Boulder Shoulder Workout (HIT ALL 3 HEADS!)

If you are looking for a boulder shoulder workout to get bigger delts, then you’ve come to the right place. In this video, I am going to show you a workout to get bigger shoulders by hitting all three heads – the front delt, middle delt, and rear delt. I am not only going to show you what exercises to do, but I am going to give you the sets and reps too so you have a game plan for big delts.

In order to get big delts, you need to target all three heads to create a rounded, full looking shoulder. That means effectively targeting each one through exercise selection and performance. That means getting a full contraction as well as achieving stretch on the individual muscles too.

To begin this workout for big shoulders, we need to start pressing and start pressing heavy. Grab a pair of dumbbells and perform the seesaw press; pressing one dumbbell up overhead and lowering the other at the same time. You want to imagine yourself not just letting the weight lower on its own, but to actively pull it down. If you want to, you can substitute the seesaw press with a heavy barbell overhead press or even a landmine press. Any of these options are a great choice and are perfectly fine to overload the delts in a pressing motion.

Grab a weight that will allow you to fail in the 8-10 rep range for your first set. On your second set, you will be using a weight that causes failure in the 6-8 rep range. On sets 3 and 4, you will use the same weight, utilizing rest-pause to achieve your target reps if need be. Immediately finishing sets 3 and 4, you will drop a single dumbbell and perform over & backs to failure. If you chose the OHP, you will be performing a push press. Decided to do the landmine press? Great, just perform a landmine thruster as your burnout.

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Next up, we have to target the middle delt in our boulder shoulder workout and the exercise we are going to utilize here is the cable lateral row. The alternative option to perform here is the side lying lateral raise, done with simply a bench and a dumbbell. These exercises are great options in any shoulder workout because the nature of the movements places the middle and rear delts on stretch. We know that in order to achieve maximum muscle activation, taking a muscle through full stretch into full contraction is key.

For this exercise you will be performing 3 sets of 8-10 reps on each side

The third spot of this workout for big shoulders is reserved for targeting the middle and rear delts together with a heavier weight option. This exercise selection is the hip hugger. It is important to note that you want to bring your elbows back behind and away from your body. Too often, when I see this exercise performed, people end up doing a regular shrug. Shrugging the weight up isn’t going to hit the delts effectively, in fact, you’d be targeting your traps instead. If you do the hip huggers correctly, you are going to light up those rear and middle delts.

You will be doing this exercise for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Now, to create a full, rounded, boulder looking shoulder, you NEED to hit the rear delts. Too often we focus on the fullness of the front and middle delts whilst forgetting about the smaller muscle head on the backside. If we are going to hit this muscle, then what better way to do it than with my favorite exercise; the facepull?! The key here is to make sure that you are getting those elbows and hands as far back as we can to not only achieve the maximum amount of external rotation, but to take the muscle through to its fully contracted state.


The facepull is done for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Last but not least in our workout for bigger shoulders, you are going to perform either the incline stretch front raise or the cable stretch front raise. Either option here is great for putting the front delt on stretch prior to achieving its contracted position. With the dumbbells, you are allowing gravity and the weight of the dumbbells to pull your arms into extension behind your body. In the case of the cables, they too are pulling your arms back behind your body into extension.

Either option you choose, you are doing them for 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.

I’ve laid out this workout step-by-step at

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36 thoughts on “Boulder Shoulder Workout (HIT ALL 3 HEADS!)

  1. ATHLEAN-X™ says:

    “FAST ACTION” Q&A* – Leave your most burning question about this video or any other training, PT or nutrition question within the first 2 hours of this video’s release (AS A SEPARATE COMMENT!!) and I will pick 8 to get a detailed reply from me right here in the comments. Answers will be posted within the first 24-48 hours of you leaving the question. Good luck!

