To get big, shapely shoulders, you have to avoid one problem: You can’t get hurt. Unfortunately, the shoulder is one of the most vulnerable and oft-injured joints in the body, so while it might take a lot of reps to build the deltoids, you have to make sure you’re not straining the joint and small group of muscles all around the socket — namely, the rotator cuff — in the process.
This workout helps you build strength, flexibility and, yes, size in the shoulders, so not only can you carry some heavier weight overhead and improve that upper body-to-waist ratio, but also stay away from injury rehab.
Shoulder Strength and Stability
Warm-up flys: 10 laterally, 10 to the front. Use light weight — you’re just getting loose.
Standing overhead press: 4×6. Make sure to lock out your back to protect your spine by keeping your chest up and butt out. The bar should go no lower than your chin.
Lateral raises: 4×15. Grab some dumbbells and, keeping your arms completely straight and the pinkie side of the weights up, raise them to just slightly above parallel to the floor.
Front raises: 4x15e. Alternate arms as you change the angle of your shoulder and where the weight is, in front of you. Keep the dumbbell in front of your body the whole time, lifting it to about nose height. Concentrate on not swinging using your body’s momentum.
Rear delt/reverse pec deck: 4×15. Most pec deck machines allow you to sit in them “backward” and move the handles so you can target your rear delts.
Internal/External Rotation: 3×10, per arm. Stand at a cable machine with a light weight (5-15 lbs.) on the stack and the handle about chest-high. Keeping your right elbow pinned to your side and drawing your shoulder blades back, grab the handle and concentrate on using just your shoulder to rotate the handle inward, across your body. That is an internal rotation. After 10 reps and without switching your stance, switch to your left hand, and draw it outward, from your right side to your left. That is an external rotation. Rotate your body and perform the same action, switching hands.