, using heavy weights, as well as lighter ones.
Here’s what that might look like for you:
Monday – barbell overhead press heavy with low reps (6 – 8)
Tuesday – dumbbell front raises, dumbbell side lateral raises, dumbbell rear delt raises, performed as a tri-set with light weights and high reps (15-20)
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – dumbbell Arnold press, cable face pulls, cable side lateral raises with medium reps (10-12)
Friday – plank up/downs, pushups as a finisher for your workout so high reps (10-20)
As you can see, each workout day (of a four day program) would include those shoulder exercises. Replace other upper body exercises, if necessary so as not to overdo it. I usually replace chest press with overhead press and limit my arm exercises slightly. Keep in mind, tricep movements have tremendous carryover to shoulders so don’t sleep on those!
The Importance of Mobility
A word about mobility here. Many of us spend a lot of time hunched over these days–over the phone, over the computer, riding in the car– and that can have detrimental effects on our shoulder complex. If you have rounded shoulders or feel soreness or tightness in your upper back, neck, and shoulders, be sure to concentrate on mobility movements, too. You can incorporate those into a warmup. Things like arm circles, halos, wall circles, and wall slides are great ways to keep your shoulders healthy and moving the way they are intended to move. You can’t overdo mobility. For some of my clients, I program daily mobility sessions and they definitely make a difference!
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