When bodybuilders walk onstage, the first thing the audience notices are the athletes’ shoulders. The deltoids aren’t their largest muscles, but we notice them first because they create the framework for the rest of the body. This truth doesn’t just hold true for bodybuilders, though. The bigger your shoulders are, the better they’ll fill out any shirt or jacket, instantly giving you a more commanding presence in any room. So forget the question of heavy weight or high volume. If you truly want your shoulders to grow, you’re going to need both. Bottom line: If you don’t grow using the routine outlined below, you’re not doing it right.

The Workout

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Exercise Sets Reps O’Hearn’s Weight
Lateral Raise (1) 3 12 40
Seated Barbell Military Press      
Warmup Sets 4 10, 8, 6, 5 135, 225, 275, 315
Working Sets 7 4 365
Wide-Grip Barbell Upright Row      
Warmup Sets 2 10 135, 185
Working Sets 3 10 225
Plate Riase (2) 3 15 45-lb plate
Seated Lateral Raise 3 10 60-lb dumbbells
Rear Delt Flye (3) 4 15 85-lb dumbbells
Barbell Shrug (4) 6 10 600
  1. Done as warmup.
  2. Grasp one heavy weight plate and hold it with both hands at your waist. Perform a front raise that finishes with the weight in an overhead position.
  3. Performed lying facedown on a 45-degree incline bench.
  4. Do as many warmup sets as necessary to work up to the heaviest weight you can handle.