Shoulder Workout | Boulder Shoulder Guide




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Struggling to sculpt those standout boulder shoulders? Trust me, I understand the challenge all too well. After diving deep into research and plenty of trial and error, I stumbled onto a game-changing approach, drawing inspiration from Lawrence Ballenger’s workout routine.

In this guide, you’ll find a clear path to beefing up your shoulder muscles, with a spotlight on essential moves like the overhead press and lateral raise. Get ready to embrace those massive gains!

Key Takeaways

  • Training all three deltoid muscles and traps is important for big, balanced shoulders. Exercises like the dumbbell shoulder press, lateral raises, reverse flyes, and upright rows target these key areas.
  • The Overhead Press, Lateral Raise, Arnold Press, Dumbbell Shrugs, and Barbell Upright Rows are essential moves to build boulder shoulders. They strengthen different parts of the shoulder and improve overall muscle growth.
  • Mixing in exercises for other body parts like chest and abs with shoulder workouts creates a balanced physique. Push-ups and planks help with upper body strength while squats and deadlifts build a strong foundation supporting shoulder development.

Key Components of Shoulder Training

To get those boulder shoulders, we need to work on all parts of the deltoids. This means hitting the fronts, sides, and backs of our shoulders and not forgetting about our trap muscles.

Training all three heads of the deltoids

I always make sure to hit all three parts of my shoulder muscles in one workout. For the front or anterior deltoids, I do exercises like dumbbell shoulder press and front raises. These moves help me build muscle at the front of my shoulders.

Then, I switch focus to the side or lateral deltoids with lateral raises. This exercise widens my shoulders and gives them a rounder shape.

For the back part, known as posterior deltoids or rear delts, I include reverse flyes and upright rows in my routine. Strengthening this area helps balance out my upper body and prevents shoulder injuries.

Each part needs attention to create boulder shoulders that are not only big but also balanced and strong.

Now let’s talk about adding trap exercises to our workouts.

Incorporating traps exercises

I make sure to include traps exercises in my shoulder workouts. Doing movements like wide grip upright rows and various lifts helps work the traps. These exercises are great because they also involve lifting the arms above the shoulders, which is a key part of getting those boulder shoulders.

For me, improving shoulder function is a big goal. I learned that people with certain types of shoulder shapes can really benefit from adding MT-enhanced exercises to their routine.

This way, not only do my deltoids get a good workout, but my upper back muscles and rotator cuff muscles get stronger too. This approach has made my whole upper body more solid and balanced.

Essential Exercises for Boulder Shoulders

To get those boulder shoulders, I focus on special moves that work every part of my deltoid muscles. These involve pushing and lifting in ways that make my shoulder blades and upper arms really strong.

Overhead Press

I love doing the Overhead Press for huge shoulders. It targets my shoulder muscles and makes them strong. This exercise uses a barbell or dumbbells, and I push the weight above my head while standing.

It’s not just my shoulders working; my upper back and core get involved too. By overloading with more weight over time, I see big muscle gains.

Next, I always include Lateral Raises to hit different parts of my shoulders.

Lateral Raise

I use dumbbells for lateral raises to target my shoulder muscles, especially the deltoids. This exercise is great because it focuses on muscle growth and helps with joint stability.

It’s a must for anyone wanting stronger, more balanced shoulders. To do it right, you stand straight and lift the weights out to your sides until they’re at shoulder level, then lower them back down.

Proper form is key here; I always make sure not to swing the weights or bend my elbows too much.

I’ve learned that doing lateral raises can fix strength imbalances between my left and right sides. This makes my overall shoulder strength better and keeps me stable. Beginners often have trouble getting the form just right, which can lead to injuries or not getting the full benefits of the exercise.

By focusing on controlled movements and avoiding lifting too heavy at first, I ensure I get all the advantages of this critical shoulder workout without hurting myself.

Arnold Press

The Arnold press takes shoulder workouts to the next level. Named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, this exercise adds a twist—literally—to traditional dumbbell presses. By rotating my palms outward as I lift, I hit all three heads of the deltoids at once.

