3 Exercises to Get Shoulders the Size of Boulders

By a raise of hands, who loves working their shoulders? Nothing makes others think “he means business” like a nice pair of shoulders!  Before every guy and his uncle praise the bench press, the shoulder press (also called overhead press) was originally the ruler of upper body exercises.  Until 1972, the shoulder press, along with snatch and clean & jerk, was tested at the Olympic weightlifting contest. Due to participants continuously using bad form (i.e., bending their back excessively to lift the weight), they removed the lift from the competition.

By removing the lift, this kind of left a bad taste in the mouth of the bodybuilding and powerlifting world; thus, a lot of bodybuilders start comparing their strength based on the bench press. Since then, more and more “wannabe” bodybuilders ignore the benefits of the shoulder press in pursuit of being the bench press king. While the bench press is an effective exercise, just with anything else in life, doing too much of it is bad for you, especially for your shoulders. I bet a lot of you right now have (or had) to deal with a bum shoulder due to doing the beloved bench press too much. Well, today is a new day because the shoulders press along with 2 other shoulder-building exercises will be the one getting the royal treatment! So let’s discuss these 3 shoulder-building exercises!

1. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

Image courtesy: Evolve Gym

As previously mentioned, before the bench press, this was the ruler of upper body exercises. That make sense because think about this: In the real world, will your strength likely be tested by lifting something overhead or on your back lifting something up? I thought so. When it comes to body-building, performing lifts that simulates real-world actions deliver the best results. In addition, doing real-world exercises like the standing barbell shoulder press hits a multitude of muscles. Besides the shoulders, this exercise also targets the abs, triceps, lower back, traps, serratus and upper thighs; thus, this movement basically engages your entire body. So if you are serious about not only building shoulders that resemble (and feel like) boulders but a proportional physique as well, then this exercise is for you.

2.  Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Image courtesy : Pinterest

While not a real-world functional lift like standing barbell shoulder press, the seated dumbbell shoulder press builds the shoulders tremendously! By being seated while using dumbbells, you get to focus that tension specifically on your shoulder muscles. This exercise is a must to include if you are serious about people confusing your shoulders for boulders!

3.  Pike Push-Ups

Image Courtesy : hiitacademy

While attending a gym is a great way to get in shape and build your shoulders, it is not the end all, be all to do so. So whether you are on the road or bad weather forbids your trip to the gym, there are always exercises you can do with your own bodyweight to get the job done. With that said, pike push-ups is a great bodyweight movement for building your shoulders. In addition, its work your abs like crazy! A word of caution when performing pike pushups: Please stop doing these when you feel you can only complete 2 more reps. I don’t need you getting a concussion because of my advice to be on my conscious.

So now that you armed with 3 effective exercises to “shoulder” the load, here is how you can include them in your workout regimen. Below is a sample shoulder workout of someone who has a 1 Rep Max (1RM) of 155lb standing barbell shoulder press. You will divide that number by 2 to find 1RM for the seated dumbbell shoulder press. Be sure to find your own 1RM max for standing barbell shoulder press in order to find what weight you need to use per exercise. Be sure to use a slow lifting tempo and good form for each exercise.  Rest between 2-3 minutes per set.

  Exercise        Sets  Reps       Weight
1. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 3 8-12 110 lb (70-75% of 1 RM)
2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 12-15 50 lb (65% of 1 RM)
3. Pike pushups 4 10* Bodyweight

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Remember to stop the set if you feel you can only complete 2 more reps.

By: Marcus Woods