seated dumbbell press

by Jason Stallworth

September 24, 2015

Are you ready for a workout that’s going to give you huge shoulders and capped delts

Shoulders can be a stubborn muscle and difficult to develop. I’ve heard some even say it’s genetic. That’s ok because I have some solutions for you. 

I’m going to show you…

  • How to use a particular technique that will help you pack on shoulder size
  • 3 workouts that will give you what I like to call boulder shoulders
  • My specific formula to make your shoulder exercises more effective, for bigger gains

What Are Supersets?

If you already know what supersets are, you can skip to the next section. But I want to cover this for those not familiar with this technique. 

A superset is performing an exercise and immediately going to another exercise with no rest between. The only rest you’ll get is the time it takes to go from one exercise to another (typically you want to set it up so that your exercises are close)

There are 2 common ways supersets are used:

  1. Supersetting an agonist with an antagonist muscle (such as supersetting a chest exercise with a back exercise, like bench press and barbell rows)
  2. Supersetting exercises for the same muscle group

In these shoulder workouts, your focus will be on number 2 (no, not number 2 like taking a dump…lol! I had to go there, didn’t I?)

Benefits of Doing Supersets for Shoulders

  • The goal of doing supersets for shoulders is to exhaust your shoulder muscles.
  • You’ll get that deep burn and break down the muscle.
  • More work in less time(will often equal shorter workouts).
  • You can leverage the above for high volume workouts.
  • Your workouts will be more intense.
  • It’s one sure way to change the size and shape of your shoulders, aka, build quality mass.

More Than Just Supersets For Huge Shoulders

supersets for shoulders workout

Sure, you know that supersets can make your workouts way more intense. And you can easily reach muscle failure with them. 

But there are some specific benefits of doing supersets for shoulders I want you to be aware of, especially if you feel that you have stubborn shoulder growth. 

Part of the problem is you already do a lot for shoulders when you train chest and back. You may be thinking:

‘That’s awesome, so I’m essentially training shoulders 3x a week…more is better, right?’ 

Not necessarily. What it does mean is that if your shoulders aren’t responding to the workouts you’ve been doing (chances are, they’re the same type of workouts you do for chest and back), then you need a new approach to shoulder training

This is where doing supersets with my specific shoulder workout formula is going to help you break past that plateau. I’ll explain more below.

My Formula For Building Huge Shoulders

You’re probably thinking this will be some new, never-seen-before formula for building huge shoulders

It’s not. Well, that’s not 100% accurate…(I just don’t have a fancy name for it!)

My formula is combining supersets with a specific series of exercises

It’s actually quite simple:

  • Start out with a heavy compound pressing exercise for shoulders (straight-sets)
  • Choose two exercises to superset
  • Choose another two exercises to superset

That’s it! But now I want to show you exactly how to use this formula so you can make massive shoulder gains. 

3 Superset Shoulder Workouts

superset shoulder workout

I’m going to share 3 different shoulder workouts that use this exact formula. You can stick with one workout for a few weeks and then try another, or you can alternate these workouts each shoulder day. 

Option A

  • Weeks 1-3: Shoulder Workout 1
  • Weeks 4-6: Shoulder Workout 2
  • Weeks 7-9: Shoulder Workout 3

Option B

  • Week 1: Shoulder Workout 1
  • Week 2: Shoulder Workout 2
  • Week 3: Shoulder Workout 3
  • Repeat

Either method will be effective. Now, let’s get to the workouts and start making some shoulder gains!

Workout 1: Massive Shoulders

Your first shoulder workout will look like a standard bodybuilding shoulder workout. You’re starting out with arguably the best mass building exercise for shoulders, seated barbell press. And you’re going heavy!

