Though we are in 2021 and (fortunately) can now acknowledge there is slightly more to masculinity than how many pull-ups you can do, sticking with the analogy, you might be interested to know that your shoulders offer a great opportunity to appear extra huge when walking down the street.
But only if you know how to build them.
By working out and increasing the size of your shoulders you can appear more broad and fill out your t-shirts a lot more. Also, on a more practical level, having strong shoulders can assist you with lifting heavy objects and performing everyday tasks.
If there’s one man who knows that better than anyone else, it’s German bodybuilder Jo Lindner. Jo has previously provided incredibly helpful advice for increasing the size of your chest and your arms, and has even uncovered some surprising truths in the gym, such as the fact women don’t really care if you have a six-pack.
But, if you want yourself a serious set of boulder shoulders, you’ll want to check out this workout. Calling it the “ultimate 3D delts guide” – referring to the deltoid muscle, the one that forms the rounded portion of the shoulder – Jo says the most important thing is we “need to know how to do lateral raises properly.”
Lateral raises refer to a movement whereby you raise your arms, while keeping your elbow kept at a constant angle. You can move your arm in virtually any direction you wish through an arc, with each ultimately working a different section of the deltoid muscle. To help figure out what moves work which part of the shoulder, Jo says to start off, we should use a really light weight, to see “what is the shoulder?”.
Jo says many people employ the use of the trap muscles to assist them, but this takes away from the work you’re trying to do for your shoulders, so if the movement is new to you, you can practice it easily before you add weight: “Chest up, head up, then put your arm like this [at a right angle with the elbow close to your body] then you kick up your elbow. And you try to kick up the elbow without using your traps.”
If you want to work the side delts, Jo adds you should lean forward slightly and keep the weights slightly in front of you and held in a neutral position – this being wherever your hands fall naturally. Then, kicking out the elbow to lift the weights up your sides, the forward lean will help add more tension and ultimately be more effective in building up the side delt muscles.
“Lateral raises is one of the most difficult exercises, but one of the best. In order to get this 3D look from the side, from the front, you have to have this roundness, which you get from doing lateral raises.”
“And then people wonder ‘how much should I do?’. A lot bro. Do drop sets, super sets, everything man, make these shoulders burn like crazy. They need to be painful.”
Another move you can perform to seriously increase your shoulder gains is to lie on your side on an incline bench (with it set at around 60-degrees) and lift a dumbbell using your free arm. This isolates all the weight to the free arm, which can make what you would assume to be a light weight, feel heavy.
Jo says, “there’s not much range of motion, but just this little thing that you do, bro this burns like crazy. This is a sick exercise.” And to make sure you perform it correctly, he adds, “Close your eyes, and focus and concentrate and be aware of what you’re doing.”
As with the other lateral raise movements, you want to kick up the elbow and try to avoid using your traps for assistance.
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In a separate Instagram video, Jo provides more shoulder workout tips, using plate weights. Holding the weight in your hands, you can raise out to your front and twist the weight, or flip it, to further work the shoulder muscles.
Now you have no excuses for small shoulders.