We’ve all heard the expression “shoulders make the man,” and that old maxim definitely still applies. Although big arms and a great midsection are often lauded as the hallmarks of an ideal body, the simple fact of the matter is that you spend most of your time in clothes, and no one can see those body parts all covered up.
Not so with shoulders. A good set of wide, dense, well-developed shoulders are visible through any article of clothing. For guys, such development stretches your T-shirts across your upper body and makes you stand out in the boardroom even in the most mundane of suits. If you only have 15 minutes to train your shoulders, the following workout is exactly what you need.
Consisting of four of the best deltoid exercises in the world, this training program will target all facets of shoulder development: strength, size, stability, and even overall shoulder health.
The big daddy of shoulder movements, the push press is a standing overhead press in which you use leg drive to propel the weight explosively upward. Explosive exercises are incredible for developing strength and speed; in addition, they allow you to use more weight than you would with a nonexplosive movement. This push press allows for greater mass development of the entire deltoid muscle group. You can do this with dumbbells, but in an ideal world, you’ll do it with a barbell. Make sure you load it up with some weight!
Bent Over Lateral Raise
This exercise targets the rear part of the deltoid, working many small muscles that aid shoulder stability. Bend my legs slightly and maintain your lordotic curve. When you try it, “crack” the knees slightly and hitch at the waist, going as low as you can without rounding at the lower back. As you fatigue, you can lessen the bend slightly, coming up to 45 degrees. This will allow the medial part of the deltoid to kick in to assist, making for a much more effective variation of the exercise.
Using dumbbells, press the weights up and out at a 45-degree angle—at the end of the rep, you’ll resemble the letter “Y.” Doing so requires a lot of the unsung heroes of shoulder training to fire and develop. Unlike a traditional dumbbell overhead press, a Y-press forces a good number of posterior muscles to fire in an attempt to stabilize the weight. Over time, this will increase both strength and stability, helping to prevent injury as well as add to flexibility.
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Overhead Barbell Pass
Also known as the alternating javelin press, this is one of the most technical and innovative shoulder exercises I’ve come across. Perform it by holding a barbell lengthwise and pressing upward, passing the barbell from one hand to the other while it is directly over your head.
Much like the Y-press, the overhead barbell pass will depend heavily on the engagement of stabilizer muscles surrounding the shoulder. In addition, because you are holding the barbell in this fashion, the overhead pass also increases balance, stability and grip strength.
Finally, because this qualifies as a unilateral exercise, the overhead barbell pass recruits a tremendous amount of high-threshold motor units (HTMUs), which have exceptional potential for growth—meaning that this exercise is also great for increasing size in a hurry.
The Shoulder Workout
A) Push Press
Rest: 60 seconds between sets
B1) Bent Over Lateral Raise
Rest: 30 seconds, then proceed to B2
Rest: 30 seconds, then return to B1. After your second set, rest 90 seconds and proceed to C.
C) Overhead Barbell Pass
Rest: 60 seconds between sets.
There you have it: Your key to bigger, stronger and healthier shoulders—all in just 15 minutes! Try this workout if you’re crunched for time, or if you just need to shake things up a bit.