Home Workouts Top Full Shoulder Workouts for Mass: Dumbbells, Cable, Barbell, Kettlebell

Top Full Shoulder Workouts for Mass: Dumbbells, Cable, Barbell, Kettlebell

Posted by admin in Workouts Category. Reviewed and Updated: 8 May, 2018

If you are fond of bodybuilding and want big and round delts, you need to read this article. Below we will tell you about the physiology of the shoulder muscles and what are the best exercises to make your deltoids bigger without using anabolic steroids, such as testosterone propionate.

Introduction to Full Shoulder Workout


No matter how huge your biceps or legs are. Your figure will not be complete if you do not have well-developed shoulder muscles. If you are interested in this, you can see early photos of the famous bodybuilder Greg Plitt (he died a few years ago during the shooting of advertising). He had a great physical shape. He had a delightful torso and excellent Abs (read more about the full training of abdominal muscles) and large arms, but he lacked the shoulders. He knew this, so for several years of hard training he managed to achieve good results and get a good form of shoulders.

Unfortunately, all those who say that building big shoulders is a simple task, are liars. Working on the shoulders requires a lot of dedication and patience. Therefore, you should be ready to fight in the gym at 100% only then you will be able to achieve incredible results.

So we believe that before reading about full shoulder workout you need to first get a little acquainted with the anatomy of the shoulders so that you understand what load you need to give and what to focus your attention during training.

Anatomy of the Shoulder

The shoulder consists of three parts / heads, which are also known as deltoids. There are three types of deltoids:

  • The Anterior Head;
  • The Lateral Head;
  • The Posterior Head;

It is very important to evenly develop all three deltoid because even if one of them lags behind others it will not look good. Usually the middle and rear delta require increased work and require separate training for these muscle groups. The front part can usually be improved with the help of other basic exercises such as bench press on day of the chest. Everyone wants to get a beautiful chest. However, a press of dumbbells or a barbell on the chest does not give the necessary load on the two rear deltoid heads and in people who do not complete the exercises for these groups of deltoid muscles separately, mid and rear delts usually lag behind the rest of the muscle group.

Basics of Effective Shoulder Workout for Mass

There are two big mistakes that people make when they do shoulder workout for mass. The first one is that they focus on the non-correct exercises for the shoulders. Many visitors to the gym do a lot of exercise on the machines and pay a lot of attention to isolation exercises. However, these types of exercises are not key and critical for the shoulders. The second mistake of persons is that some of them focus on high-rep exercises. Well, this mistake concerns not only the shoulders, but also many other muscle groups. But it is especially critical if you are training a small muscle group such as the shoulders. This means that if you do hundreds of repetitions using dumbbells, you will not get bigger muscles. You might think that we are kidding you because you probably saw some kind of fitness bodybuilder who performs 1000 repetitions during shoulder training and has incredibly developed and wide shoulders. So what’s the secret? Most likely he uses illegal anabolic steroids and growth hormone. He just makes a couple injections of testosterone enanthate regularly or takes oral steroids. We know this may sound cynical and wrong but it’s true. And if you start taking the proper steroids, you completely change the game in the gym. You can do many, many repeated exercises every day and continuously and your muscles will grow better and better. Generally speaking, if you use steroids, such as Primobolan and testosterone enanthate, as well as HGH, focusing on high-repetitive exercises is usually recommended.

But we should note that although steroids improve muscle growth and make the muscles bigger, they usually do not help the joints and ligaments to keep pace with this growth so the large weights during the steroid cycle can be too large for your connective tissues. Also, many people have noticed that steroids have a particularly pronounced effect on the shoulders. This is due to the fact that in the shoulders there are many androgen receptors that respond to the actions of some hormones including anabolic ones. Therefore, if a person takes large doses of anabolic steroids, his / her shoulders begin to grow very rapidly and reach incredible even peak sizes.

But be sure, you can get large shoulder muscles without anabolic steroids. (If you certainly want to get a faster effect you can use steroids but you should know that their use is associated with the risks of some side effects of steroids).

Main Rules or Full Shoulder Workout

So you decided to gain huge shoulder mass with heavy exercises without the help of anabolic steroids. It will take more time and more strength and more patience. Here are the main rules which you should follow:

  • Rule No 1 – focus on the big weights during your working out. If you want to build up large muscles, you need to do 4 to 7 repetitions at a time (per one set).
  • Rule No 2 – focus on well-known exercises that allow you to receive progressive overload without the risk of injury. This is the main rule of bodybuilders and powerlifters who do not use anabolic steroids. If you do not get stronger, you do not become bigger.

A critical rule for the natural grow of the shoulder muscles is a progressive overload which allows for the addition of additional weight on the dumbbells or barbell with time. However, some exercises are unsuitable for progressive overloading (such as upright rows, which increase the risk of getting shoulder injury).

In addition to these two rules, you need to pay attention and the amount of exercises that you perform every week. The general principles are as follows. The more difficult the exercise and the bigger weight it features, the fewer repetitions you can make each week. Bigger weights require more time to recover which means that an athlete won’t be able to do too many repetitions per week without risk of overtraining. If you train with a weight of 80 to 85% of a one-rep maximum, the optimal rep quantity should be 60 to 70 repetitions a week. This goes for not only to the delts but also to other large muscle groups.

So we have already figured out the theory of doing exercises for shoulders now it’s time to move on to practice and understand what exercises you need to do in order to build large shoulders.

Shoulder Workouts with Dumbbells

Shoulder workouts with dumbbells are probably the most popular types of workouts for shoulders. This is due to the fact that they have high safety profile, and may be performed both in the gym and at home (if a person has dumbbells). You shoulder day can include the following exercises:

  • Palms-In Shoulder Press;
  • Palms-In Alternated Shoulder Press;
  • Seated Shoulder Press;
  • Back Supported Shoulder Press;
  • Lateral Raise.

Cable Shoulder Workouts

Gym rats often perform cable shoulder workouts as additional methods for improving the shoulder muscle definition. You know, cable machine is available in virtually every gym. You can use the following cable exercises on your shoulder day:

  • Upright Row;
  • Cable Shrug;
  • Lateral Raise;
  • Front Raise;
  • Kneeling External Rotation;
  • Standing Sideways External Rotation.

Barbell Shoulder Workout

Shoulder workouts with barbell are usually more difficult than those with dumbells. Also, they are associated with higher risk of getting an injury. Nevertheless, they are very effective. Here is an example of barbell shoulder workout:

  • Standing Military Press, warm-up, 4 sets, 8-10 reps;
  • Barbell Front Deltoid Raise, 4 sets, 8-10 reps;
  • Barbell Upright Row, 4 sets, 8-10 reps.

Kettlebell Shoulder Workout

Some athletes and CrossFit sportsmen prefer using kettlebells when training their shoulders. (You may be interested in steroids in CrossFit.) Kettlebell is an interesting equipment, which will allow you to get complex load on your shoulder muscles.

You can try the following exercises during your kettlebell shoulder workout:

  • Russian Kettlebell Swing.
  • Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing.
  • Two-Arm Kettlebell Row.
  • Kettlebell Figure-8.
  • Kettlebell Goblet Squat.
  • Kettlebell High Pull.
  • Kettlebell Lunge Press.
  • Kettlebell Sumo High-Pull.