One of the best ways to develop your delts and get full 360-degree growth is to run a circuit routine, otherwise known as a giant set, that consists of four basic exercises to start. Of course, as your shoulder development becomes more advanced and your strength and muscular endurance increase, you will want to adjust these exercises to start breaking them up in different sets of groupings.

I recommend trying to perform these exercises in the seated position, since it will get more work out of your shoulders and less secondary body work. Try to keep your shoulder routine and exercise program at 60 minutes or less, minimizing your rest time between sets. You’ll have those cannonball delts that men, women, children, and animals all admire in no time.

1. The shoulder press should be performed with either the straight bar or a machine, keeping your lower back at against the pad. Use a grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder width (three to four inches), and make sure your elbows are perpendicular to the bar. When pressing, be sure to keep your head back. Stop about two inches before you reach your chest.

2. In performing the lateral raise, keep your elbows slightly wider than a 90-degree angle (100 to 110 degrees). Raise your elbows until they are parallel to the lines of your shoulders.

3. For front raises, you can use the straight bar or dumbbells. Keep your middle knuckle in line with the center line of your body as you raise the dumbbell up to about nose level, palm facing the floor and knuckles straight, almost as if you’re performing a perfect karate straight punch.

4. The shrug lets you tie in the upper-back muscles and your lateral and rear-delt development. Keep the bar or dumbbells toward the rear of your body rather than in front of you. The trapezius muscles are predominately back muscles, and you will get a better contraction when you can roll your shoulders backward and raise them in a straight line up and down. Be sure to keep your head down and your chin slightly tucked into your chest.

Note: On all exercises, use a weight that lets you reach your target reps without losing form.


Perform the workout as a circuit, focusing on good form.

  • Shoulder Press* | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-20
  • Lateral Raise | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12 
  • Front Raise | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12 
  • Shrug | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-12 

*Pyramid weights