Introduction

Most of the time you spend in the gym when bodybuilding – leg day aside – you will be working your deltoids as a secondary muscle group because they almost always come into play to assist any upper body movements.

Add to that the days you dedicate to directly targeting your shoulders and they actually receive more attention overall than any other body part during in your weekly training routine.

Well rounded, bulbous shoulders are highly sought after in the weightlifting world mainly because they are so important in creating an aesthetically pleasing physique.

Your shoulders are made up of 3 deltoid muscle heads and neglection of any of them can be highly detrimental to the look you want to achieve, which is why training them properly and strictly is a necessity.

Exercise selection is, of course, important when planning any session but beyond that, it is crucial to implement different techniques and keep your body guessing at all times to avoid hitting any stubborn plateaus.

Which is why below I will not only outline one of the most brutal and challenging shoulder workouts you will ever attempt to complete, but I will also discuss the best training methods to use whilst performing each set.

No matter how hard you train your chest, back and arms, for a complete-upper body with depth and perfect symmetry it is vital to give your shoulders proper attention, which you will learn how to do to maximum effect below.

So without further ado, let’s get started with a bit more about incorporating advanced training methods.

Drop sets and supersets with shoulders

Perhaps the two most effective training techniques to implement during a shoulder session are drop-sets and supersets, purely because both methods require you to push yourself to the limit and incorporate more than one muscle group.

The basic premise of a drop set is to start with a heavy load for one complete set, before dropping down to a lower weight and performing another. This is perfect on a shoulder press machine in particular, as you can either remove weights on a plate loader or decrease the workload quickly by pulling out the pin using a conventional pin loader.

Either way is fast and allows you to push to total failure without rests in between, thus maximizing the damage you can cause to your muscle fibers.

Supersets are similar in the way they force you to go beyond your usual limits, but the crucial difference is that you must perform 2 different exercises back to back when using this technique.

For example, if you start out with a set of ten lateral raises, upon completion of your last rep you would then go straight into a different movement – such as a front raise – and then perform that exercise for another set before finishing.

The beauty of this method is that you can target multiple muscle groups per set, which is perfect when training shoulders for making sure that you are hitting all the heads of your deltoids.

Of course, there are several other different training systems to use in the gym in order to vary your routine, which I highly recommend you research in addition to the two I have mentioned here. However, for targeting your shoulders specifically, I have found drop-sets and supersets to be the most effective in building lean muscle mass quickly and efficiently.

It is also important to note that your shoulder joints can be very fragile and therefore easily injured, so always make sure you warm up properly before each session and perform your exercises using the correct technique at all times.

The Ultimate shoulder session

Below I will describe in detail a shoulder session designed to effectively hit all 3 heads of the shoulder and tear your muscles fibers sufficiently to create an environment for significant growth.

Include this example in your monthly regime but do not follow it rigidly week in week out; the best way to train is to constantly change the stimulus of your workouts, so simply mix and match different elements and find out what works best for you.

Once you are sufficiently warmed up and ready, start working your way through this:

DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS – DROP SETS

  • Set up a bench at a 90-degree angle and pick a challenging weight which falls somewhere between 60-80% of your one rep maximum and place the dumbbells in front of you.
  • Additionally, pick another set of weights which is 10-20% lower in terms of difficulty and place them on the floor too. Either use a spotter to help you or carefully push the first set weights up to shoulder level by yourself and push up into the air to complete one rep. Descend in a slow and controlled manner until you come down to a 90-degree angle and push up again, repeating this process for 6-8 repetitions.
  • Upon completion of your first lot of reps, switch to the lower set of dumbbells and repeat the same process.
  • Perform this exercise in the same fashion for 4 complete sets, resting in between full sets for 60 seconds.

MILITARY PRESS & REAR DELT FLYS – SUPERSETS

  • Grab a barbell with a weight you can manage for between 6-8 reps and pick up two relatively low weight dumbbells to place on the floor in front of you.
  • Either sitting down on a flat bench or standing up, bring the barbell up to rest on the top of your chest and make sure you are grasping the bar shoulder width apart.
  • Push the weight up and fully extend without locking out your elbows, before slowly bring the barbell back down to your chest.
  • Repeat for 6-8 reps then pick up the dumbbells straight away and adopt a bent over pose whilst maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Raise the dumbbells up so that your elbows come level with your shoulders and bring them back down to the side of your body slowly for one full rep. Repeat for 8-10 reps.
  • Perform these exercises in the same fashion for 4 complete sets, resting in between full sets for 60 seconds

SHOULDER PRESS PLATE LOADED MACHINE – DROP SETS

  • Set yourself up on this machine with a weight somewhere between your 60-80% 1RM and make sure that you position the seat so that the handles are positioned in line with your chest.
  • Perform 6-8 strict reps, bringing the weight down to your chest before pushing up and stretching out without locking out your elbows.
  • Get up and remove at least 5kg from the weight load each side, use a spotter to assist you to make the process even quicker.
  • Push out another 10 repetitions and continue to focus on correct form.
  • Perform this exercise in the same fashion for 4 complete sets, resting in between full sets for 60 seconds.

CORNER SINGLE ARM SHOULDER PRESS & FRONT RAISES – SUPERSETS

  • Position an Olympic bar into the corner of a squat rack and angle it out at about 45 degrees, before adding a weight you will be able to lift above your head with one hand for 6-8 reps.
  • Bring the bar up so that it rests at the midpoint between your chest and shoulder and keep your wrist straight.
  • Push the bar out in front of you and above your head, before slowly descending back to your starting position.
  • After you have completed 6-8 reps, drop the bar slowly and then straight away pick up a 10 or 20kg plate to hold out in front of you.
  • Raise the plate up until your elbows are at shoulder level and slowly bring the weight back down to the bottom.
  • Repeat for another 10 reps.
  • Perform this exercise in the same fashion for 4 complete sets, resting in between full sets for 60 seconds.

ARNOLD PRESS – DROP SETS

  • Set yourself up just as you did for the shoulder press at the start of the session but choose a weight about 10kg lighter.
  • The upward phase of the exercise is identical to the shoulder press, so simply push the weight up above you again and make sure not to lock out your elbows.
  • In the downward phase of the movement slowly rotate the dumbbells inwards as you come down, until finally at the bottom of the movement your palms are facing your body.
  • Rotate the weights back up to their original position and repeat for 6-8 reps.
  • Upon completion, grab a lighter set of dumbbells and follow the exact same protocol for 10 reps.
  • Perform this exercise in the same fashion for 4 complete sets, resting in between full sets for 60 seconds

Remember this particular workout example is an advanced and punishing form of training and should not be attempted by anyone new to the gym or unfamiliar with proper weight lifting techniques.

Summary

There you have it, the ultimate shoulder workout for you to try in the gym and incorporate into your weekly sessions on a regular basis for building mass quickly. 7 different exercises packed into a 5 stage routine which effectively targets all the muscles of the shoulder and forces them to work harder than ever before.

By overloading the muscle in this way you will shock your body into adapting to manage the workload, which will likely mean a huge gain in overall muscle size and strength. The techniques used in this particular routine are extremely popular in the bodybuilding world and can be used for any other muscle group too.

I promise you that after doing a session like this for the first time, you will leave the gym feeling more fatigued and sore than ever before, which is the best way for you to feel after any session of intense physical exertion.

You want to feel as though you’ve really put your body through the mill because only then will your body start to repair itself and change for the better.

Your first step to well rounded, monstrously crafted shoulders is here in this article and if you can regularly train at this high level to ensure that no part of your deltoids is overlooked, you will achieve your dream physique in no time.

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