Broad Shoulders

Allright guys, I’ve posted a bunch of questions on this site and I’ve always got great and helpful answers, so here’s another one. I’m looking for exercises to help broaden my shoulders, is that possible? Are we like born with a certain width to our shoulders, or can we manipulate it like the rest of our body? Any help would be appreciated. Thanx guys.

About the only way you could “broaden” your shoulders would be to develope your delts. Overhead presses (bar or db) and upright rows are excellent compound movements for the shoulder area. If your delts are particularly stuborn, you might want to add some db laterals.

Sorry JC, you’re born with a certain width…and that’s as wide as you’re gonna get. So the best thing you can do is pack some meat on your shoulders and appear wider!

The best way to broaden your shoulders is to increase your lat width. Wide grip pull downs will do the trick.

Hey guys, thanks a lot, I kinda figured as much about the width thing, but I’m gonna try what you all said and see what happens. Thanks again.

I am in basic agreement with the previous posts. However, I believe that you can certainly do some things to maximize your genetic shoulder width. I have always been a big believer in all varieties of pullups (wide-grip, neutral-grip, and close-grip) for BOTH lat development and the stretching effect that they have on your scapula. And, certainly, all types of pressing movements will add meat to your overall shoulder structure. One trick that I read about many years ago (I think it was something in Musclemag by Zulak) is a modified superset that is performed at the end of your shoulder routine. You begin the sequence by hanging from a chin bar and REALLY feeling the stretch (20-30 seconds). Then you perform a set of “scapular shrugs” This exercise is performed by continuing to hang from the chin bar and, while keeping your arms extended (straight) strongly flex your lats. This results in raising your body a few inches toward the chin bar and forces a strong lat contraction as well as a considerable stretch for the shoulder group. Finally, you do a set of “Reeves Shrugs” which are performed like a regular shrug with the following exceptions. You set up an olympic bar with the plates turned backward so that the lip of the outer-most plate faces the outside of the bar. You grip the lip of the outer plates with your fingers which REALLY stretches the shoulder girdle and perform your shrugs. I usually use only 135lbs on this exercise which has me loading the bar with two 45 lb plates. After this set go back to the chin bar and hang for another 20-30 seconds. I believe that this sequence performed after a brief intense shoulder routine can make a measureable difference in your perceived width. Good luck!

Any exercises that work the medial delts will help give your shoulders a broader look. (e.g. db (side)lateral raises and wide grip up-right rows). Good luck

jc, biacromial width is generally set once you reach your mid-twenties or so (although Musclehead’s suggestions sound intriguing!). However, you can still increase the perceived width of your shoulders quite a bit by packing muscle onto your side delts. Take a look at any frontal shot of Vince Taylor to see what I mean by this. Poliquin had a great shoulder routine in one of his early QOS columns (sorry, I don’t recall which one exactly) that I used to give me another two inches as measured around the outside of my shoulder girdle. (This is like taking a chest measurement, except that instead of wrapping the tape around your chest and under your armpits, you wrap it around your chest and over your shoulders.) The routine involves tri-sets of one-arm lateral raises performed at different angles and with both dumbbells and cables. It’s awesome!

yes, yes you can manipulate how your shoulders are PERCEIVED. the actual width of them is set in stone by your bone structure (you can add a few inches by having awesoome delt development) but i’ve noticed a few things make guys look like they have huge shoulders. 1) large deloid development 2) good development of the trapezius 3) good development of the external rotators. the first thing gives you the appearance of wide looking shoulders while the second two give you the appearance of full thick shoulders which makes you look like you have very broad shoulders. poliquin has routines for the delts, external rotators and traps in his columns, use the search engine. they all work well, i speak from experience.


the mass you will put on your upper back and traps, while it will not broaden your shoulders per se, will make them appear wider

For wider shoulders you going to want to do mostly laterals, specificaly side and reverse laterals. I personaly don’t do much in front laterals, reason being that one I already have good developement there and two most people do so much in pressing movements that you really don’t need to train the anterior deltoids much, and in most cases the area is likily overtrained to a degree. Rowing movements hit the posterior deltoids but they are not the targeted muscle in that movement, so yes they are beneficial to a degree, but considering that most people do not do pulling movements in the quantities that they do pressing movements one must do more than just rowing movements. I have done cable and dumbell laterals, both seem effective, I prefer dumbell laterals over cable though. Variations you can do would be standing single arm side laterals(dumbell or cable), many people prefer to hold onto a piece of equipment for support while doing them. Standing side laterals with both arms(dumbell or cable). For more isolation you can do the side laterals seated. Reverse laterals can also be done with cables or dumbells(for variation, if your gym has a good pec dec machine you can do them on it also)(not the one with the forearm pads)The reverse laterals may also be done standing or seated, seated isolates a bit more. For a variation you can also do them either on a adjustable height flat bench(raised high enough) or on a incline bench adjusted all the way down. I recommend paying more attention to the posterior deltoids than the medial deltoids, I see so many people walking around with extreme medial deltoid development, good anterior deltoid developement and absolutily no posterior deltoid developement, the posterior deltoids add quite a bit in dimension and will add quite a bit to your measurements.