How To Build Big Shoulders – Arnold’s Top Tips

Big, perfectly rounded delts make good bodies look great. And strong, powerful shoulders make your good lifts even better! Learn how to train your shoulders more effectively with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s boulder shoulders routine!

Shoulders are one of those muscle groups which simply refuse to grow after some time of bodybuilding, as they quickly reach plateaus, diminishing your gains.

And what is worse, young and enthusiastic bodybuilders often fail to realize that shoulders are quite a complex body part and require more than the usual bunch of presses to be properly stimulated and pushed to grow.

So today we decided to share with you some training tips from the god of massive delts, Arnold Schwarzenegger. In his best days, no bodybuilder was as renowned as Schwarzenegger for his huge arms and thick, muscular delts.

But on the other hand, no bodybuilder trained as hard. And that’s one of the most important messages Arnold has for young bodybuilders: when it comes to shoulder training, don’t shy away from hard work.

To cope with the complex movement of the shoulder joints, delts consist of three heads: anterior, medial and posterior, or more commonly, front, side and rear.

This means that you need to incorporate a variety of movements into your shoulder training routine in order to maximally attack all three heads of the muscle group.

And that’s why Arnold, a known advocate for high volume training, prefers to train his shoulders and traps with more sets, going for as many as 30-50 three times per week. Check out his routine for stellar shoulder gains below!

Arnold’s Boulder Shoulders Workout

Arnold usually starts his shoulder routine with presses. In his experience, seated military press are one of the basic shoulder exercises and he has done countless of them over the years, both to the front and to the back of his neck.

He states that both versions work well for developing the side heads, and he would often alternate between the two during each workout.


If you need some more variety and intensity, throw in some Arnold presses at the beginning of your routine. To do Arnold presses, begin with the dumbbells in front of your shoulders, with your palms facing you, then push up while rotating the dumbbells outward so that your palms face away from you at the top of the movement.

After presses, Arnold typically performs raising movements, such as lateral raises to further exhaust the side heads of the delts, front raises to develop the front heads and bent raises, which mostly stress the rear delts.

To add variety, try lying dumbbell raises and incorporate cables in your routine. When it comes to the traps, these are Schwarzenegger’s winners: upright rows, power cleans and shrugs. He usually finishes his shoulder training with one of the tree.


With the right amount of smart exercising anyone can build big shoulders. Remember that and don’t be afraid to train your shoulders to the max. Below you’ll find Arnold’s shoulder workout which is bound to give your shoulders a complete reboot with massive gains!


  • SEATED PRESS: sets: 5, reps: 6-10
    • superset with
    • LATERAL RAISES: sets: 5, reps: 8
  • MACHINE PRESS: sets: 5, reps: 8
    • superset with
    • BENT LATERALS: sets: 5, reps: 8
  • UPRIGHT ROWS: sets: 5, reps: 10
    • superset with
    • CABLE ONE ARM LATERAL RAISE: sets: 5, reps: 10

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