How to get broader shoulders: A Simple (But Full) Guide

All men want wide, well-defined shoulders. They represent a certain degree of strength and dominance. Women have broad shoulders for being a desirable physical trait for men and knowing that, we spend all the time …

All men want wide, well-defined shoulders. They represent a certain degree of strength and dominance. Women have broad shoulders for being a desirable physical trait for men and knowing that, we spend all the time (or at least we should do) in the gym training.

Women also seem to appreciate the toned, sleek-looking shoulders because they expose themselves while wearing a tank top, etc.


How to get broader shoulders


Although more important than vanity, there is the functionality of the shoulder area. Ever got hurt on the shoulder? If so, you experience the most pain during your activities. Basically, your arm moves in any direction, shoulders are included in it anytime. Regardless of the balance in the form of a stable curl or elbow extension, your shoulders are still admitted as a movement stabilizer.

When you have a shoulder injury, it can certainly make life difficult. And unfortunately, due to their physical appearance, they are susceptible to injuries. Unlike other joints, the joint of the shoulder does not depend on the skeletal system for stability. Rather, the joint stability of the shoulder comes from surrounding muscles and ligaments. Knowing this, it is important to establish a good shoulder strengthening program to reduce the risk.

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Strong surrounding muscles free of imbalance will greatly reduce the chances of maintaining an injury. Shoulder deltoids (3 muscles) and rotator cuff (4 muscles) are included. To design an effective weight training program, you first need to understand how the shoulder muscles work.

Shoulder training 



The deltoids are composed of 3 “heads”, all of which serve their own individual functions. The 3 parts of the deltoid are the anterior, lateral and posterior but to keep it simple, we’ll just refer to them as the front, middle and rear.

Exercises for Shoulders Anterior/Front

The front head of the deltoid is involved anytime you elevate or push your arm forward. Since the front of the shoulder is trained anytime you do a chest press movement, it usually gets trained enough during your chest workouts and further isolation isn’t necessary.

Although, an exception to this would possibly be during a rehabilitation stage following some sort of injury. In which case, performing front dumbbell raises may be a possible solution. The overhead plate press and the overhead barbell press to the front are also exercises that can be used to strengthen the front of the shoulder.


The middle (lateral) head is the strongest of the deltoid and is responsible for drawing the arm out to the side. With some assistance from the anterior deltoid and the triceps, the lateral delts play a major role in elevating the arm overhead – as in an overhead dumbbell press. Another great movement for the lateral deltoid is the lateral raise exercise. Lateral raises are an awesome way to isolate the muscle.

Rear Delt exercises Posterior/Rear

While the anterior deltoid gets trained anytime you perform a chest press exercise, the rear deltoid gets trained anytime you perform a row-type movement for the upper back and because of that, there isn’t much of a need to perform separate isolation exercises.

The function of the posterior deltoid is to extend the arm back and assist in drawing the arm down, as in a lat pulldown or chin up. If you need to isolate the posterior deltoid, you can do so by performing bent over lateral raises using a set of dumbbells.

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff – which is composed of four muscles – provides stability within the shoulder joint. Each individual muscle within the rotator cuff also serves specific functions.


Along with providing stability to the shoulder joint, the subscapularis is recruited when the arm is rotated internally or when drawn to the sides. The exercises that best replicate these movements are internal rotations and modified cable pull-downs.


The infraspinatus is very susceptible to injury. Only the supraspinatus gets injured more often. The main functions of the infraspinatus are to provide stability to the shoulder (along with the other muscles of the rotator cuff) and to assist the teres minor with external arm rotation.

Of course – as said over and over again – the exercises you select should closely mimic a muscles function so in this case, the external rotation exercise is a great way to strengthen the infraspinatus. The infraspinatus also plays a role when performing pull-down and chin-up exercises.

Teres Minor

The teres minor helps to stabilize the shoulder – especially when the arm is elevated. Like the infraspinatus, the teres minor is also strengthened via external rotation and pulldown/chin-up exercises.


The supraspinatus provides shoulder joint stability and assists the lateral deltoid (middle shoulder) in elevating the arm out to the side. Lateral raises are a great exercise to strengthen the supraspinatus and as mentioned above, the lateral deltoid.

The supraspinatus is very susceptible to injury – even more so than the infraspinatus. The available space between the top of the humerus (upper arm bone) and the roof of the shoulder is very limited. Since the supraspinatus runs through this small space, elevating the arm beyond the height of the shoulder while the palm is positioned downwards can potentially cause an impingement. This impingement is commonly seen in athletes that perform repetitive overhead movements such as swimmers and tennis players.

Once impinged, the muscles and tendons will eventually swell, which decreases the space between the humerus and the “roof” of the shoulder. So pay close attention to your form and for more details on how to train the shoulder region, just review the exercises to your right.

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