Shoulder Exercises

The Straight Up Shoulder Routine

A no-nonsense training workout designed to give you maximum results in your shoulders in minimum time.

Shawn Perine thumbnail by Editor in Chief
The Straight Up Shoulder Routine

Professional athletes have them. So do bodybuilders, longshoremen, lumberjacks, and pretty much every guy we innately identify as a pillar of strength. In fact, of all the muscle groups, it is the one that most clearly distinguishes the silhouette of a man from a woman, and a he-man from a girly-man. It’s the deltoids, aka shoulders, and with a broad, meaty pair, you too can carry the mantle of being distinctly male—alpha, even.

The Routine

This routine should be performed at a quick pace, with no more than 30 seconds rest between sets. Because the deltoids are a fairly small muscle group and the shoulder joint is susceptible to injury, it’s best to keep the weight moderate and the reps generally on the high side, as in 10–20. The entire routine should take you no more than a half hour to perform, and you should do it twice per week.

You’ll notice that every exercise in this routine is performed in a seated position, for two reasons. One, most shoulder exercises are conducive to body English; we tend to swing the dumbbells as we tire during lateral and front raises, and excessively arch our backs during presses. Two, we expend excess energy steadying ourselves through each rep of exercises in which we stand. By sitting we can channel all of our resources for the task at hand.

The Basics

Increase the weight you use as the rep count decreases with successive sets.
• Maximum 30 seconds rest between sets
• Reps in the 10–20 range
• Moderate weights

The Straight Up Shoulder Routine

Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Lateral Raise 4 20-17-14-11
Seated Alternating DB Front Raise 3 14-12-10
Rear Delt Machine 3 16-14-12
Seated DB Press 4 14-12-10-8
Static Hold DB Front Raise 2 To failure



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NEXT: The Exercises