Mass-Building Shoulder Workout

Shoulder Workout
(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

This three-move mass-building shoulder workout will exhaust your shoulder muscles for speedy new growth.

Rest for two to three minutes between exercises and for one minute between sets. Maintain good form throughout and don't use momentum to complete reps. Warm up with 10 easy minutes on a rowing machine and away you go.

If you want more shoulder sessions, browse our selection of shoulder workouts.

1 Neutral-grip shoulder press

Sets 3  Reps 8

Target front and mid-shoulders

Why it works Using a neutral grip avoids placing vertical pressure on the vulnerable part of the shoulder joint. This move starts the workout with a big, mass-moving exercise when the most energy is available for the greatest muscle fatigue. 

How:= Brace your core and keep your lower back unstressed. Keep your palms facing each other. Press up explosively. Pause at the top to stabilise the weight.   

2 Quarter-rep lateral dumbbell raise

Man demonstrating quarter-rep lateral raise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side

Target mid-shoulders

Why it works By stopping halfway through the lowering contraction and starting again from there, you maintain greater tension with less weight, increasing the training effect. 

How Pause for a second halfway through the lowering phase. Lift the weight straight up and out in line with your shoulders. Don’t lift the weight above shoulder height.

3 Straight-arm dumbbell kick-back

Man showing two positions of the straight-arm dumbbell kick-back exercise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 2 Reps 10 

Target rear shoulders

Why it works The rear shoulders are often missed out of workouts completely because they’re hard to target. This move hits them individually, allowing you to concentrate on working them hard.

How Brace your core and lock your torso in place. Use a weight that you can control properly. Hold at the top of the rep for two seconds.  Lower slowly for extra tension.

4 Shoulder stretch

Put both hands behind your back and grasp one with the other. Pull your shoulders back and pull your hands apart until you feel the stretch in your shoulders. Hold for ten to 30 seconds and repeat five times.

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.