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Today is Fitness Friday! On Fridays, we seek to provide you with up-to-date conversations surrounding personal fitness and exercise routines, as well as techniques that we believe will boost your performance, inside the gym and out! Today’s subject is shoulder hypertrophy! Growing your shoulders can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! With the right exercises and workout strategies, you can maximize shoulder hypertrophy and achieve the broad, muscular look you desire. First things first, it’s important to understand the anatomy of the shoulder.

The shoulder is made up of three main muscles: the deltoid, rotator cuff, and trapezius. The deltoid is the muscle that gives your shoulder its round, full appearance, and it is made up of three heads: the front (anterior head), middle (lateral head), and rear (posterior head). The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for rotating and stabilizing the shoulder joint, and the trapezius is a large muscle that runs from the base of the neck down to the middle of the back.

Now that we’ve got the anatomy down, let’s talk about why the shoulders can be a stubborn grower. The shoulder muscles, specifically the deltoids, are relatively small compared to other muscle groups like the chest and back. This means that they may not be able to handle as much weight or volume as larger muscle groups, and may therefore require lighter weights and higher reps to fully fatigue the muscle.

Another reason is that the shoulder joint is a complex joint that is involved in a wide range of movements, including flexion, extension, abduction, and rotation. This means that the shoulder muscles are constantly being used in everyday movements and may not get the rest and recovery they need between workouts. This can make it difficult for the shoulders to grow and recover properly. In addition, genetics play a role in muscle growth and how easily certain muscle groups grow. Some people may naturally have a harder time building muscle in certain areas of the body, including the shoulders. To maximize shoulder growth, it’s important to focus on proper form, technique, and a balanced workout routine that includes a variety of exercises that target all three heads of the deltoid.

It’s also important to pay attention to your diet and nutrition, making sure you are getting enough protein and calories to support muscle growth. Finally, make sure you are getting enough rest and recovery between workouts to allow your shoulder muscles to fully repair and grow.

So, what are some exercises that can help you grow your shoulders?

Here are some of our recommendations:

• Military Press: one of the best exercises for shoulder hypertrophy is the military press. This exercise targets all three heads of the deltoid, as well as the triceps and upper back muscles. To perform the military press, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell or dumbbell at shoulder level with an overhand grip. Press the weight straight up above your head until your arms are fully extended, then lower it back down to shoulder level. Be sure to keep your core engaged and your back straight throughout the exercise.

• Lateral Raise: another great exercise for building broad, muscular shoulders is the lateral raise. This exercise targets the middle head of the deltoid and can be performed with dumbbells or resistance bands. To perform the lateral raise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the weights at your sides with a neutral grip. Slowly raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the ground, then lower them back down. Be sure to keep your elbows slightly bent and your core engaged throughout the exercise.

• Isolation Work (front raise, rear delt fly, bent-over lateral raise, etc.): in addition to compound exercises, it’s also important to incorporate isolation exercises into your shoulder workout routine. The front raise, rear delt fly, and bent-over lateral raise are all great isolation exercises that can help you target specific areas of the shoulder. These can be done in addition to, or leu of the aforementioned shoulder exercises; this depends on your desired goals and training progression.

So, what’s the best way to incorporate these exercises into your shoulder workout routine? There are a few strategies you can try. One option is to do a full-body workout three times per week, including one or two shoulder exercises in each workout. Another option is to do a dedicated shoulder workout once or twice per week, focusing on a variety of exercises that target all three heads of the deltoid. It’s also important to pay attention to your rep range and weight selection.

For hypertrophy, aim for 8-12 reps per set and choose a weight that allows you to reach failure within that rep range. And don’t forget to mix up your workouts and try different exercises to keep your muscles guessing and prevent plateaus. Incorporate the above-mentioned exercises into your workout routine and mix up your rep range and weight selection to maximize shoulder hypertrophy. Remember to stay consistent and always use proper form to avoid injury. Until next time…

Ryan Alvarez


  1. Schoenfeld, B. J. (2010). The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(10), 2857-2872.
  2. American Council on Exercise. (n.d.). Shoulder muscles: Deltoids. Retrieved from
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