Want to build those mile wide shoulders? Who doesn’t! It’s a great feel to have to turn sideways when passing through doorways and if you want to create a dynamic and dramatic silhouette then you really need wide shoulders to start taking up more space.
Unfortunately, shoulder width is largely a matter of genetics. You have a ‘frame’ that is your bone structure and your muscles are simply slabs on top of this. If you don’t have a wide frame, there’s very little you can do about this. Muscle is highly adaptable but your bone – the scaffolding that holds it all in place – is not.
So is that it then? Is there nothing you can do to get more width?
Fortunately not. It turns out that there is a solution which is to increase those slabs of muscle strategically so that they add width on the side. This means building huge deltoids that will end up looking like tires on the sides of your arms. When done right, this can effectively be like having your own built-in shoulder pads.
Here’s the workout that can make that happen.
Front Side Raises
Side raises are the perfect and most simple exercise for targeting the side deltoids (lateral or medial deltoids). As the side deltoids are the ones on the outsides of your shoulders, it makes sense to target these first. Make sure not to use too heavy a weight and to increase the volume by doing more repetitions instead. This is the best way to encourage hypertrophy while avoiding injury.
Seated Dumbbell Press
Seated dumbbell presses are a fantastic compound movement for the shoulders. By using the side raises first, you’ll ensure that you really feel the side deltoids working during this movement. That’s handy because these are the ones that will give you the most extra width.
Standing Straight Bar Side Raise
This is a side raise but using a longer barbell. This is fantastic for the amount of balance it requires – excellent for targeting those smaller supporting muscles as well as for getting all three muscle heads to work out together (the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids). This also makes the straight bar raise particularly anabolic. That, and it’s just a slightly different movement that many shoulder workouts won’t include. Remember: different is always good!
Dumbbell Front Raise
For hitting the front (anterior) deltoids.
Standing Straight Bar Press
Moving back to a compound anabolic movement, the overhead bar press is a classic that belongs in every single shoulder workout.
Seated Dumbbell Rear Lateral
Rear laterals involve leaning slightly forward while seated on a weight bench and then raising the dumbbells up to your sides backwards as though flapping wings and trying to fly. This hits the posterior deltoids to complete that triad. Never forget these.
Angled Side Raise
Finally, end with side raises using a neutral grip. This alters the involvement of your shoulders in order to create excellent separation between the three deltoid heads. This workout is awesome for building wider shoulders but it’s also excellent generally as a shoulder workout that will give you definition and cannonball like size and strength.
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