In this post, we are going to talk about how to build incredibly muscular shoulders, naturally, without the use of steroids.
Now, interestingly enough, big shoulders are ‘typically’ a sign of drug use. The reason is because the shoulders have the highest anabolic receptors of nearly any muscle group. As a result, when men go on steroids, they tend to experience a lot of muscle growth onto their shoulders.
Building impressive shoulder size naturally is a lot more difficult. That said, I’m pretty damn confident I nailed it! Really, it comes down to two things:
- Getting really strong at overhead pressing (reverse pyramid style)
- Getting in a lot of volume on lateral raises (rest pause style)
Now, here’s the thing, I see a lot of trainers and ‘fitness experts’ trying to reduce the importance of heavy overhead pressing. In their eyes, they don’t see how overhead pressing can be that great for the shoulders, as it tends to involve the front head of the delt, the most.
The medial delt (middle head of the shoulder), is really what creates the rounded, capped, shoulder look! So in their eyes, shoulder pressing isn’t that effective for building big shoulders.
Granted, I understand where they are coming from, but I disagree completely! You see, here’s the truth! Heavy overhead pressing is responsible for about 75-80% of muscle growth to the shoulders.
The other 20-25% comes from the isolation movements.
Do You Need To Overhead Press To Get Great Great Shoulders?
Here’s the reality, at the end of the day, how strong are you going to get on lateral raises? The answer, not very strong. Remember, progressive overload is the main driver of muscle growth.
High rep isolation work, definitely has its place when it comes to maximizing shoulder development. But, it’s relatively trivial compared to heavy overhead pressing.
What do you think is going to happen to your shoulders, if you go from overhead pressing a 90 lbs barbell to overhead pressing your bodyweight, for reps?
Your shoulders will grow incredibly well. There’s simply no getting around that. In fact, I challenge you to drop all overhead pressing, and just perform lateral raises for shoulders.
Within, two weeks, you will notice a drop in shoulder size. No amount of isolation work can replace the power of heavy overhead pressing! I actually did this as an experiment one to two weeks ago.
What happened? My shoulders started to become a lot smaller. Then, I just did heavy overhead pressing with zero isolation work. My shoulders started to fill out again.
That said, adding in the rest pause lateral raises 1-2x per week, is like the icing on top of the cake. That’s what really helps to complete the shoulders and provide a little more fullness!
What Does My Shoulder Development Look Like?
The reason, very few people have great shoulders and shoulders are a sign of power and masculinity. By taking my shoulders to their absolute natural potential, I stand out like a gawd among men ;). Okay, that was cocky, I’m kidding, well sort of haha.
My favorite method for building insane shoulders is actually in my Superhero Bulking Program. In phase two of the superhero program, it’s the shoulder phase.
Two months of the shoulder phase will pack more muscle onto your shoulders than most people gain in years of lifting!
Here Are The Overhead Pressing Strength Standards
Ah, yes, I almost forgot! Everyone always asks me for strength standards. They want a goal to shoot for! Well here are the strength standards for the standing overhead press!
Decent – 0.7x bodyweight for 5 reps
Good – 0.8x bodyweight for 5 reps
Warrior – 0.9x bodyweight for 5 reps
Greek God – 1x bodyweight for 5 reps
Superhero – 1.1x bodyweight for 5 reps
The warrior level is where your shoulders will really start to stand out! Greek God level, people will ask if you’re taking drugs or they’ll just assume you have some crazy genetics!
If you get to the superhero level, well dammit, you may just be a walking superhero, because that’s some world class strength!
This Is The Importance Of Overhead Pressing
Each and every one of my courses, utilizes heavy overhead pressing! Even in my bodyweight course, I have you building up to full range handstand push ups. Overhead pressing is, as I see it, an essential exercise that you must perform!