Bigger, Broader, Stronger Shoulders

4-week intense shoulder training plan.


A strong symmetrical set of shoulders play a crucial role onstage by helping to create the illusion of a smaller waist and enhance the coveted V-taper. Offstage, broad shoulders create a more commanding presence and are recruited for virtually every upper-body compound movement. Overdevelopment or underdevelopment of your deltoids is common when attention isn’t given to all three heads: anterior (front), medial (side), and posterior (rear). Aside from being a glaring flaw in your physique—it doesn’t take a bodybuilding judge to spot it—weak shoulders will hold you back from making gains in other areas, such as the bench press and other pressing movements. 

So, how can you either A) fix or B) avoid the problem of inferior deltoids. Simple. Follow this four-week program. The routine relies on the concept of powerbuilding— a mesh of powerlifting and bodybuilding—and utilizes the principle of progressive overload that changes at least one training variable each workout. Get ready for deltstruction!


Knowing the names of the three deltoid muscles isn’t enough; you also need to know their function.


  • Shoulder Elevation: Pulling shoulders up toward ears 
  • Exercises: Shrug, upright row


  • Shoulder Abduction: Raising arms straight out to sides
  • Exercises: Lateral raise, wide-grip upright row, overhead press


  • Shoulder Transverse Abduction: Extending arms straight in front then pulling shoulder blades together to separate arms and travel to rear
  • Exercises: Bentover lateral raise, prone incline rear lateral raise, reverse machine flye, cable face-pull, overhead press


  • Shoulder Flexion: Raising arms straight out in front and overhead
  • Exercises: Front raise, upright row, overhead press


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