There’s no doubt that a thick, wide pair of shoulders on a guy draws attention to the eye. The image of strength and attraction is undeniably most men’s ideal. And ladies, whilst mass is not the desired aim, a nice sculptured shoulder line enhances a woman’s shape to no end.

So how do we get this? What’s the best workout routine for bigger stronger shoulders?

As I mentioned earlier shoulders are not exclusive to men, however it’s the men that tend to want the mass, the definition and the width. Ladies can still benefit from this information to improve or maintain the current condition of their shoulder.


The shoulder muscles

The shoulder is made of many muscles. I won’t name them all, I will divide them up into 2 sections.

We have the shoulder girdle and the shoulder joint.

When we talk about the girdle we are looking at the larger muscles like the trapezius and the upper pectorals. With the joint we look at the smaller muscles like the deltoids and rotator cuffs. We are probably looking at the most complex group of muscles in the body, when it comes to one single movement.

 Tips and techniques

Lift heavy (strength)

So we know that muscles respond to loads being applied to create adaptation. Lifting heaving is essential to stimulate growth, particularly in the larger muscles in the girdle filtering down to the front, side, and rear deltoids. Heavy lifting would be somewhere between 4-8 reps. My mass provoking choices are compound lifts that utilise the available muscles to perform the movement. They are:

Military Press

Shoulder Shrugs

Incline Chest Press

Upright Row

Clean and Press

best shoulder workout routine_2

Hypertrpohy (size and strength)

The joint muscles in the shoulder are smaller and are more complex in their function. When we train the muscles around the joints, we have to be wise with the choice of weight. A smaller fragile network of muscles can be easily injured with poor weight selection or movements that move the shoulder out of alignment.

Whilst we know heavy weights stimulates growth, we can also stimulate growth through increasing repetitions of a slightly lighter weight. In a previous article I wrote about the different types of fibres in our muscle and what they respond to. Working on a rep range of 8-12 we can work on the smaller joint muscles minimising the risk of injury. My choices here would be:

Lateral dumbell raises

Front barbell or dumbell raises

Reverse Fly

Seated shoulder press



You may find it boring or even think it a waste of time, but you should stretch. Due to the responsibility of this network of muscles, they are prone to injury, and contribute to poor posture and limit range of movement in the upper body. Stretching can help eliminate this and also improve performance as well as the aesthetics of the muscles. Add shoulder stretches during and post workout. Over time you will be impressed.

The formula

Everyone is at different stages in fitness. I believe that you should always keep your muscles guessing. Therefore I’d suggest hitting the heavy strength exercises first then move onto the hypertrophy exercises to finish. I don’t recommend you train shoulders more than 2 twice per week if you want to maximise rest and recovery.

You can either do a heavy day and a hypertrophy day or you can do both in the same day twice per week. On strength exercises work with rest periods between sets of 2-3 mins. On hypertrophy sets 45-60 seconds rest. I don’t need to mention nutrition as you should know that plays its part in the growth process. So make sure you are on point with that, if not there are plenty of article here to bring you up to speed.

Advanced formula

Perform the exercises with different lifting techniques such as negatives, super slow and super sets for a boost in anabolic activity. Only perform these when basic technique and fitness is at intermediate standard.

Benefits for male and female

This is not just for men! Ladies don’t be scared about turning into a man, it’s not possible unless you start taking male hormones. This will shape and sculpt your shoulders without unwanted mass. Summertime is coming and those vest tops and bikinis need some shoulders to strap onto.

Add these tips to your workout to help you on your quest for better sexy shoulders. You cannot lose.

We can’t reinvent the wheel but we can spin it differently.

Try these exercises in any order you’re comfortable with until you find your fit. However my advice would be to do the heaviest thing first.

For more shoulder building exercises connect with me also share this with your friends.

Connect here with Expert Lovell Richards

WatchFit Experts change lives!

And they can do the same for you.


Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans