Wider shoulders are one of the most important parts of a well developed physique. But most people struggle with how to get wide shoulders – myself included. A few months ago I challenged myself to see just how much I could grow my shoulders if I used the right shoulder exercises (such as lateral raises) and the right training plan. I'll be honest, my shoulders have never looked better. Here's exactly what I did.

Click below for a step by step plan training plan that reveals all the best exercises you should do for each and every muscle group: https://builtwithscience.com/bws-free-fitness-quiz/gender/?utm_source=YouTube&utm_medium=Video&utm_campaign=How+I+Grew+Wider+Shoulders+FAST+%285+Science-Based+Tips%29&utm_term=05%2F03%2F2023

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The first tweak has to do with exercise selection. While the front delts and rear delts are helpful to build overall shoulder mass, the key to getting wider, broader shoulders from the front and back view is to grow the side delts. And what came out on top when we tested 17 shoulder exercises to see which ones best activated the 3 different regions of the shoulder in a past video? Lateral raises. But I didn’t just do your typical lateral raise. You see, there’s been a lot of new research on “muscle stretch” and how it can help you build muscle faster. The problem with your typical dumbbell lateral raise is they’re hardest at the top when the shoulder is fully contracted. The opposite of what we’re looking for. So my “secret” weapon was the behind the body cable lateral raises. I stand in front and slightly to the side so my delt is fully stretched and challenged the most when in this position.

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Next up, training volume. Generally, research suggests it takes muscles around 36-48 hours to fully recover. This would mean if you wanted to maximize growth, you could train the same muscle up to a max of about 3 or 4 times a week. So what did I do to get wider shoulders? While I definitely could have bumped it up to 3 times a week, twice a week fit my workout routine better and still worked incredibly well because of the other tweaks you’ll learn about. As for actual volume? On one day, I’d do 4 sets of the dumbbell lateral raise either standing or on a bench, and then a few days later I’d train them with another 4 sets but using the cable lateral raise mentioned earlier.

The next tip to get bigger shoulders has to do with weight. The further away a weight is from the joint that is moving it, the heavier it will feel. This is what makes even a really lightweight feel extremely heavy during lateral raises. For me personally as soon as I try to go above 35 lb dumbbells I start to cheat way too much. To avoid this, I took advantage of the fact that research suggests you can use a light weight and do up to 30 reps with it before it becomes too light and less effective for growth. To apply this, I’d stick with the same weight and only once I could do at least 15-20 reps with good, controlled form on all of my sets would I then jump up by 5 lbs and repeat the process. But guys, it’s crucial you don’t rush this process.

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Next tip on how to get wider shoulders: intensity. Honestly, this is the tweak I think made the biggest difference. A study shows that for the side delts to reach full muscle activation during lateral raises, subjects had to push to at least within around 3-5 reps short of complete failure. And to maximize growth, plenty of research suggests each of your sets need to be taken to at least within 3 reps of complete failure. Problem is, I guarantee that during your lateral raises many of you are stopping well short of this. Trust me, even if you think you’re done and even when your shoulders are burning, you’ve still got more.

The last piece of advice, while not strictly related to your shoulder workout training, is the most important. It has to do with my diet. A recent meta-analysis suggests that a calorie surplus is likely necessary to maximize growth. For those following me on Instagram (instagram.com/jeremyethier ), you know I’ve been bulking for almost a year now. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been mentally tough seeing more fat gain over the months. But I’ve noticed a big difference in my muscle size. And, once I diet to lose the excess fat, I guarantee that my shoulder gains will become even more noticeable. So if you truly want to make noticeable new muscle gains, make sure you’re eating enough. But guys don’t forget to grow your front delts and rear delts as well. These are key to balance out your shoulders and give them that 3D look!

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25 thoughts on “How I Grew Wider Shoulders FAST (5 Science-Based Tips)”
  1. Jeremy back with another great vid! Been following you for a long time and really appreciate the awesome content

  2. Trick I learned: Concentrate on NOT using your traps to cheat. Don’t shrug while lifting. Helped me a lot

    1. @Tien1million It’s ok if they activate. They have to. Just don’t make it the dominant muscle in the exercise.

    2. I did shoulders yesterday and today I an resting, i hope tomorrow it will recover

  3. I recently tore my rotator cuff. Will you ever consider doing a video where you show exercises that can be done with minor but permanent injuries like this one?

  4. Excellent vid. Thank you. I wonder if strong side delts have any useful purpose in real life.

  5. Thank you for the content. Always of high quality and well researched. I haven’t seen Jeremy’s video in a while and today it reminded again me that in life what matters most is to be centered and happy. Life is a repetitive process so it’s important that we are prioritizing wholeness and wellness as we seek to expand our joy. The idea of waking up everyday and solely focusing on growing muscles can be an exhaustive process. So as much as you are bulking up and looking esthetically your best, be sure that you are also healthy, centered and happy in other parts of your life. Simply looking aesthetically attractive is a good goal if it in fact makes your life better. I send you reading good vibes!

  6. Try lateral raises drop-set, it’s literal torture but my shoulders have grown drastically since I started

    1. Do you take a short break between each set or do you just keep going? I’ve been doing that from 15-10-5 lbs for 15-25 reps with around 6 seconds break and it burns like crazy.

    2. @John Sevilla yeah essentially the time picking up the new weight and getting into position is the time I take between, although I usually perform the whole drop-set twice with a little less volume the second time. I take a fairly long break between the first and second whole drop-set.

    3. Oh ya running the rack down to 2.5lbs doing lu raises has greatly blown up my side delts

  7. Game-changer for my side delts was pushing past failure on lateral raises with mechanical drop sets. Do regular lateral raises leaning fwd on a slight incline bench, then when u hit failure stand and do 5 standing with the same weight, then do 5 slow upright rows. Do 3 sets of that. I promise your delts will explode.

  8. wow you know as a Filipino as well, I’m glad I watched this video, I’m looking for a way to develop my Shoulders.

  9. Wow Amazing Work Jeremy. What you have achieved is Remarkable. You are a True Inspiration to us All

  10. I don’t think your shoulders are the problem. A key to wider shoulders is how wide your back is.
    Maybe you can do an additional video on how you brought your back to the next level.

  11. I would think the behind the back lateral raise would bias the supraspinatus much more. That’s why some folks do the opposite and pre-angle the movement 15ish degrees to better target the delt instead of using momentum from the supraspinatus

  12. I hit shoulders every time I’m at the gym.
    Also do cheat reps after failure

  13. Cute GF
    Thanks Jeremy I will I added the cable variations at the end of my lower day and for lateral raises to the next V-shape day (shoulders + deadlift and kneeling pull up)

  14. Flaring your lats is indeed the fastest way to grow your shoulders for a video thumbnail

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