The Best Shoulder Exercises for Building Mass

Shoulder exercises mass

Unlike leg or chest day, shoulder day isn’t usually the first workout on most gym-goers workout schedules. But neglecting a shoulder workout is done so at peril. Not only does building mass on your shoulders help carve out the desired V-shape, also, if put to the test, but the gains can also come quicker than any other area. They can also aid in the maintenance and development of other areas of the body.

As was found out by Karolinska Hospital’s Department of Orthopedics, when they tested patients with recurring shoulder dislocations. They found that when these patients trained various shoulder muscles they were relieved from pain and the number of their dislocations reduced significantly.

With this in mind, we thought it’d be good to take you through some of the best shoulder exercises to build some shoulder mass Dwayne Johnson would be proud of.

The 5 Best Shoulder Exercises

As IFBB Pro competitor and owner of some of the fitness world’s most famous shoulders, Ryan Terry says ““Always look at your deltoids as three different muscles.” “You’ve got anterior [front], posterior [back] and medial [side]. A lot of people just do pressing motions, which won’t hit every part of the delt. You need compound moves to start with, like a barbell press. But then you need to split things up.”

In terms of how often Terry likes to train shoulders, he sticks with the traditional style of muscle gaining “I work on a six day bodybuilding-style split. Five days for each individual muscle part, then the sixth day for a certain muscle group I’m trying to improve. If your shoulders need work, hit them twice a week, with three-four days in between to recover.”

Barbell Overhead Press

Why do it?

Some describe this one as a powerhouse. It makes the perfect first exercise as it not only works your shoulders, but works your legs, core and your arms. PT and osteopath James White, tells Men’s Health “These are really good for strengthening your core and increasing overall strength due to the stability aspect of this movement.”

Sets

1 warm up set 18-20 reps
4 sets of 8-10 reps

How to do it?

Stand shoulder width apart, grab your barbell with an overhand grip and lift to rest at the top of your chest/shoulders. From this position, lift the bar upwards and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top, then lower slowly.

Lateral Raise

Why do it?

The lateral raise is one of the most common exercises to be done wrong at the gym. What’s supposed to be a precise isolation exercise, people cheat by moving their hips along with it to gain momentum. Mainly due to picking a weight they can’t lift.

Although getting the correct form is something a lot of people neglect, don’t be dissuaded. Lateral raises are actually one of the best exercises you can do for your mid delts, an area that a lot of people struggle to build strength in.

Sets

1 warm up set 12-15 reps
4 sets of 10-12 reps

How to do it?

Standing shoulder width apart with a pair of dumbbells in hand. Making sure your chest and shoulders are upright. Raise the dumbbells out to your side without using any momentum. Raise them until you reach shoulder level and then slowly lower the dumbbells in the same path your raised them.

Single Arm Cable Front Raise

Why do it?

One of the most effective exercises to build mass on your shoulders. Here, your anterior delt (the front of your shoulder) takes the full load, which sometimes gets overlooked when looking to build out those big shoulders. Using the cable also gives you continuous tension which means it never stops working from top to bottom.

(It is important to note that if your workout is already press heavy, it might be better to prioritise lateral raises).

Sets

1 warm up set 12-15 reps
4 sets of 10-12 reps (per arm)

How to do it?

Here you’ll need one of the cable machines and a single and a D shaped grip. Standing with your back to the cable and shoulder width apart, grab the grip with one hand. Ensuring your knees are slightly bent, back is flat and chest elevated raise the cable straight out in front of you until your arm is level with your shoulder. Hold for one second and then slowly lower your arm to the starting position.

Pec Deck Rear Fly

Why do it?

The rear fly on the pec dec is one of the most effective workouts for the rear of your deltoids. And using the pec dec machine actually isolates them, so you don’t need to put too much weight on.

Sets

1 warm up set 12-15 reps
4 sets of 10-12 reps

How to do it?

Ensure the handles are set to the rear of the machine. Sit facing the machine, grab the handles with your palms facing inwards and push your arms outwards until they’re almost level with your back, returning with control.

Dumbbell Shrugs

Why do it?

The ultimate exercise to build some traps that Jason Statham would be proud of. Ryan Terry states here “on this exercise you can choose a heavier weight as you’re not moving the dumbbells through a particularly challenging range of motion.” But if you do find your arms or calves becoming involved, it might be wise to move down to a lower weight.

Sets

4 sets of 10-12 reps

How to do it?

Bending your knees to pick up the dumbbells, lift them to your hips and rest. Lift and shrug your shoulders up at the same time, squeezing when they get to the top and then return back slowly. A rule of thumb is 2 seconds up and 4 down.

If you are looking to add mass to your shoulders, it’s important you make sure you’re eating correctly. Our muscle gain meal plans are expertly crafted to make sure you’re getting all the macro’s you need to succeed.