Alex’s Top 5 Tips for Boulder Shoulders!

Hello Boys and Girls! I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my shoulders over the past few months, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions (especially from the boys) about how to train your shoulders. What my coach has had me do, and what I find works best to grow your shoulders is lots of volume! If you really want to see growth in your shoulders, and so nice shape then here are my top 5 tips for better looking shoulders!

Taken last Friday September 4th 2015, 5 weeks out from my Figure Show (my body has changed since then)
  1. Form is function!

You will never get the shape and definition in your muscles that you’d like to see if you are not executing proper form! A lot of times I see people lifting weight for shoulders that is clearly too heavy for them! Their form falls apart just to get the weight up. They start swinging, and incorporating their entire body into the exercise. Please check your ego at the door! Start off light, and try to nail that form first before reaching for heavier weight. You want to try to isolate your shoulders as much as possible so that you can get that awesome pump and see some real growth! Having a trainer or coach can make a huge difference in your form and muscle activation during your shoulder exercises. This will also help to prevent injury! The shoulder is a very flexible joint, however it is very easily injured. Please make sure that you have proper mobility in your shoulder before trying to make them grow! Also, please make sure that you set your shoulders in place (not by your ears) before you perform any shoulder exercise. If you do not have a trainer or coach, then always ask a trainer on the floor for some tips and advice. Most trainers or coaches would be more than willing to tweak up your form a little bit. Don’t be scared to ask someone for help! You’d be surprised how much you could learn!

2. Volume Training

As mentioned before, if you want to develop better looking, more defined, and bigger shoulders you must do volume training! Volume training is key to better looking shoulders. Tons of sets, and reps. This does not mean that you have to lift super heavy weight! Keep the weights low and the reps high! As you get stronger you will be able to lift heavier weights and do heavier volume.This is a mental game, where you have to push yourself past the burn in order to get that serious pump!  An example of a pyramid set that I would do for shoulders would be standing lateral raises:  30, 25, 20, 15, 12, 10 and rest for about a minute in between each set. Doing heavy volume training will give you a serious pump and with proper nutrition your delts will have no choice but to grow!

3. Hit your shoulders from all angles!

When programming a good shoulder routine, you need to make sure that you’re hitting the anterior, posterior, and medial deltoids. This is important in creating balance and proportion in your shoulders. This will also help to give your shoulders a nice rounded look which is what we all want!


Supersets in your shoulder routine are a great way to save time, and to really burn out your shoulders! An example of superset that I really like to do during my shoulder routines are, upright barbel rows, superset with bent over reverse dumbbell fly, or seated dumbbell shoulder press, superset with cable rope front raises. These exercises combined really take your program to the next level in terms of feeling the burn and creating that pump! Remember, all my supersets are high volume! Shoulder routines are more of a mental game than anything else if you really want to see growth! Push past the pain, push past the burn! It’s not about how heavy you can lift, but really how long you can push!

5. Lateral Raises

This is probably my favorite shoulder exercise! I could lateral raise for days! I find seated, dumbbell lateral raises to be the most effective. When you’re seated, it really reduces the chance of swinging to help lift the weights. However, that being said, you should start out light, don’t try to impress your friends and pick up heavy weights that you can’t do more than 8 reps with without sacrificing form. Especially since volume training is key to building great shoulders, you don’t need to do super heavy lateral raises!! I’ve done 30-50 reps at a time in a single set! So start out light and build your way up. When doing a lateral raise, don’t think about lifting the weight up, you want to avoid engaging your traps because they will take over the exercise! Think about pushing the weight out and reaching for the walls as you lift the weight. Don’t let your elbows drop and point down towardhttp://s the floor. Keep your elbows lifted, reach for the walls, and this will help to isolate your medial delts!

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