Strong and perfectly built shoulder muscles are every man’s dream. Unfortunately, it may happen that even though you train hard, they will stay unchanged, without showing any signs of progress. How to build enviable shoulders?

 Shoulder Anatomy

The main function of shoulder muscles is to properly position your hands in virtually every movement you make. In fact, whether you are able to make a certain hand movement largely depends on the mobility and stability of your shoulder muscles. The set of small deltoid muscles (anterior, lateral and posterior) makes part of a larger structure, known as the shoulder girdle. The structure of shoulder musclesmakes them not responsive to small numbers of reps with heavy weights.

Barbell Shoulder Press

When doing this exercise you need to remember to keep your elbows slightly forward, as then you will feel your anterior deltoids best.

If you exercise with a free barbell, remain in a standing position. In this way, you will be able to control your balance by slightly tilting your body backwards. You can also do seated barbell shoulder press on a guided barbell machine. Then you do not have to focus on the right body position but only on your elbows.

Barbell Press Behind Neck

Barbell Press Behind Neck is an injury-causing exercise, as the body position in which the barbell is behind the neck is unnatural. Nonetheless, it can help you build up shoulder girdle muscles, which is desirable especially for those who have only just started their bodybuilding adventure. By developing the muscles, you improve your posture and, thus, minimise the risk of injury, without restricting shoulder jointmobility.

The exercise involves all the relevant elements, i.e. the shoulder girdle muscles and the trapezoid muscle. It can be done seated or standing, although the former is a considerably easier and less straining option. The barbell should be lowered below the ear line, but you need to remember not to hyperextend the elbows.

Seated Barbell Press

A very pleasant press exercise. Rotate the wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing forward. This is your starting position. When doing the exercise (in any phase) position the dumbbell in such a way that the inner disc is between the anterior deltoid head and the biceps. Push the dumbbells up until they nearly touch at the top. But do not let them touch, as this may cause a micro-shock and lead to injury of the elbow or shoulder joint or the wrist.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

This exercise can be found difficult by beginners. Pick a couple of dumbbells and stand with the dumbbells at the hip height. You can start with your dumbbells by the side or in front of your hips. Lift the dumbbells to your side with the hands wide apart until your reach the ear level. Remember to keep your elbows higher than the wrists. There are many possible variations for this movement. You can perform the exercise sitting down on a bench with your chest supported on the bench rest to stabilise the body. If you choose such an isolated position, use lighter weights.

Other shoulder exercises

Next to the exercises presented above, you can expand your training plan by Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise and Barbell Upright Row, although you must know that the latter can be injury-causing if done with a wrong technique.

Whatever exercises you choose, remember the simple rule: use less weight and more reps.