Improve Shoulder Size and Strength With This 4 Week Protocol

Having a pair of strong and symmetrical shoulders is crucial in building a balanced V-shaped torso, as they create the illusion that your waist line is narrower. Strong and developed shoulders will also help you in performing other exercises, because they are involved in almost every compound movement aimed at upper body development.


The deltoids consist of three heads (front, medial and rear head), and if you want to avoid their underdevelopment you need to pay ample attention to all three of them. Underdeveloped shoulders do not only reflect negatively on the overall aesthetics of your physique. As they are involved in many of your upper body exercises (the bench press for example), weak shoulders can also hinder the development of your chest and back muscles.


In this article we’re providing you with a four week program that will help you fix or avoid the problem with weak shoulders The program has been created by combining the powerlifting and bodybuilding workout techniques and relies on progressive overload.


Anatomy of the deltoids

As we’ve already mentioned, the delts have three heads. Each of these heads performs a different function and can be hit with different exercises.

For example, the side delts are involved in abduction of the shoulders i.e. in side raising of your arms. We are going to work the lateral head with lateral raises and wide grip upright rows.

The rear delts are involved in lateral movement away from the midline of the body in a horizontal plane; moving the upper arm away from the chest with the elbows out to the sides. This is also known as transverse abduction of the shoulders. There are several exercises that hit this head. The incline rear lateral rise, cable face-pull are just some of them.

The front delts move your arms straight in front of you and over your head. This head is best hit with the front rise, the overhead press and upright rows.


The Four Week Shoulder Protocol

Muscle size and strength are a result of several processes. They are determined by the loads you are using, metabolic stress and microtrauma of the muscle fibers.

Squats, deadlifst, bench press and overhead press exercises in this workout protocol utilizes different number of sets and reps in the exercises for every week. All the other exercises are performed with the same number of sets and reps, but are done using drop sets, giant sets and rest-pause training.  Use straight bar when performing bench presses, squats or deadlifts.


Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets x 12 reps

Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press: 3 sets x 15–20 reps

Pullup*: 4 sets x 8–10 reps

Dumbbell Shrug: 3 sets x 20 reps

Face-pull: 3 sets x 20 reps

Triceps Pushdown**: 3 sets, 20 reps

Wide-grip Pushup***: 1 set, 100 reps

* Finish the set by holding your chin over the bar on the last rep. Try holding as long as possible.
** Perform the pushdown either with overhand or underhand grip.
*** The pushups should be performed by placing your hands on dumbbells wider than shoulder. Execute them using the rest-pause protocol, with rest periods of no longer than 20 seconds.


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