  2. Camilo says:

    I love your routines Jeff, watching your videos I learned how to build my own routines (and never forget corrective exercises). For years, long before I started training, I have had problems with my back, it would be great if you made a video on how to train and build a proper routine when you suffer from lower back pain. I know that your experience training with shoulder and knee problems will give us a great video. Greetings from Mexico.

  3. Aj says:

    Thanks Jeff, I did 2 sets of this workout for 10 mins now my delts are bigger than Derek’s from MPMD.

  4. Konia Chocho says:

    Hey Jeff I wanted to ask a question: is it a good idea to take longer rest periods (around a week) from time to time to give the muscle more time to recover or is my one day per week rest enough

  5. 96Piotre says:

    Hey Jeff! Burning fitness question here: I’m using circuit training to save time on my workouts. Usually I do six exercises in a row with little rest, then I rest for two to three minutes. I repeat the circuit three times.
    I choose my exercises so they hit my whole body to avoid overworking any one muscle group.
    Is this a valid strategy for building strength and how can I improve it?

    • Santiago JJ says:

      Pretty good strategy for building endurance and athleticism but if I were you I’d incorporate a a couple days out of the week to do a standard 6-12 rep 4 set per exercise with at least 30 seconds or more rest between sets to really try and max out on size and strength. Or alternatively just do a more standard 4 sets before you’re too tired from circuits to really try and push some weight, start small and increase weight each set

  6. Hypnotard series 1 says:

    I just started Getting serious about shoulder work 7 months ago, Jeff your videos have been invaluable brother. Thanks for helping reach my potential finally at 50!

  7. dirkdogger11 says:

    Hey Jeff – I use the TNT Delt add-on for AX-1. Would you recommend alternating this in with that, one week one, the other week two? Or how would you incorporate this if the TNT Delt is my go-to shoulder workout? Thank you!

  8. Shanthi Subramanian says:

    Nice one Jeff. I like the well rounded nature (front, middle and rear). One question I have is the frequency of this routine in a 6 day workout week (Mon – Sat, pull,push,legs with an off day in between).

  9. Jacob Heimer says:

    Thanks again for being the entire reason I could build muscle while gaining strength and better mobility after a shoulder injury

  10. Jacob Hollis says:

    Me and my brother have been following this channel since 2012 I’m a 19 year old and I recently lost 150+ pounds I would say a majority of it was around 2 years ago Ive recently been gaining a lot of upper body mass all while losing weight slowly but I still have a lot of lower back and abdominal fat will getting bigger legs/back help me fill in from how much weight I lost

  11. Steve Heir says:

    Structurally I have always had rounded shoulders but my main focus has only recently been on the rear delts for better posture and the aesthetic effect of a wider muscle. I’ve probably tried all your exercises for dumbbells and bands but still not sure which is going to work best for me. Some say go light but I don’t think that’s doing it. What do you think? Thanks

  12. Ephraim Montoya says:

    Que Vuelta Jeff homie . Just want to say thank you for believing in me and making more videos . All of my progress in mostly because of you showing me the ropes . Thank you , good man.

  13. Jetcher says:

    Jeff told me to skip shoulders to wait for this program, but little did he know this was already my shoulder program because of everything I’ve learned from him. Thanks for the videos, keep up the good work!

  14. Annas Ayaz says:

    Coach Jeff! You are the reason I started training. Because I found your channel in 2020 and I was amazed by your physique and I want to look like you. BTW I’m 16 right now and I’m so thankful that I found you so that I want end up injuring myself.

  15. Isaac Raj says:

    Love the side lying lateral raise. Started doing them after seeing Arnold do them on Pumping Iron, but they’ve helped my rotator cuff become more stable too

  16. Hal Schnee says:

    Great set of exercises! My question is how this workout fits into the pull/push/legs split that Jeff prefers. This shoulder workout looks pretty exhausting on its own. After doing all of these exercises, I wouldn’t have much left for chest and triceps (the other push exercises). And this workout includes some pull movements . . . so what is the best way to include this workout in a complete program?

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