The shoulders are a smaller muscle group with 3 heads, so the best shoulder workout has to hit all 3 together and separately. To hit the front delts, side delts, and rear delts with a view to building muscle, this workout will include 4 sets of 5 exercises each, performed as a superset followed by a triple set. It’s important to use proper form and weights light enough to make sure you focus on your shoulders and engage your chest and arm muscles as little as possible.
This workout can be done at your local commercial gym or just as easily at your home gym. Begin by positioning your bench so that your back is supported about 10-15 degrees below vertical; it should lean back slightly. Place the bench right in front of your grill so the bar is easy to lift when sitting.
Begin with a light warm-up set or two of seated shoulder presses; use the bar only or charge it lightly. Remember that the idea is to avoid pre-exhaustion of the muscles, but only to fill the area with blood and work the shoulders enough to warm them up. Make sure to use a full range of motion so that they stretch slightly as well.
Step one: shoulder superset
This best shoulder workout begins with a superset of seated shoulder presses and vertical rows. If your shoulder mobility allows, do your overhead presses behind your head, but if not, lower the bar in front. The idea of using behind-the-neck presses is to avoid involving your chest in your lift, but it will still work well for your shoulders if you need to lower the bar to the front. Have your training partner or spotter stand right behind you to make sure you don’t back out too far at the top of the lift and to help you get the weight back up if necessary.
When you finish your set, immediately stand up and do a series of vertical rows with the same weight. Just raise your arms until your elbows are level with your shoulders to avoid hitting the rotator cuff; Your grip should be wide enough that your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle once your upper arms are parallel to your shoulders.
Most weightlifters will find that they are stronger in the vertical rows than the overhead press, so you will find that you can do a few more reps in them. Start your superset with a lighter weight that allows you to do 12 reps of the press and 15 reps of the rows, then on all 4 sets increase the weight slightly in each set, ending with a final set of 8 presses and 12 rows. Make sure to maintain strict form at all times to avoid injury, and use a cadence of 1 second to lift and 3 seconds to lower the weight in both exercises. Limit your rest between sets to 30 to 45 seconds, then after your last set rest for 3-4 minutes before moving on to the triple set, remember to hydrate during the break!
Step two: triple set of shoulders
Now that you’ve recovered from the two great compound shoulder exercises, it’s time to isolate all 3 heads and hit the rear, side, and front delts individually with a triple set of shoulders. Grab a pair of dumbbells that you can easily handle and start with the rear deltoid movements. Lean forward about 15 degrees from the waist; If you’re not sure how far to lean, look to your side in the mirror and see how far to lean forward to engage your rear delts as you raise your arms to shoulder height. Bend your elbow slightly and then lock your arms in position, lifting them out to shoulder height and then returning them down in front of you. Don’t worry about lifting the weights to shoulder height; Your delts are only involved in upper arm movement, so focus on raising your elbows to that height.
Immediately after your rear delts, stand almost straight, leaning forward just enough to allow the dumbbells to hang freely in front of your body. Maintaining that slight bend in your elbows, raise your arms to both sides, again until your upper arm is in line with your shoulders. Lower them back down slowly and under control, then repeat until you’ve finished your reps for this set.
Again, without taking a break, start with your front raises. Keep your elbows slightly bent and start with your palms towards your thighs, then raise the dumbbells in front of you to shoulder height and lower again. You can do both arms at the same time or alternate one and then the other depending on your preference. At this point in the triple series, your energy will decrease, but don’t let your form slip; Avoid the temptation to lean back and swing the weights up, maintaining a controlled rise and fall.
Each cycle through the 3 exercises is one set, and after each set, take a break of approximately 60 seconds before starting the next set. Start with light dumbbells that you can maintain strict form with for 12 reps of each exercise in the first set, then slightly increase the weight on each set, doing your 4 sets with 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps. Try to maintain a cadence of 1 second up, 1 second sustained at the top, 3-4 seconds lowering the weight, and no rest at the bottom of each rep for all 3 exercises.
At the end of the best shoulder workout, you will definitely feel the pump in all 3 heads and know that you have fully worked them. Avoid the tendency to speed up reps so you can go heavier; Remember that your goal is to build muscle, so you want to maximize your volume, intensity, and time under tension. Because the delts are relatively small muscles, they heal fairly quickly with proper nutrition and rest, so this exercise can be repeated two to three times a week on non-consecutive days. They may be a bit sore at first the next day, but that will fade as time goes on and as you grow your shoulder gourds you will soon agree that this is the best muscle building shoulder exercise.