Build Strong Shoulders and Traps With This Shoulder Workout

Are your shoulders the weakest part of your body? The uncomfortable truth is that a lagging shoulder area can never go unnoticed, so you need to stop whining about genetics and start building it ASAP.

Nothing symbolizes great strength and superior masculinity more than a pair of huge, sculpted shoulders – whether they admit it or not, most guys would gladly choose to have a pair of modestly sized arms and mighty, attention-grabbing shoulders rather than gigantic arms under a pair of flat delts.

Since we know how difficult constructing an efficient shoulder routine can be for most guys out there, we’ve created this ultra-powerful sample workout that will get those bad boys burning and stimulate maximal growth.

Seated side lateral raises

The fact that shoulder width is genetically determined for the most part doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with narrow shoulders for the rest of your life. In fact, you can build some serious width in your deltoid region by hitting the lateral part of it as hard as possible.

dumbbell lateral raise execution

Just remember to keep your lats flexed throughout the movement in order to better isolate your delts and force them to move the weight instead of the traps and you’re guaranteed to get a grueling shoulder workout.

How to perform it correctly:

– Sit on a flat bench and take a set of slightly lighter dumbbells
– Retract your shoulder blades and raise the weight up to shoulder height while keeping the arms straight
– Squeeze your muscles for a 2 second count at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weight

Perform 5 sets with 12-15 reps each.


Push presses

This move is a powerful variant of the conventional shoulder press that involves a bit more core work, but it’s definitely worth your time if you have both building strong shoulders and a bigger bench press among your goals. In addition, this unique lift will enable you to completely overload your delts like never before.

standing barbell shoulder press

How to perform it correctly:

-Start out with the bar in front rack position and your hands just outside of your shoulders or close enough to get your elbows under the bar and gain more leverage
-Keeping your shoulder blades retracted and your chest upright, begin to press the weight up, initiating the movement through the hips
-While pressing up, sink your hips a bit and jump under the weight to really power through the movement
-As you bring the weight overhead, the bar should be aligned directly over your center of mass
-After reaching the top of the movement, slowly lower the weight to the original position

Perform 4 sets with 8-10 reps each.

Rope face-pulls

Although considered a staple in powerlifting circles, this lift is severely underrated and underutilized in the general bodybuilding population. The rope face-pulls are a multi-functional move that can build your shoulders and improve their health, balance the shoulder joints and correct your overall posture.

Unfortunately, it’s very rare to see them being performed properly, so follow these instructions to maximize the effectiveness of this great exercise.

How to do it correctly:

-Attach a rope to a pulley station set at about chest level
-Grab both ends of the rope with an overhand grip
-With arms completely outstretched, step back and bend the knees slightly or even better, kneel on one leg
-Retract the scapula, squeeze the rotator cuff muscles and pull the weight towards your face
-Externally rotate your hands so the knuckles are facing the ceiling
-Hold for one second, then slowly return to the original position

Perform 4 sets with 15-18 reps each.

Cuban presses

The process of building huge, strong shoulders isn’t all about lifting heavy things – it’s also about maintaining optimal shoulder health. If shoulder injuries are on the top of your list of annoying setbacks in the gym, you’re very unlikely to achieve great development in these vulnerable muscles. And this is where the Cuban press comes into play.

image credit:

This move emphasizes the rotator cuff muscles, which are the weakest link in many lifters’ shoulders. Use it to build the integrity of your shoulder joints and strengthen the infraspinatus, the thick triangular muscle of the rotator cuff.

How to do it correctly:

-In a standing position, take a pair of relatively light dumbbells, using a pronated grip and raise your upper arms so that they’re parallel to the floor
-Externally rotate the shoulders and move the upper arms 180 degrees. Then, keeping the upper arms in place, rotate them until the wrists come directly above the elbows
-Using the traps to pull the weight up and then the rotator cuff muscles to raise the weight over the shoulder, press the dumbbells by extending the elbows and straightening the arms overhead
-Slowly return to the original position

Perform 4 sets with 12-14 reps each.


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