Shoulders and Back Workout Routine for Mass Gains

by Jason Stallworth

December 21, 2019

If you look closely at professional bodybuilders you’ll notice one particular thing that stands out. They have a 3-dimensional look.

In other words, they look huge from all angles. And I’m going to show you how to get that look.

The two muscles that will give you that 3-D look are your shoulders and back.

Below, I’m going to give you 3 mass building routines and full training splits that focus on these muscles. And the cool thing is you’ll be training shoulders and back together.

Benefits of Training Shoulders and Back Together

Before we get into your workouts, you may be wondering what are the benefits of training shoulders and back together. Here are some highlights:

  • Training your shoulders (especially rear delts, which I’ll explain more below) are a great way to prime your back for gains
  • You’ll get that push-pull effect in the same workout, which will make you blow up!
  • Training agonists with antagonist muscles in the same workout can also get you conditioning while packing on mass – that’s like a buy-1-get-1-free at the grocery store (if only there were BOGOs for steak)!
  • Because of the increased volume for key exercises, you have the potential to gain more muscle

Back and Rear Delts

The beauty of training back is that you also work your rear delts with most back exercises. This muscle often gets neglect on shoulder day.

So it makes sense to sometimes pair your shoulders and back in the same workout. And it’s easy to incorporate other shoulder exercises as well. And as I mentioned above, priming your shoulders first will actually help you focus more on making your back muscles do the work on your back exercises.

Push-Pull (Agonist-Antagonist)

Another benefit of training shoulders and back together is you get the push-pull effect. With shoulders, you’re pushing and with back, you’re pulling.

There’s a ‘huge’ pay-off to training agonist and antagonist muscles in the same workout. It gives you that 3-D pump.

Getting Huge and Ripped

Lastly, you’ll be doing more overall volume than most workouts when training shoulders and back together. But remember, you’re working 2 major muscles together (not major + minor, like back and biceps, for example). This will help you get huge and ripped.

You see, it’s not just more sets and reps overall, but you’ll be doing more volume for key compound exercises training these two body parts. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you get to the workouts below.

3 Workouts for Shoulders and Back

workout for mass and definition jason stallworth

Now it’s time to get into your new workouts. I’m going to give you 3 shoulders and back workouts below. There are a few different ways you can use these workouts…

  • Do 1 workout for several weeks then change to the next one
  • Alternate the 3 workouts (week 1 = workout 1, week 2 = workout 2, etc.)
  • Use these workouts as a 2nd back workout each week – I highly recommend training back twice a week

Alright, let’s go through the details and exercises of each workout. And below that, I’ll give you 3 different full training split incorporating these workouts.

Workout 1: Shoulders and Back Mass Builder

This first workout is the perfect bodybuilding workout for mass. You’re going to be doing basic mass building exercises for this first shoulders and back routine. Rows and overhead presses are proven muscle-builders.

You’ll also train heavy on the first main exercise for shoulders and back. But then you’ll start doing more reps to get that pump and exhaust the muscle. This is the number one formula for mass gains.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Seated Overhead Press4 x 6
Lateral Raises4 x 10
Bent-over Raises4 x 10
Barbell Rows4 x 6
Seated Rows 4 x 10
Lat Pulldowns4 x 10

Workout 2: Alternating Shoulders and Back

In this next mass building routine, you’ll be alternating a back exercise with a shoulder exercise. This will give you what I call a full upper body pump.

Training this way will also help you give equal attention to both muscle groups. So you’ll basically to all of the sets for your first shoulder exercise then you’ll do the same for your first back exercise. This method will truly give you that 3D bodybuilder look.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press4 x 8
Barbell Rows4 x 8
Machine Shoulder Press4 x 10
Dumbbell Rows4 x 10
Reverse Lat Pulldowns4 x 12*
Lateral Raises4 x 12*

*Do a double drop set on the final set. This will help you exhaust the muscle.

You can learn more about these types of techniques in my post 7 Weight Training Techniques to Increase Intensity.

