How to Build Big Broad Shoulders

Wide shoulders can make all the difference to your appearance and particularly the appearance of your silhouette. If you want people to turn and take notice when you walk in through the door and if you want to take up more space and enjoy a greater feeling of presence, then wider shoulders are just what you need.


But a lot of people will tell you that shoulder width is genetically determined. Your shoulders are based on your bone structure right? How can you make them wider and yourself broader?


Fortunately there is a way, so read on to find out how.


Deltoid Anatomy

Your shoulder muscles are called deltoids and are the round muscles at the tops of your arms. These muscles are split into three separate ‘heads’ that are almost like segments of an orange. They are the anterior, medial/lateral and posterior deltoid heads – which essentially means front, middle and back.


The width of your shoulders is partly determined by bone structure, but as you have your deltoids on either end you can still make these wider to give yourself some more width overall. And the main way to do that is by training the lateral deltoids.


Training the Lateral Deltoids

Training the lateral deltoids means using lateral raises: holding a dumbbell in each arm and then raising them up out to your sides into a crucifix position. This exercise will thicken your medial deltoids and give you wider shoulders.


But most people train the lateral delts with very light weights. If you really want to see growth, then use lateral raises with one arm at a time and load yourself up with a much heavier dumbbell. Now hold onto a doorframe or something to brace yourself and really swing that weight up. Increasing the load in this way will increase the resistance and in turn that will maximize muscle growth or hypertrophy.


Want even more of a challenge? Try throwing the weight slightly in the air and catching it again to make the movement more explosive. Just be careful not to crush your feet…


Training the Whole Shoulder

You should know by now though that you can’t just train one aspect of your body and ignore the rest – so you need to ensure you’re also hitting your front and rear deltoids. To do the front, use ‘forward raises’ by raising the dumbbells in front of you directly forward with an overhand, pronated grip. To train the rear deltoids, use reverse pec flies by pulling cables out behind you from the center.


Finally, you can also use regular shoulder press and incline bench press to train the entire shoulders. One of the best exercises for this is the ‘Arnold press’ which is a dumbbell press where you will rotate the dumbbells as you press them upwards. This is also great for training the forearms to a degree.


A Word on Traps

To finish off the look of huge shoulders, you also need to ensure you’re training your traps which bulge up on either side of your neck. The best way to train these is with shrugs and if you introduce these into your workout 2/3 times a week you’ll find they respond very quickly.

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