I started to gym around 4 months ago - I love the experience and the feeling. One problem I have is that I feel my shoulders are substantially weaker than my other groups - i.e. they limit how intensely I can work my other groups.

I decided to start isolating shoulders twice a week. Is this a good starting point?

Shrugs, Machined Shoulder Press, Lateral Raises, Dumbbell Front Raises.*

(*) Source: toughbodybuilding.com

  • I have the same problem. I too have been isolating my shoulder twice per week, been doing military presses, arnold presses, shrugs, landmines and some other exercises. The shoulders, especially the deltoids are a tough muscle group (at least for me), to stimulate. My shoulders are getting firmer but not bigger, I've been hitting them twice a week now for about 3 months, might need to use heavier weights though.
    – Anto
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 20:15
  • Try praticing frog stand or crow pose or hand stand. You may not able to perform them, but constant pratice can increase you upper body strength which helps you to grab heavier weights.
    – HardGainer
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 9:40

2 Answers 2


This is pretty understandable since shoulders are a difficult muscle to contract and extend completely thus putting a limit on the hypertrophy. I've followed this and substantially increase the size and vascularity in my shoulders.

Note: The deltoids are composed of three different fibres, also referred as heads. Anterior, lateral, and posterior

  1. Anterior or the front delts are much more developed than the other heads, therefore can be limited to compound exercises like overhead press.

  2. Lateral head or the side delts are considerably weaker for beginners so it's imperative to keep good form, time under tension, and leave your ego outside the gym :) Your muscles don't know whether it's 10lbs or 25lbs Starting with dumbbell lateral raises and then add variation with cable lateral raises.

  3. Posterior deltoids or the rear delts are the least used muscles and therefore not as much developed as the other heads. These have to be emphasised more with exercises rear delt raises, W raises, or reverse flys.

So a good split of 1-Compound, 1-Front delts, 1-side delts, 1-rear delts, and 1-shrugs. And depending on your mood that day, you can add 1 exercise to either side or rear delts to emphasize more on that muscle. This will be a good start for shoulders as an all round shoulder development.


It's great to hear that you're enjoying resistance training.

Instead of the exercises you listed, I recommend presses and bench presses. The Aasgaard Company's "Starting Strength" videos might help you start.

Consider exercising thrice weekly (every 48-72 hours), alternating the press with the bench press on successive workouts, for three sets of five repetitions each ("3x5").

Once progress slows or you miss reps on successive sets, switch to five sets of three repetitions each ("5x3"). If you are female then consider switching as soon as the 3x5 gets "hard", before you start missing reps.

On the first workout, work up from the empty bar (20 kg, or smaller, if necessary) to a weight that you can handle safely and with good form for the 3x5.

Be sure to eat a caloric excess and especially lots of protein (1 gram per pound of total bodyweight, per day), and to get enough sleep/rest.

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