Workout 3: Superset Shoulders and Back Pump

This final workout is similar to Workout 2 that you just read. But instead of going from shoulders to back, you’re actually going to superset these exercises.

Workout 3 is great if you want to do a 2nd workout for shoulders and back in the same week. For example, you could do Workout 1 or 2 on Monday and do Workout 3 below on Thursday. This routine will help you pack on mass and get ripped and conditioned in the same workout.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Seated Overhead Press
Barbell Row
Seated Overhead Press
Barbell Row
Seated Overhead Press
Barbell Row
Seated Overhead Press
Barbell Row
1 x 6 each
Dumbbell Rows
Arnold Press (Dumbbells)
Dumbbell Rows
Arnold Press (Dumbbells)
Dumbbell Rows
Arnold Press (Dumbbells)
Dumbbell Rows
Arnold Press (Dumbbells)
1 x 8 each
Lateral Raises
Lat Pulldowns
Lateral Raises
Lat Pulldowns
Lateral Raises
Lat Pulldowns
Lateral Raises
Lat Pulldowns
1 x 10 each

Training Splits

lat pulldowns for huge and ripped back

Now you’re probably wondering how you can incorporate these workouts into your full bodybuilding mass routine. I’m going to give you a few different training splits to consider.

You can switch the days around as needed to fit your own schedule. But these concepts below should help you create the split that’s best for you.

I also encourage you to try a split for a few weeks and then switch to a different one. This helps keep things fresh and can also shock your muscles for growth.

You can read more about changing up your workouts in my post When to Switch Up Your Workout Routine.

Training Split 1

This 4-day split has you starting out with the first shoulders and back routine for mass above. That first workout I gave you above is a heavy one so you can get by with training shoulders and back once a week

One thing you’ll notice here is you’re splitting up your legs, dedicating a day to quads and another to hams. This works great for those who need to focus more on hamstrings or legs in general.

Monday: Shoulders and Back Workout 1
Tuesday: Quads
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Chest and Arms
Friday: Hamstrings
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

Training Split 2

This is a 6-day training split in which you’re doing 2 of the shoulders and back routines and also training legs twice a week.

You’ll also see how you’re doing a heavier shoulder and back routine on Tuesday following by the workout I gave you (workout 3 above) using supersets on Saturday.

Doing these 2 workouts within the same week is a powerful way to make sure you target all muscle fibers for shoulders and back.

Monday: Legs
Tuesday: Shoulders and Back Workout 2
Wednesday: Arms
Thursday: Chest
Friday: Legs
Saturday: Shoulders and Back Workout 3
Sunday: Rest

You know by now I’m a strong believer in having 2 leg days each week. You can read more about the benefits of training legs twice a week in my post Training Legs Twice a Week: How to Build Bigger Legs.

Training Split 3

Here a 5-day bodybuilding split, which is probably the most common. You’re hitting shoulders and back twice a week again but everything else is just once a week.

This is a great routine if shoulders and back are lagging behind a little. Or if you have a big chest and arms but do not have that 3-D bodybuilder look (which is almost always a result of not having good shoulders and back).

Monday: Shoulders and Back Workout 1
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Chest
Thursday: Shoulders and Back Workout 3
Friday: Arms
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

3-D Bodybuilder Look

Chances are if you’re even semi-serious about your training you can look straight ahead into the mirror and be proud of your physique. Your chest, arms, and maybe even the front of your shoulders look great.

But do you look as huge when you turn to the side? Or if you had a gym buddy take a pic of you from behind, would you be happy with what you see?

Do you have that 3-dimensional bodybuilder physique? If not, I challenge you to do these shoulder and back workouts twice a week.

And I’m not opposed to you splitting up shoulders and back and training them on separate days. But remember the power of that push-pull, agonist-antagonist effect you’ll get when training them together.

Try these workouts and training splits I gave you for 6-8 weeks. You should see your physique taking on some new developments and new muscle gains.

**If you’re ready to start an intense 12-week program, check out my premium programs below:

Hardcore Muscle Building Program
Lean Muscle Building Program

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,

Jason

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