This rotation increases the range of motion and thoroughly works my shoulders, especially targeting the front delts for growth.

Incorporating the Arnold press into my routine boosts muscle fatigue in a way that other exercises can’t match. It’s perfect for intermediate bodybuilders like me who aim to build big, boulder-like shoulders.

Plus, it helps improve strength and conditioning across my entire upper body by engaging not just the deltoids but also triceps and pecs during each rep.

Next up, let’s talk about another essential move: Dumbbell Shrugs.

Dumbbell Shrugs

I grab dumbbells and stand straight, focusing on my traps. Dumbbell shrugs are all about lifting those weights by shrugging shoulders high, like I’m trying to touch my ears with them.

It’s key to keep the movement smooth and controlled. Using moderate to heavy dumbbells works best for me, matching what experts suggest for muscle growth in the trapezius area.

Using proper form stops any chance of shoulder pain or injury. I make sure not to roll my shoulders as that can hurt them over time. Instead, I focus on a straight lift up and a controlled drop down.

This exercise fits well into my shoulder routine, helping build those boulder shoulders alongside other drills like lateral raises or overhead presses.

Next up is barbell upright rows.

Barbell Upright Rows

I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and hold the barbell in front of me. My arms are straight, ready to lift. Upright rows are my go-to for hitting both my traps and deltoids hard.

They say these moves are the GOAT of shoulder workouts, and I totally see why. With a tight core and a spine that’s not bending, I pull the bar up toward my chin. It’s crucial to keep everything aligned just right.

This exercise is more than just a move; it’s part of building those boulder shoulders everyone wants. By targeting the upper to mid back along with those crucial shoulder muscles – the traps and deltoids – upright rows play a big role in my routine for muscle mass increase.

Using an overhand grip on an Olympic barbell ensures that I am engaging these muscles effectively throughout each rep. It’s all about progressive overload, maintaining proper form to avoid any chance of shoulder impingement while powering through this compound exercise.

Complementary Workouts for a Balanced Physique

To balance my physique, I mix in chest and abs routines with my shoulder workouts. This blend helps me boost overall upper body strength and improve posture. Push-ups work wonders for the chest while also engaging the shoulders.

For my abs, I do planks because they require stability from the whole upper body. This combination ensures that no muscle group gets left behind.

I also focus on lower body exercises like squats and deadlifts to support a strong foundation. Squats engage the butt and lower back, essential for powerful shoulder presses and upright rows with an Olympic barbell.

Deadlifts strengthen my grip, back, and legs, making it easier to tackle heavy dumbbells during bicep curls or lateral raises. Balancing work across different muscle groups prevents injuries and improves overall aesthetics.


Building strong shoulders turned out to be exciting and hard work. I learned a lot about my body, especially how training all parts of my deltoids and my traps helps me grow bigger muscles.

Doing exercises like the overhead press and lateral raises really pushed me. After following this guide, including Lawrence Ballenger’s routine, I saw huge changes in just six weeks! Stronger shoulders made everything from lifting groceries to doing push-ups easier.

This journey taught me that with the right plan and effort, amazing results are possible.


1. What muscles do shoulder workouts target?

When I work out my shoulders, I focus on strengthening my rear deltoids, medial deltoids, and the levator scapulae muscle. These are key for building strong shoulders.

2. Can you suggest effective exercises for my shoulders?

Sure! For a solid shoulder routine, I include exercises like the military press, barbell overhead press, and rear delt raise. Sometimes I add in kettlebell moves and push-ups to mix things up.

3. Why is it important to exercise different parts of the shoulder?

Exercising all parts of the shoulder helps me avoid injuries and build balanced strength. It makes sure that not just one part is strong but all around from front to back.

4. How does using different equipment help in a shoulder workout?

Using various tools like Olympic barbells for powerlifting or kettlebells for dynamic movements adds variety to my workouts. This keeps training interesting and targets my muscles in unique ways.

5. What should I remember about form during these exercises?

Keeping proper form is crucial; it means bracing your core and making sure your knees are slightly bent if standing up during moves like the military or barbell overhead press. This protects my back and ensures I’m working out safely.

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