After that, you’re going to see some common shoulder exercises that you’ll be super setting. This is where you’ll feel the burn and get some massive pumps

Exercise Sets x Reps
Seated Overhead Barbell Press 4 x 4-6
Arnold Press – superset with below 4 x 8
Bent-over raises 4 x 8
Lateral Raises – superset with below 4 x 10
Dumbbell Shrugs 4 x 10

Workout 2: Ripped Shoulders

In this shoulder workout, you’re going to slightly increase your reps on each exercise (more so than Workout 1). You can still expect to put on some shoulder size. But the greater result is going to be ripped shoulders

Exercise Sets x Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press 4 x 8
Barbell Shrugs – superset with below 4 x 10
Reverse Pec-Dec 4 x 10
Front Raises – superset with below 4 x 12
Lateral Raises 4 x 12

Workout 3: Strong Shoulders

This last shoulder workout is a little unique from the others. You’re going to make some major strength gains.

You’re starting with a powerlifting move (standing overhead press).  And you’re doing the 5 x 5 training method. 

You can read about 5 x 5 training here: Advanced 5 x 5 Workouts for Mass and Strength Gains

After your major compound lift, you’ll be doing more pressing matters (yes, horrible pun!). Dumbbell press superset with lateral raises. 

And you’ll notice your last pressing exercise is seated dumbbell press again. But this time you’re performing a unilateral movement. This is where you hold both dumbbells up and lower them one at a time (while holding the other up).

Yep…it’s as tough as it sounds!

Exercise Sets x Reps
Standing Overhead Barbell Press 5 x 5
Seated Dumbbell Press – superset with below 4 x 8
Lateral Raises 4 x 8
Unilateral Seated Dumbbell Press – superset with below 4 x 10
Bent-over Raises 4 x 10

More Shoulder Exercises You Can Do

I personally like sticking with basic mass and strength-building exercises for shoulders (and in general). And I also prefer free weights over machines. There’s just something magical about barbells and dumbbells. 

But that doesn’t mean other exercises aren’t effective. 

Here are some other common exercises for shoulders you can use (you can substitute some of the above with these):

  • Single-arm cable lateral raises
  • Cable front raises (and cable bent-over raises)
  • Upright rows
  • Seated shoulder press machine
  • Hammer Strength shoulder press
  • Hammer Strength behind-the-neck press

I’m especially a fan of the Hammer Strength machines for shoulders (for back and chest too!). They do a great job of mimicking the true motion of the free weight exercise.

I do recommend that you start out with some sort of free weight pressing exercise for shoulders. This is how you build that foundation. You’ll shape, build, and chisel those muscles with the remaining superset exercises. 

Again, feel free to throw some of these exercises into your shoulder routine. You can take one of the workouts above and use it as a template to create your own workout.

Best Day To-Do Your Supersets for Shoulders Workouts

Thursdays!

At least that day seems to work best for me. You can try different days. 

Here’s one of my typical workout schedules:

  • Monday: Back and Biceps
  • Tuesday: Chest and Triceps
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Thursday: Shoulders and Back (I often do back 2x a week)
  • Friday: Deadlifts and Arms

Here’s another common training split I do when I’m training agonist-antagonist muscles together. Again, shoulders lands on Thursday! 

  • Monday: Back and Chest
  • Tuesday: Legs and Core (squat-focused)
  • Wednesday: Arms
  • Thursday: Shoulders and Back
  • Friday: Legs and Core (deadlift-focused)

**With this schedule, I may take Wednesdays off and throw a little arms in on my upper body days. There’s a post you may want to read here: Shoulders and Arms: Why You Should Train Them Together

Do You Want Huge Shoulders and Capped Delts?

huge shoulders and capped delts

Of course, you do! And now you can have them because I just gave you the perfect shoulder workouts. 

There’s one last tip I want to share that will make your workouts more effective

When you’re doing supersets, you may have a tendency to barrel through those sets and reps. But that’s not going to help you.

Rather, make sure you’re focusing on each individual rep and forcing your muscles to do the work. And pay even closer attention to the negative part of each rep (the descent)

I’m not saying you have to do super slow reps. Just be mindful (no, I’m not a Jedi..well, ok, sort of…) of each rep (not the force!)

I hope you got something out of this post and enjoy the workouts I gave you!

**If you’re looking for a a full 12-week muscle building program, check out my premium programs here.

Train with Passion,

Jason

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