Workouts to Get Bigger Shoulders

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “how can I do workouts to get bigger shoulders and get that cannonball shape?”  Fortunately it is not as difficult as you may think.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Photograph courtesy of

Many people go to the gym and put a huge emphasis on working out the chest and the arms but they fail to neglect other body parts like the shoulders.  It is very important to fully work on the shoulders for various reasons.  First of all it gives the arms great definition. Second, when they are well developed they pull your shoulders back and give you good posture and make your chest look bigger.  Third, when they are well developed you will avoid having injuries to the area.

So now that you know the advantages of working on this area we need to understand that the shoulders are not a simple muscle.  It is very common for a person to focus on just doing presses with a barbell or dumbbells.  The entire area is more complex than that and in order to have well developed shoulders you need to work them from every angle.

A shoulder is composed of the frontal (front) area, medial (middle) area, and rear deltoid.  It is important to give each area equal attention by having exercises that target each area specifically.  So if you want to get big shoulders it will take a good structured workout.

Sample workout:

  • Shoulder press:  perform these with a machine, dumbbells or barbell focusing on form and raising the weight slowly and bringing the weight down slowly.  The pace I recommend is a one second up and two or three seconds down.
  • Lateral raises:  these focus on the medial area.  Hold a pair of dumbbells at your side with a pretty light weight and raise the weights slowly until you reach shoulder level, pause for a second come down slowly again.
  • Upright rows:  grab a barbell, dumbbells or pulley attached to a cable.  Hold the bar or dumbbell below your waist with arms extended. Pull the weight up until the weight is at chest/ nipple level.  Bring the weight down slowly.  Perform using that 1-second up/ 2 or 3 second down pace.
  • Shrugs:  again hold a barbell, dumbbells or pulley below your waist with arms extended.  Simply shrug without bending the elbows, pause and lower the weight. Elbows should not lock.  Picture yourself trying to bring the shoulder muscles to your ears. Focus on the contraction when you shrug.
  • Bent over lateral raises:  sit on a bench or chair and hold a pair of light dumbbells in your hands.  Perform the same motion as if doing simple lateral raises.  In this case you will remain with your body bent down throughout the exercise. Look down at the floor as you do this.
  • Front raises:  easier to do with dumbbells.  Hold the weights below the waist and raise the dumbbells in a slow and controlled motion to shoulder level either one at a time or both together.  Again use the 1-second up/ 2 or 3 second pace.

Do this workout for 4 sets and 8 to 10 repetitions each set.  You should be able to see results in a few weeks.