Build Stronger Shoulders
Welcome to our new fitness series in which you’re going to build an A-list body – one body part at a time. We’ve teamed up with David Kingsbury, arguably the best PT in the world. This is the man who turned Hugh Jackman from a hairy-chested thespian to might-rip-your-head-off beast in no time. And, this time, he’s going to transform YOU. Over to you, David…
I’d wager you don’t pay as much mind to your shoulders as you do your biceps. But this is a mistake. Remember that scene where Daniel Craig emerged from the ocean in Casino Royale? (It was the exact time your girlfriend lost an extra 10% of interest in you, if that jogs your memory). Sure, his whole torso was pretty impressive. But it was the boulder shoulders that gave him such a formidable silhouette. Without them, even big arms aren’t that special.
With them – your waist looks smaller, you fill your t-shirts much more, people don’t want to mess with you …the benefits really do add up.
What’s more, it’s upon your shoulders that much of your upper body strength hinges. To be weak here is to be weak everywhere. You can’t throw a respectable punch or lift any reasonable weight without a stable shoulder girdle. So, for the sake of form and function, for Bond-like sex appeal and a boxer’s power, let’s sure up your shoulders. The workout below will give you raid strength and size gains. The ocean awaits.
Shoulder the burden: The Workout
1) Barbell shoulder press, 4 x 6 reps (120sec rest)
Place a heavy barbell in the rack position, across your collarbones with your elbows tight and body tensed. Dip at the knees slightly before straightening and exploding upward to push the bar overhead. Keep your core rigid throughout to protect your spine here.
2) Dumbbell shoulder press, 4 x 12 reps (90sec rest)
In an almost identical movement pattern, you’re now going to apply bodybuilding principles to your shoulders to elicit growth. With two moderately heavy dumbbells set at shoulder height, dip and explode as before, driving the weights up overhead. Tense your shoulders hard at the top.
- A: Narrow bench press, 4 x 12 reps
Run to a bench and load up a moderately heavy barbell. Set yourself up: feet planted firmly, core tensed, shoulders retracted. Grab the bar with a narrow grip. Lower it to your chest then drive it back up hard.
- B: Bodyweight rows, 4 x 12 reps (90sec rest and repeat)
Jog to a squat rack or somewhere with a low bar from which you can hang while lying on your back. Grab it at shoulder width and draw your torso upward, retracting your shoulders throughout. Keep your core tight.
4) Shoulder circuit (performed with two light-medium dumbbells):
- a) Front raise x 12
Raise the weights up in front of you, keeping your shoulders back and middle tensed throughout.
- b) Lateral Raise x 12
Now lift them out to your sides so your body creates a T shape. Hold at the top for half a second.
- c) Rear delt raise x 12
Bend at the hips so your torso is near to parallel to the ground. Fly the dumbbells out to the sides.
- d) Shoulder press x 12
Repeat exercise 2 with the lighter weights. Rest for two minutes then repeat the circuit x 4 times. Rest and eat like it’s your job.