Shoulders are extremely important, not only for aesthetic reasons – hey, what guy doesn’t want broad shoulders? – But for reasons of power and safety. Shoulder injuries are common among players of all kinds of sports, and even people who don’t partake in sports, and strong shoulder muscles can prevent this. With big, strong shoulders, it’s win-win.
To get them is simple and I’ll tell you precisely how in just a moment, but first, you need to understand a little of the shoulders anatomy.
The shoulder muscles are comprised of three heads, and those heads are known as the deltoids. You have a front deltoid (anterior), a rear deltoid (posterior) and side deltoid (lateral or medial).
For maximum shoulder development – and I even go so far as to say ‘safe’ shoulder development, you need to develop all three heads equally. I say safe because, if the deltoid muscles aren’t built in fairly good proportion and you have an imbalance in the shoulder with some muscles being more powerful than others, this can give you susceptibility to injuries.
Now, let’s see what exercises you need to use to build your shoulders:
For front deltoid development, you can do no better than to do some kind of front press. This could be a military press, or even a bench press. Personally, I believe the military press to be superior because it takes the pectorals out of the movement so more emphasis is shared with the front deltoid and the triceps.
Just as you may do a bench press for front deltoid development, the opposite movement to that would be a bent over row, which targets the back but also the rear deltoids, and is my favourite rear deltoid exercise. Another good one is the rear dumbbell lateral raise, which is the same as a lateral dumbbell raise but the lifter is bent over at the waist so the body is parallel to slightly above parallel to the floor, and the dumbbells are lifted upwards to the side, causing the rear deltoids to do the lifting. Once you’ve got the sometimes-awkward technique to this lift correct, you’ll really benefit great from it.
My favourite exercise for the side deltoids is the upright barbell row, which I always perform with a wide grip, slightly bent forward at the hip, and bring the bar up to my nipples or slightly below. I find I can lift a great amount of weight this way and built decent side deltoids before I even tried any other side deltoid exercise. Another great exercise is the dumbbell lateral raise.