6 Steps to Boulder Shoulders | Men's Health Magazine Australia

6 Steps to Boulder Shoulders

If you want to accentuate your V-shape while at the same time improving all your upper-body lifts, the smart play is to target your shoulders. That’s because they get pulled into action almost every time you touch the iron. Big, strong shoulders round off your physique, help you strike perfect posture and boost sports performance.

Quick anatomy lesson: your shoulders are made up of three muscles: your front, middle and rear delts. And some quick advice: make sure you work all three.

Most guys ignore their rear delts. Bad mistake. By doing that you won’t look as good in a tee and you’ll create strength and muscle imbalances that will leave you prone to injury.

Fortunately, this workout treats the shoulder as the three-headed monster it is. Do it twice a week to load your upper body with pure muscular authority.


Perform five sets of each superset, going from one move to the next without rest, then take a one-minute breather after each superset. The reps are designed as pyramids where you increase the weight on each set, before reducing it on the final set to up your reps.


SET 1: 15 reps

SET 2: 10 reps

SET 3: 6 reps

SET 4: 6 reps

SET 5: 12 reps


Seated military press

A) Sit on the edge of a bench, with the back pad set to vertical or just below, and rest a barbell across the front of your shoulders.

B) Straighten your arms to push the weight above your head, without locking your elbows at the top of the movement, then slowly lower them to the start position.

Incline reverse fly

A) Lie facedown on an incline bench set to 45º. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other.

B) Keep a slight arc in your elbows and raise the dumbbells until they are level with your shoulders. Hold for a second, then slowly lower to the starting position, maintaining a straight back throughout.


Pike push-ups 

A) Get into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet forward until they’re about a metre behind your hands and your hips stick up in the air.

B) Keeping your legs straight, bend your elbows to pump out a push-up, feeling the tension in your shoulders.


Dumbbell front raises

A) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.

B) Raise the weights directly in front of you until they’re in line with the tops of your shoulders. Take two seconds to lower them to the start.  


Lateral raises

A) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Keep a slight bend in your elbows, with your palms facing each other.

B) Raise your arms straight out to your sides. Imagine you’re holding two jugs of water, so don’t tilt your wrists forward. Stop when the weights are even with the tops of your shoulders. Pause, then lower them along the same path.

Medicine ball-up throws

A) Stand holding a medicine ball close to your chest with your elbows bent. Keep a slight bend in your knees.

B) Forcefully straighten your arms to throw the ball as high in the air as you can. Catch it, absorbing some of the force by slightly bending your knees.

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