10 tips for building an awesome set of shoulders

Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter

Building an awesome set of shoulders isn't as simple as doing a few dumbbell presses and a few lateral raises. If you really want to grow you have to put thought and planning into your programme design. So here's some things you might not have considered in your quest to achieve your own set of boulders:

1. You only know one or two exercises variations. How about you use, single arm variations, cable variations, side lying on an incline bench, leaning and even wide grip barbell upright rows.

2. You think just because sloppy technique works for your favourite bodybuilder, that it'll work for you too.

3. You use momentum through each rep and fail to achieve maximal tension and peak contraction.

4. You forget that they're actually a very small muscle group, so they're not going to get super strong. This is the reason why there is no need to keep working your way up the weight stack.

5. You flex at the elbow joint on the way up. All this is doing is making the exercise easier and forcing your shoulder joint into internal rotation. You're more inclined to use your traps if this happens.
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6. You perform the lateral raise as a straight set every workout. In my experience the lateral heads respond well to being train in the presence of lactic acid. This is why I like to use tri and giant sets from time to time. Adding in more volume is a great way to get your shoulders to grow.

7. You don't use more than two lateral raise exercises per workout. If your shoulders need to grow, you have to throw more at them. There is nothing wrong with training the same muscle group from different angles in one workout.

8. You stick to 8 - 10 reps each set. Hows about you work through a range of reps. Week one, 8 - 10, week two 10 - 12, week three 12  - 15 and then back to week one.

9. You lean back when you perform the exercise. Not only does this tell me that the weight is too heavy for you, you also transfer the load to your anterior delts.

10. You train your shoulders once per week. If you need a muscle group to develop at a quicker rate, you have to expose it to more frequency. So for most people I would include shoulder work twice and even three times per week.

What does a structured shoulder workout look like?

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