Check out these top exercises for building those boulder shoulders.
There can be no V-tapers without broad shoulders and for those looking for a wider, more massive physique, look no further than to exercises to build those boulder shoulders to boost all your gains. For a V-taper, you need to have wide shoulders and a narrow waist so your torso looks like a “V”. Slouching or slanting shoulders can take away the aesthetic appeal of your physique. On top of that, having nice and rounded shoulders give your upper half that bigger, more appealing aesthetic when you take your shirt off. But having boulder shoulders means more than just being physically appealing.
Giant shoulders have been associated with strength and masculinity for the longest time. But what you’ll find is that having stronger, more stable shoulders also aid in your physical health since this often times vulnerable joint is ready for any pressing, pushing, or overhead motion you throw it’s way (1). By working your shoulders, you also work to aid in functional strength since these are essential for not just sport specific movements. Plus, you work on building better confidence with even better posture, something we all would love.
In this article, we’ll be sharing with you the five best exercises to build wider, rounder, and fuller shoulders. You can perform these five exercises as a workout to kickstart your shoulder gains. Always start with weight you know you’re comfortable with, especially if your shoulders tend to be a bit weaker. You won’t be disappointed with the results when you buckle down and really give these exercises the attention they deserve.
Best Exercises For Boulder Shoulders
Arnold Press – 3 sets, 8-12 reps
The Arnold press is an invention by the GOAT, Arnold Schwarzenegger. While almost every shoulder exercise hits a single part of the shoulder, the Arnold press hit the anterior and medial deltoids.
Sit on a chair while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your shoulders. As you raise the dumbbells overhead, rotate your hands outwards so that your palms are pronated at the top of the movement.
Cable Side Lateral Raise – 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Your workouts should have a balance between compound and isolation exercises so your muscles get the best of both worlds (2). The cable side lateral works the medial deltoid which gives your shoulders that roundness.
Stand with your left side next to a low cable pulley machine while holding the D-handle attachment with your right hand. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbow, elevate your right arm so it is parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat for the recommended amount of reps.
EZ Bar Front Raise – 3 sets, 8-12 reps
EZ-Bar front barbell raises are an under-utilized exercise when it comes to training the anterior deltoids. Holding the EZ-bar with an underhand grip makes sure your grip strength doesn’t hit failure before your front delts.
Stand with your arms extended and the EZ-bar resting against your quads. Lift the barbell while maintaining a slight bend in your elbow until it’s at your shoulder level. Pause for a second at the top of the movement before returning to the starting position.
Pec Deck Rear Delt Flyes – 3 sets, 15 reps
Rear delts are one of the most stubborn muscle groups to train and develop as they are at the back of your body. It can be harder to establish a mind-muscle connection with muscles you can’t see directly in the mirror.
Using isolation exercises like the pec deck rear delt flyes can facilitate the mind-muscle connection and pump as you don’t have to deal with free weights. Make sure you pause and contract your rear delts with every repetition at the top of the movement.
Behind The Back Barbell Shrugs – 3 sets, 10-15 reps
Most people leave a lot of gains on the table while performing the shrugs. The shrugs are one of the easiest exercises to perform, and yet many people perform them incorrectly as they let their egos get the better of them.
Behind the back barbell shrugs are an incredibly effective exercise to target your trapezius muscles. With every rep, you need to pause and contract your traps at the top of the movement.
For those looking to increase strength and size in all muscle groups, but especially those looking to get those boulder shoulders, looking at solid supplements can really offer the best results. We all know about pre-workout, BCAAs, and protein powders, but creatine supplements have the potential to seriously increase our muscle growth while also giving us a physique others will envy (3).
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Building boulder shoulders has more benefits to you than you may think. On top of being physically appealing, working to strengthen those often times vulnerable joints will prove to be beneficial for both sport specific and more functional movements as you seek to better yourself physically and mentally. With improved confidence you will be a force in the gym and won’t regret putting that little extra focus on this muscle group. Don’t neglect your shoulders and really give these boulder shoulder exercises a try to see what they can do for all your gains. You won’t be disappointed with the results.
*Images courtesy of Transparent Labs and Envato
- Williams, Martin R. Jr.; Hendricks, Dustin S.; Dannen, Michael J.; Arnold, Andrea M.; et al. (2020). “Activity of Shoulder Stabilizers and Prime Movers During an Unstable Overhead Press”. (source)
- Stiggins, Chuck; Allsen, Phill (1987). “Exercise Methods Notebook: Side lateral raises”. (source)
- Francaux, M.; Poortmans, J. R. (1999). “Effects of training and creatine supplement on muscle strength and body mass”. (source)
- Portal, Shawn; Eliakim, Alon; Nemet, Dan; Halevy, Orna; et al. (2010). “Effect of HMB supplementation on body composition, fitness, hormonal profile and damage indices”. (source)