If you are looking to take your physique to the next level, one of the most important characteristics is massive boulder shoulders.
Your shoulder to waist ratio actually has a huge impact on your overall physique, and even your appearance to the opposite sex!
Much like a woman with a small waist and ample curves, having thick and massive boulder shoulders will give you an aesthetically pleasing build. This has literally been proven by attraction science, and even forms the basis for many of the most popular male workout programs.
The ratio of your shoulders to waist plays a huge role in male physique contests and forms the basis for what is commonly called “aesthetics.” You may have heard of “aesthetics” all over social media platforms like Instagram recently – and it basically means crafting the most “pleasant looking” physique possible. Basically to look like a cross between a chiseled Greek God and a world class fitness model.
The basis of the aesthetic physique is ripped abs and a muscular well-proportioned upper body with massive shoulders!
Now – even if you are not looking to compete or be the next top fitness model, we all can agree that having powerful and impressive looking deltoids is at the top of just about every guy’s list. This article is going to break down the ultimate guide to big shoulder,s and even give you a sample shoulder workout that will build your deltoids up in record time.
The most important aspect to sculpting large and impressive looking shoulders is that you are working all 3 heads of the deltoid muscles. This is where most guys fall short.
Most guys hit the medial portion of the deltoid (middle part) – but fall short when it comes to working the front and back heads of the deltoid muscles (anterior and posterior).
We are going to unveil the best exercises that work each section of your deltoids, but first let’s take a look at 5 crucial training principles that you must follow if you want to grow your delts quickly.
The 3 Rules to Boulder Shoulders Training
One of the biggest mistakes most guys make when training their shoulders is they do not put constant tension on the muscle. If you look at how bodybuilders and fitness models train it is very different than the average lifter at your local gym.
I have had the opportunity to train with many top bodybuilders and fitness models, and the one common thread I see with all of them is that they put a huge emphasis on keeping the muscle they are training under tension.
What actually builds the muscle is creating healthy micro tears during your training – and you will create a lot more healthy micro tears if you make sure you are keeping the deltoid under constant tension.
Take for instance a common shoulder exercise like the DB shoulder press. If you rest at the bottom and top of the repetition you are not going to create as many micro tears as keeping the weight in constant motion. Constant motion means that you are not locking out the weight at the top or bottom and resting for a few seconds.
Most guys are ego lifters and would rather throw up heavier weight than keep the muscle under tension – but if you are working out for your appearance and you want the fastest results in the shortest amount of time, you better check your ego at the door!
I have been in Gold’s Gym in Venice beach and seen some of the top bodybuilders in the world train deltoids – and they make damn sure to keep the weight under tension the entire time – even if that means performing less weight.
Continuous Overload Progression
One of the best things you can do to build any muscle group is to keep a workout log and track your weight and repetitions for each exercise.
Many guys do this on compound lifts like the bench press and dead lift, but if you want to grow a particular muscle group it is vital that you track your weight and repetitions on all lifts so you can continue to improve upon your previous workout.
If you have no idea how many weight or repetitions you performed on a given exercise from the last workout, you will not have a focused effort on maximizing your intensity each set.
When I step foot in the gym for my shoulder workout and I am performing DB Lat raises for example, I will check my workout log and see that I performed 9 repetitions at 30 lbs on my heavy set last workout. This will drive me to increase my weight to 35 lbs or get to 10 reps.
This forms the basis of continuous overload progression. The stronger you get each week and the more you push yourself past your comfort zone, the faster your results will come.
Switch up your Training Frequently
If you want to grow your shoulders quickly, you have to constantly switch up your training regimen. Maybe one week you are working out your deltoids with your traps, and the next week you are working them on arm day. The next week you might blast your shoulders on back day. The point is that you can’t keep following the same boring split and expect awesome results.
Not only should you switch up the muscle groups you train with your deltoids, but you should also be switching up your rest times, exercises, order you perform certain exercises, and even training frequency.
Don’t be afraid to test the status quo and try something different. One of my fastest delt growth periods was when I was performing deltoid exercises 3-4 times per week. I would dedicate an entire workout to one section of my deltoids so I broke down the maximum amount of muscle, and gave my body the ability to grow back bigger and stronger expeditiously.
The Ultimate Boulder Shoulders Workout Routine
This workout routine will sculpt and build up each section of your deltoid muscles. The end result is maximum aesthetics and an impressive set of boulder shoulders!
Exercise #1: DB Shoulder Press
Target Area: Medial Deltoids
Repetition Range: 6-8
Rest Time: 75 Seconds
Description: This is the classic medial deltoid exercise but the main difference in the “boulder shoulders” variation is that you must keep constant tension on your deltoids throughout each repetition. This means that you are picking a weight that is heavy enough that you can only perform 6-8 repetitions but not so heavy that you can’t keep the weight in constant tension for each repetition. Keep your rest times around 75 seconds and you will create a great amount of healthy micro tears.
Exercise #2: DB Rear Deltoid Fly (seated)
Target Area: Posterior Deltoids (aka rear delts)
Repetition Range: 10-12
Rest Time: 60 Seconds
Description: The DB rear deltoid fly is my favorite posterior shaper. Doing it seated allows you to take the tension off of your back and legs, and put all of your emphasis on the posterior deltoids.
Start off with your legs kicked out and your arms hanging freely at your side. Your palms should be facing together as you hold the weight. As you extend straight up to the side of your body with both dumb bells at the same time rotate your wrists out for an extra squeeze on the rear deltoids.
Just like the Db Shoulder press this is an exercise that you want to keep under tension the entire time. Keep your repetitions slow and controlled and you will have some monster rear delts!
Exercise #3: Rear Delt Fly Machine(Slow Motion)
Target Area: Posterior Deltoids
Repetition Range: 8
Rest Time: 75 Seconds
Description: The rear delt fly machine is another awesome posterior shaper that hits your medial deltoids. To really get the most bang for your buck with this deltoid exercise perform your repetitions slow and controlled. This means you will be performing slow motion repetitions (3 seconds on the eccentric and concentric portion.)
Since this is a machine it is much easier to perform each repetition in slow motion so to speak because you don’t have to worry about controlling the free weight through gravity. It also places a lot less pressure on your joints.
Exercise #4: DB Arnold Press
Target Area: Anterior Deltoids
Repetition Range: 6-8
Rest Time: 75 Seconds
Description: The DB Arnold press is a fantastic exercise for isolating the often-overlooked anterior deltoids. This is the portion of your deltoid that pops out when you are looking at someone straight on.
This movement was made famous by Arnold himself, and is crucial for developing large and impressive boulder shoulders.
Exercise #5: 1 Arm DB Lat Raise
Target Area: Medial Deltoid
Repetition Range: 10-12
Rest Time: 45 Seconds
Description: This is one of my favorite exercises to end my deltoid workout with. I will usually perform these sets on very little rest time and go for the maximum deltoid pump.
I got the 1 arm version from physique competitor Sadik who won the first ever Arnold Classic physique competition. This guy has insane looking shoulders so I suggest you follow his lead!
To perform this exercise place the arm you are not using on a bench or stable object ahead of you about 3-4 feet off the ground. Start with the weight in the middle of your body with your palm facing in.
You are going to extend your arm outward with a slight bend in your elbow. Keep the weight under tension the entire time and perform your reps slow and controlled (see a theme here yet?).
Put these tips into action, and start growing your shoulders!