T Nation

Tips for Shoulder Width?


Does anyone here have any advise on the best exersizes to increase shoulder width? My front and rear delts are much larger than my sides. I have a narrown frame and i need all of the width that I can get. Any advise is appreciated.


Work your middle delts more? -lol.

I had a client last year with the 'narrow' shoulders issue, so in addition to his regular shoulder day, we'd throw in some lateral work after his chest sessions.



Nice, how should my grip be on military presses to emphasize the middle delts more? Wider, shoulder width? So Stu what you are saying on chest day, just exhaust the middle delts after working chest? Did that help your client?


Alright, I'll attempt a productive post in this forum. I have narrow clavicles and my starting body weight in 2006-07 was 146lbs. I made it up to 226lb in 2010...currently inthe 190's but much leaner than i was @ 220's with equal or better strength.

side lateral raises using both heavy(ier) weight + less weight higher volume @ times. overhead pressing both DB and BB. w/ pressing think of the the first 1/2 of the movements ROM, bottom point (variable bependent upon shoulder health and comfort) to the point in the ROM as the DB/BB passes above the forhead and hairline. often times new trainers press up and lock out or go too high w/ the press to make it easier or get a bit of a rest, this top 1/4 of the movement is all triceps and the shoulder is resting.

w/ laterals do leaning away DB laterals w/ lighter weight holding @ the hop part of the ROM and fighting the resistance of gravity as it lowers. when going heavier and you should work up to heavier weight, shoulders grow from stress/maximal load just like other muscles,

the only hitch being because the shoulder has many synergistic variable muscles coming into play to assist you can end up cheating too much w/ the traps if you get too sloppy or you can end up getting hurt because the shoulder is injured commonly from either over use or 360 socket rotation which makes it easier to be injured, less protected from/by recruited stabilizers.

the shoulder is an odd attachment not as protected, wherein the arm and legs have their ying and yang, bi to tri or ham to quad, the shoulder is on it's own w/ only the internal capsule muscles to keep it from getting raped.

lead w/ the elbow, imagine a hook through the elbow and it being pulled on an invisible line up to the ceiling, as long as the elbow is leading the medial deltiods will be doing the work unless you are pitched forward too much then the traps will be over helping.

To give you a fair idea of weight and strength as it varies among all (i fall on the side of weaker in most lifts) i do my heavy side laterals w/ 35-45lb db's and do more volume or drop sets w/ weight in the 20-25lb range. side laterals can when done heavy appear to be a hybrid of a upright row in terms of the bend in the elbow but to do the movement justice it should be and arcing out to the side motion, not in from of the torso as with an upright row.

FOR ME i like 3-5 setsof heavier side laterals after pressing movements followed by volume either a leaning away side raise, cable, or lateral machine w/ some sort of variant of FST7 for blood gorging/pump finish.

biggest mistakes seen are two sides of the same coin, guys using 10-15db for side raises wondering why their shoulders won't grow. imagine pressing the 35lb db all day and wondering why your chest doesn't grom? onter side of the coin...tooo too heavy without using the cheat correctly, working everything but the targeted muscle. no one form is excact for all. straighter arms for some, more bent for others...if the elbow leads the delt gets hit. if it feels worked, you rest and eat and inmonths it has grown than you get a cookie.

there, that felt nice to write something other than ball busting bullshit. OP that insight will cost you 55.00 dollars according to the fee conrracts under CYRUSINC.LLC


Stu. you're reply was far more concise. mine was just blab blab blab.....


Cyrus, thanks for that post. That helps alot. I too have narrow clavicles and it is a bitch trying to get these shoulders as big as i would like for them to be.


so what is the minimum rep range on delt raises that you would recommend? I normally go no less than 10? should i try and go heavier to a 6 rep set to stimulate more growth?


Yeah, but you touched on good points. I make use of shortened ROM DB presses and leaning away laterals myself. The only difference is that I prefer to do strict DB laterals first, and then move to the leaning away, with the heaviest weight I can use a little body english to get up, then focusing on trying to fight in on the decent.

