To build big shoulders, workouts need to be tough, demanding and bring about a process called 'hypertrophy'. This is when muscles are broken down and damaged during repetitive weight training and grow back stronger and larger than before. To avoid over training, keep shoulder workouts to a maximum of two per week, resting at least 48 hours between workouts. The shoulders are one of the most easily injured muscle groups so it is important to listen to the body and not overdo things.
At the same time, it is important to reach muscle failure regularly when training shoulders to stimulate hypertrophy and therefore growth. High repetitions of relatively low weights will give a good, strong muscular pump, driving blood cells and nutrients to the muscles.
Understanding the Anatomy of the Shoulder Muscles to Build Big ShouldersThe major muscles that make up the shoulders are the deltoids, trapezius, infraspinatus and, to a lesser degree, the triceps. These muscles need to be worked hard to encourage them to grow. A good training programme would look like this:
- 5-10 minute warm up
- Barbell overhead press - 5 sets of 12-15 repetitions
- Pullups - 3 sets of 8 reps
- Dumbell shrugs - 5 sets of 12-15 reps
- Tricep dips - 5 sets of 12 reps
Rest for one minute between sets and one minute between different exercises. This will keep the intensity high and the metabolism fired up. Try to reach failure on the last set for each exercise, using a spotter where necessary to ensure safe lifting.
For the barbell overhead press, load a bar up with a fairly light weight: 60 percent of 1 rep maximum. Press it explosively overhead and lower slowly. Don't lock out the arms at the top of the movement to keep the tension on muscles and off the joints.
When doing dumbbell shrugs, keep the arms straight and try to shrug the shoulders up to the ears, tensing at the top then relaxing slowly, lowering the weights.