Hardgainer Shoulder Workout: COMPLETE GUIDE

By Ire | Workout

Sep 09

Ever wondered why suit jackets have shoulder pads? Will they protect you if you get tackled? No. It is because big shoulders are a sign of power. Big shoulder makes us look broader. It is a sex symbol. If this is not good enough reason for you to train your shoulders, I don’t know what is.

Hardgainer shoulder workout article will lead you through entire process on how to design a shoulder workout. Shoulder is a fragile joint, therefore it is easy to get an injury. Setbacks stop our progress, which lowers motivation and elongates time to achieve our goals. That is why this article does not give you a workout plan. It goes in depth by explaining anatomy of the shoulder. With that knowledge, we can understand why and how we should train shoulders.  After this article, you should be prepared to attack your shoulder workouts with full confidence. Let the gains begin.

ANATOMY

1. Ball and socket:

On a skeletal level, shoulder is when head of the humerus comes in contact with scapula’s socket. Unlike elbow or knee, this socket does barely engulfs the head. Due to lack of that restriction, we are free to move our arm in many directions.

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2. Rotator cuff:

There are 4 rotator cuff muscles called SITS muscle group. There is no need for you to remember the names, as long as you are aware of their function. SITS muscles are responsible of keeping the head and socket together. Without those muscles, our shoulder would be dislocated.

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3. Deltoid:

It is a big muscle group everybody thinks about when they hear the word: “shoulders”. Deltoid has three heads. Anterior (RED), medial (GREEN) and rear head (BLUE).

Deltoid muscle top10

SAFETY

Now that we understand the anatomy of the shoulder, let’s see how this applies to safe shoulder training.

1. Lack of stability due to excessive mobility:

As I said before, shoulder can move freely due to its socket being open. That kind of mobility causes shoulder to be unstable. (Think about it, buildings do not move, therefore buildings are very stable. Shoulder moves a lot; therefore, it is unstable). If we remember, rotator cuff muscles keep the head of the humerous in its socket at all times. Strong rotator cuff muscles will give shoulder more of something that is lacking – stability. With that being said, rotator cuff muscles are extremely important for shoulder healthy. Unlike many other shoulder workouts, hardgainer shoulder workout will not ignore that muscle group.

2. Give some love to Rear Delts:

Let me fix another common mistake when it comes to training shoulders. It is the trend of overloading front deltoids. When we think about shoulder training, it is often that we think about pressing things overhead. While this is a great way to increasing shoulder size, it is only one part. Overhead pressing is targeting our anterior deltoid muscle head. Equal amount of attention should be brought to other two heads and rotator cuff. Only training font deltoids creates muscular imbalances.

Let’s imagine that anterior deltoid is way bigger as opposed to posterior deltoid head. It is obvious to see that anterior deltoid is going to push the head of the humerus towards the back of the socket, throwing it off balance. (That is why so many people can’t do shoulder presses behind their heads). That off balance is going to cause pain and movement restrictions.

3. Essentric:

I don’t understand how some people do 30 total sets for shoulders. I believe it is because some people are just going through the sets mindlessly. They aren’t concentrating on technique and therefore on essentric part of the movement.
Remember, you are better off if you lower the total volume of sets and really pay attention to what you are doing during the set. Make sure that every repetition is done slowly with focus on the muscle you are targeting. Slowing down the movement will not only guarantee gains, it also lowers the risk of injury.

Hardgainer shoulder workout. Flexing by a bodybuilder in a gym

WHAT EVERY HARDGAINER SHOULDER WORKOUT SHOULD INCLUDE:

1. BALANCED TRAINING:

As I said above, hardgainer shoulder workout should be approached in a smart way. Every head part should get equal amount of attention.

2. MIX IT UP:

Best way to achieve fastest growth is to mix it up. Some might say that the best way to gain muscle size is only lifting light or only lifting heavy. It has been proven that mixing different aspects is the fastest way to achieve muscle mass. There is a reason why some of the best bodybuilders are also incredibly strong.

3. LIGHTER:

Light weight will allow us to specifically focus on the muscle we are trying to target. Remember, it is not about how much weight we are holding in our hands, it is about how much weight the muscle we target is lifting. Therefore; humbling ourselves and going lighter and slower will allow to single out a specific muscle.

4. HEAVIER:

Heavier weight is also important. When we go heavy, only shoulder muscles are not strong enough to lift the weight all by themselves. That is where muscles around the shoulder come and in and help which increases intramuscular coordination (ability of muscles to work together). What is more, heavy lifting maximizes mtor, which is a catalyst that helps with protein synthesis. What that means is that our muscle gain is going to happen faster. Mtor gets maximized when we put more pressure on our body (heavy lifting).

