How to Get Wider Shoulders 5 Science-Based Tips for Big Shoulder Gains


 How to Get Wider Shoulders 5 Science-Based Tips for Big Shoulder Gains

Wider shoulders are a coveted feature in a well-developed physique. They not only contribute to a V-shaped appearance but also create the illusion of a smaller waist. However, achieving broader shoulders can be a challenge for many individuals. As someone who has personally struggled with this, I decided to embark on a journey to grow my shoulders using the right exercises and training plan. The results have been remarkable, and in this article, I will share my experience and provide you with 5 science-based tips to help you get wider shoulders.

1. Exercise Selection for Shoulder Mass

When it comes to building wider shoulders, it's important to focus on exercises that target the side delts specifically. While front and rear delts contribute to overall shoulder mass, the side delts are key to achieving that broader appearance.

Research has shown that exercises like shoulder presses primarily activate and grow the front delts, rather than the side delts. To isolate and challenge the side delts effectively, lateral raises are the go-to exercise. However, I took it a step further by incorporating a variation called behind-the-body cable lateral raises.

This exercise allows for a full stretch and challenge of the side delts, promoting optimal muscle growth. While traditional dumbbell lateral raises are hardest at the top, the behind-the-body cable lateral raise places the side delts in a fully stretched position, maximizing their activation.

2. Training Volume and Frequency

Shoulders have the ability to recover relatively quickly compared to other muscle groups. Research suggests that it takes approximately 36 to 48 hours for muscles to fully recover. With this in mind, it is possible to train the shoulders up to three or four times a week to maximize growth.

Personally, I found that training my shoulders twice a week fit well with my routine. On one day, I performed four sets of dumbbell lateral raises, either standing or on a bench. A few days later, I incorporated another four sets of cable lateral raises using the behind-the-body technique.

It's crucial to find a balance between training volume and frequency. Pushing your shoulders beyond their recovery capacity can hinder growth. By finding the right training frequency and volume, you can optimize your shoulder gains.

3. Progressive Overload and Weight Selection

Progressive overload is a fundamental principle of muscle growth. To continue making gains, it's important to gradually increase the weight or intensity of your exercises over time. This applies to shoulder training as well.

In the case of lateral raises, there's a unique feature to consider. The further away a weight is from your body, the heavier it will feel. This phenomenon can be utilized to challenge your side delts even with lighter weights.

Research suggests that using a lightweight and performing up to 30 reps before the weight becomes too light can promote muscle growth. By sticking to the same weight and increasing reps from 15 to 20 with good form, you can gradually progress and then increase the weight by five pounds.

4. Intensity and Pushing Through Limits

During lateral raises, intensity plays a crucial role in muscle activation and growth. Studies have shown that to achieve maximum muscle activation in the side delts, you should push yourself to within three to five reps short of complete failure.

For optimal growth, it's recommended to take each set to within three reps of failure. Many individuals tend to stop short of this point, limiting their potential gains. By mentally pushing through the burn and discomfort, you can squeeze out a few more reps and stimulate greater muscle growth.

5. Nutrition and Caloric Surplus

While it's possible to build some muscle in a calorie deficit or at maintenance calories, research suggests that a caloric surplus is necessary to maximize muscle growth. This means consuming more calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight.

Maintaining a consistent caloric surplus is essential for providing your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to support muscle growth. Incorporating a balanced diet that includes sources of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats is key.

It's important to note that during a bulking phase, some fat gain is expected. However, once you've gained the desired muscle size, you can adjust your diet to lose the excess fat while maintaining the size and shape of your shoulders.

In conclusion, growing wider shoulders is achievable with the right exercises, training plan, and nutrition. By focusing on exercises that target the side delts, optimizing training volume and frequency, implementing progressive overload, pushing through intensity, and maintaining a caloric surplus, you can make significant gains in your shoulder development. Remember, consistency and patience are key on this journey to achieving broader and stronger shoulders.


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