Good stuff though... and Yes BSC819, the extra medial head work did indeed make a difference.



Proxy for Stu. when you press wide where do you feel it? when you press narrower where do you feel it? w/ barbells FOR ME i tend to use a suicide type grip and stay narrow which does incorportate more triceps but it feels better for my shoulders than going wide. i also like to stay in the bottom 2/3 of that press as well. typically i can do these on the smith machine, if using a traditional barbell i stay much more aware of my grip for safety reasons.

going against the grain w/ the smith machine i also like to set the safety(s) so at the bottom of the rep i can set it, rest, then explode w/ the next rep.


shit stu didn't mean to proxy if you're still here typing i have to run. in terms of rep ranges...eventually you'll develop your own cadence and ideal number. if you are only getting 6 or so heavy, keep another set of db near by and drop to them to get another 6 reps + thereafter. rest pause w/ laterals is tricky if you have your hands strapped to them, if not seteem down, count to 10-15 get a few more reps, repeat. do this until you've made six reps into 10-12+ then you've now finished a set w/ a weight whereby you would have only previously had gotten 6 reps. this + food = profit.

*concur- the extra medial work is always helpful.


side raises
i always do 12-15 rep sets bc my wrists start to hurt when i go heavy. anyway my traps/rear delts tend to take over unless i do a couple "activation" sets. aka use light DB's, raise just below shoulders, pause, lower 3/4 the way down, repeat.

BTN presses
only press i feel any delts in. otherwise my tri's take over

oh and pounding my rear delts before doing lateral raises seems to help me feel LD's more


Heavy partial LRs seem to be working for me. Look up John Meadows' T-Nation article on shoulders or watch the vid of CT and Prof X doing shoulders from about a month ago in the Training Lab. The partial ROM lets you take the traps out of the movement completely.

The key, at least for me, is to keep constant tension on the shoulders while doing them. Don't let the DBs just drop to your sides on the eccentric. I like to try to keep them from touching my legs at all. You should do these for higher reps too (20+).


I actually don't do partials for shoulders very often. I will add them back in probably when I go back to gaining because I will be using more weight.

One of the biggest things that blew my shoulders up...was training them more than onee a week.


I'll add this, I'm starting to think mid deltoid work is a bit overrated.

In the months leading to my DC blast, i did a lot of medial delt work, and results weren't that great.
Now, the overall pump I'm getting from BTN Presses and Smith High Inclines so far has been making me reconsider what I knew about lateral raises and shoulder training...



It isn't. If you want wide shoulders, get to doing side laterals with more than 65lbs and tell me they don't look like cannon balls.

My shoulders were not always a strong point at all. I go pretty heavy on side lateral exercises though.

You don't build them with light weight.

You may refine what you built that way, but it won't put the size on.


hey profx, can you expand on this please? were both sessions identical? or one heavy, one light. one compound, one isolation. how far apart were the workouts, etc.

trying to work on shoulders as theyre my main weak point. thanks.


I did the same shit each time...overhead presses (there was about a year of using the smith machine for this after using a barbell and being told by MANY oldheads that it would fuck my shoulders up), lateral raises, shrugs, rear delts. My training sessions for shoulders, back and legs are my longest.

the only time I backed off was if I experienced joint inflammation...or when I was injured. It took a lot of pain to keep my shoulders from shrinking after that accident.


thanks, im gonna try doing shoulders twice a week heavy then. ive tried it before where i did one heavy, then one light later on in the week, but didnt notice much difference in gains.


plastic surgery implants LOL

being serious (sometimes), heavier dbs side laterals one session (i use 18/20kg without any body english) one session,the other lighter weights for higher reps (15/20),take your shoulders "retracted" to avoid traps involvement (there is a video of wojo on youtube),about MP and delts width,done it very rarely in last 3 years and last week i lifted MP one of my 80kg buddies with easy,so credits to Stu who always wrote that benching is enough for front delt (for delts dominant benchers for sure...), 4sets of dbs raises 2 times per week busting your ass????


are you saying BB or smith over head pressing will fuck w/ shoulders?