BODYBUILDER IS POSING FOR TH CAMERA

4. WORK THROUGH MULTIPLE AXES AND PLANES:

Shoulder workout is not only about doing presses or raises. As I already said above, if you only do that, you are waiting for an injury. Healthy shoulder is the one, that is being exercised in all three planes.

5. ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES:

Every time we train shoulders, we SHOULD NOT forget about rotator cuff training. Many people believe that rotator cuff muscle group is going to get targeted anyway. Therefore, they skip rotator cuff exercises. Deltoid muscle is way bigger and stronger than rotator cuff and will always take over. That means that we need to focus on rotator cuff SEPERATELY.

6. REASONABLE AMOUNT OF REPETITIONS

Shoulder is not that big of a muscle group, compared to some other ones your body (glutes, chest…). Therefore, we d not need the same amount of repetitions to overload it. Overall repetitions should be around 130. Overtraining is a real thing and we should avoid it.

7. MIND-BODY CONNECTION:

Some people say, “But hey, I do 30 sets every time”. I think some of you are just going through the sets mindlessly. Not paying any attention on technique, speed and targeted muscle. I believe you are better off, if you cut the total amount of reps and sets in half, and do them with focus.

Bodybuilding show. Muscular man flexing

EXERCISES:

ROTATOR CUFF: (These can be done with a dumbell, cabel or a band)
EXTERNAL ROTATION
INTERNAL ROTATION
UPRIGHT EXTERNAL ROTATION
UPRIGHT INTERNAL ROTATION
PLATE STEERING WHEEL

REAR DELTOID:
REVERSE DUMBELL FLY
SEATED ROW (heavy)
FACE PULL
DUMBELL HIP HUGGER (heavy)
UNDERHAND REAR DELT RAISE

MIDDLE DELTOID:
LATERAL RAISES 
DUMBELL HIGH PULL
DUMBELL BUTTERFLY RAISE
BODYWEIGHT SIDE LATERAL RAISE

ANTERIOR DELTOID:
-PUSH PRESS DUMBELL (heavy)
-PLATE FRONT RAISE
-CABLE FRONT DELTOID RAISE 
BENCH PRESS (heavy)
-CRUSH GRIP SHOULDER PRESSOUT
-LANDMINE PRESS (heavy)

Big Muscular Guy with huge shoulders walking down the street

WHICH ONE TO PICK:

1. Warm up for shoulder workout with rotator cuff exercises. Perform all off them in a cycle. These are going to be very light weight with a focus on going through the motion slowly

2.Pick on exercise from each category (Rear,Middle, Anterior). One of those exercises should be heavy weight.

NUMBER OF REPETITIONS:

Since hardgainer’s goal will be increasing size, number of repetitions will be based on that. We will keep our total reps number around 130. It is scientifically proven that 6-12 repetition per set is the best for muscular hypertrophy. Therefore, we will go closer to 12 repetition on lighter exercises and closer to 6 during heavier exercise.

SETS:
Around 15 in total. That is 5 sets per deltoid’s head. I do not count Rotator Cuff in those, since I use it more as a warm up.

BREAK TIME:

Not exact science but keep it to about 1 minute for lighter weights and up to 2 minutes for heavier.

HARDGAINER SHOULDER WORKOUT EXAMPLE:

WARM UP:
Rotator cuff exercises for 3 cycles. In one cycle you do all exercises for 10 reps. Take a minute break in between cycles.

REAR DELTOID:
Reverse DB fly 5×12

MIDDLE DELTOID:
Lateral Raises 5×10

ANTEROID DELTOID:
Push Press with Dumbells 5×8

African American Genlemen working out his biceps

EXTRAS:

1. POPPING/CLICKING SHOULDERS:

Clicking shoulders should not be ignored. There are some stretches and exercises you should practice if you feel popping in your shoulders. However, if you have serious pain, you should see your Physical Therapist.

2. CHANGE IT UP:

Make sure that you do not repeat exactly the same workout for longer than a month. Everything works for a limited amount of time. That is why it is important to change it up every now and then to keep progressing. For that reason, I gave you many different exercise options for targeting each head.

3. TRAINING JOURNAL

Seriously, get yourself a training dairy. In my experience, it has been extremely beneficial. It is a great motivation tool to see your progress over time. It serves as something you can always reflect on and see what works and what doesn’t.

CONCLUSION

With all, you should now have a better idea on how to structure your own hardgainer shoulder workout. When you follow the steps above, you substantially reduce your chances of having a shoulder injury. What is more, your shoulders are going to grow faster than your friend’s.

Now, design your workout, get to work and wait for girls to start noticing a new, more developed version of yourself!

About the Author

Hey, my name is Ire.I am a Personal Trainer/ Strength Coach based in Stockholm, Sweden.When you don't find me in the gym, I will most likely be on a Track and Field stadium throwing around a discus.

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