Much like having big arms or a thick and powerful chest make people’s heads turn when you walk down the street, having round and powerful shoulders show that you lift and are sure to impress anyone who meets you for the first time. Having well developed shoulders not only help the look of your physique but how you perform as an athlete as well. Shoulders play a role in pressing as well as pulling so your chest and back exercises will benefit from your attention to your deltoids. Enough small talk. Let’s get to clanging and banging.
Importance of Warming Up
When it comes to shoulders, many people fail to pay any attention to the rotator cuffs but this is crucial not only for warming up but for the long term health of your shoulders. As your shoulders get stronger, the rotators actually can get weaker so it’s important to start your workout with something to target the rotators, get blood flowing to the shoulders, and force the joints to produce synovial fluid for lubrication.
Two exercises that are easy and quick to do only require light dumbbells. Hold the upper arms to your sides and hold the dumbbells with elbows bent, Using force from your shoulder area and keeping your upper arms in place, extend your forearms so the weights are to your sides. Slowly return them to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 reps. Next, bring your upper arms up so the elbows are even with the shoulders. Keep your elbows bent. Your arms should look like L’s that are parallel with the floor. Keeping your arms in this position, rotate your shoulders so your forearms and dumbbells go up towards your head. At the top it should look like you’re doing a biceps pose with the weights in your hand. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 more reps. Do these exercises twice each with a minute rest in between and you should be ready to go.
Standing Barbell Press
This isn’t an exercise you see bodybuilders doing much nowadays but it was a very common exercise back in the days of Arnold, Zane, Franco, and the other legends of that era to do for front delts. Position yourself at a squat rack with the bar at shoulder height. Unrack it so the bar is in front of you and your holding it with an overhand grip a little wider than shoulder width apart. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed ahead or slightly out, and a soft bend in the knees. Using force from your shoulders, press the bar up and over your head. When you feel the triceps taking over, stop and lower the bar slowly back to the starting position. This will keep constant tension on the shoulders. Warm up with a light set of 20 reps followed by three heavy sets of 6-8 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between each set.
One Arm Lateral Raise
Now we will focus on the side head of the shoulders. We’re going to use dumbbells and perform these one arm at a time so we can focus on each side individually. Grab a dumbbell and stand with the weight at your side at arms’ length, Hold on to a wall or rack that will not move to insure stability. Lift the weight straight out to your side while keeping the arm as straight as possible. Once your arm reaches parallel with the floor, twist the weight slightly so your pinky is higher than your thumb. This adds emphasis to the movement. Lower the weight back to the starting position. Repeat for 8-10 reps per side, rest for 10 seconds, and try to get a few more reps. Next, switch arms and do the same. You’ll do three sets like this with 90 seconds rest between each set.
Upright Row and Rear Lateral Raise
For the rear delts, we’ll do supersets which are two exercises performed in a row without rest. First will be upright rows. Grab a light barbell and hold it with an overhand grip wider than shoulder width. Keeping the bar close to your body, pull the bar straight up until it passes your nipple line at your chest. The elbows should come straight up. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position and repeat for 15 reps. Immediately set the bar down and pick up your dumbbells. Bend over at the waist until your body makes a 90 degree angle. Hold the dumbbells at arms’ length in front you with an overhand grip. Keeping your arms straight, lift the weights out to your sides until they are parallel with the floor. Slowly return the weights to the starting position and repeat for 15 more reps. You will rest for 90 seconds between each superset.
With that said, below you will get to see what the superhero shoulder workout looks like:
SUPERHERO SHOULDER WORKOUT
• Rotator Cuff Warm Ups – 2 sets of 10-12 reps each with one minute rest between each set.
• Standing Barbell Press – 1 warm up set of 20 reps. 3 work sets of 6-8 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between each set.
• One Arm Lateral Raise – 3 work sets of 8-10 reps each with rest pauses and more reps to failure. Rest for 90 seconds after each rest-pause set.
• Superset: Upright Row & Rear Lateral Raise – 3 supersets of 15 reps each with 90 seconds rest between each superset.
So remember that in order to have superhero shoulders you need to pay equal attention to all the heads that comprise the shoulder muscles. Try this routine out and in no time you will have the superhero look that you are looking for. Best of luck with your program!
About the Author
Roger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.
Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.