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The Ultimate Workout for Wider, Stronger Shoulders

Tauseef Asri / M+F Magazine

Olympic and professional athletes have them. So do bodybuilders, longshoremen, lumberjacks, and pretty much anyone we innately identify as a pillar of strength. In fact, of all the muscle groups, it is the one that most clearly distinguishes a longtime athlete from a guy who’s just figuring out the whole gym thing. It’s the deltoids, aka shoulders, and with a broad, meaty pair, you, too, can carry the mantle of being distinctly athletic.

The Routine

This routine should be done at a quick pace, with no more than 30 seconds of rest between sets. Because the deltoids are a fairly small muscle group and the shoulder joint is susceptible to injury, it’s best to keep the weight moderate and the reps generally on the high side, as in 10 to 20. The entire routine should take you no more than a half-hour to perform, and you should do it twice per week.

You’ll notice that every exercise in this routine is performed seated. There are two reasons for that: 1) Most shoulder exercises are conducive to body English; we tend to swing the dumbbells as we tire during lateral and front raises and excessively arch our backs during presses. 2) We expend more energy stabilizing through each rep of exercises in which we stand. By sitting, we can channel all our resources for the task at hand.


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