Sunday, 17 May 2009

Big and Powerful Shoulders

We all want big and powerful shoulders that are boulder like in size and powerful in strength but it may seem strange to some of you to learn that big shoulders does not necessarily mean powerful shoulders.

For bodybuilders the shoulders are an important and integral part of achieving that X frame physique that all bodybuilders dream of achieving. While for powerlifters and olympic lifters the shoulders play a big part in helping to power their way to winning competitions as a secondary muscle group in some of their lifts.

The first part of building big shoulders is to ensure that you dont overload the weight your lifting so you keep good form and to ensure you train all muscles in the shoulder, including the rear Deltoid as mentioned previously in my bodybuilders big shoulders post.

The next part in building big and powerful shoulders is knowing what the different shoulder exercises achieve for you, some will build size while others will build power.

Building Shoulder Power

Using the heaviest weight you can to achieve the full sets with 5 reps minimum.

Barbell Shrugs (3 to 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps)
Barbell Upright Row (3 to 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps)
Standing Military Press (3 to 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps)

Building shoulder size

Use a lighter weight that will allow you to achieve the full amount of sets and minimum reps set out below, this would usually be around 65% of your one rep max.

Dumbbell Shrugs (3 sets of 10 to 12 reps)
Dumbbell Front Raise (3 sets of 10 to 15 reps)
Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise (3 sets of 8 to 12 reps)
Bent Dumbbell Lateral Raise (3 sets of 10 to 15 reps)
Military Press (3 sets of 8 to 12 reps)
Seated Arnie Press (3 sets of 8 to 12 reps)
Barbell Shrugs (3 sets of 8 to 12 reps)


I would suggest starting your shoulder session with the shoulder power exercises then moving to the shoulder size exercises to blast your shoulders into submission to promote size and power.

For me a typical workout would be 2 Power exercises followed by 3 Size exercises, this may be too much for you so find what is most comfortable. I suggest completing 1 power exercise and 3 size exercises to begin with.