4 exercises to build rock solid and healthy shoulders

Building your shoulders has tons of benefits when trying to sculpt an athletic and strong physique. Whether you’re aiming to  push a heavy weight over your head, increase the size of your shoulders or if you’re looking for general stability, there’s no denying that a variety of exercises are needed to fully train the shoulder complex. Here are 4 exercises that you may not have heard of that will stabilise, strengthen and build your shoulders.


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The Y-Press hits the anterior deltoids to a greater extent than a normal shoulder press. Instead of pressing the weight over your head, you should aim to press the weight ‘out’, aiming to make a ‘Y’ shape with your arms. Tip – Imagine you’re driving your shoulders to your ears and your elbows to the ceiling.

Poliquin Raises

The poliquin raise was developed by the Strength Sensei himself, Charles Poliquin. This exercise allows you to eccentrically load the deltoids more by shortening the level (your arms) on the concentric phase of the lift. This is done by simply bending the arms, much like a hammer curl before raising your upper arm until it is level to your shoulders.

Snatch Grip Shrugs

Not only does the snatch grip shrug hit your traps and delts hard, it will also challenge your lats and your grip strength. Due to the wide grip position of your hands, you are at a slight mechanical dis-advantage when performing this lift so a hook grip is recommended (fingers over thumbs) and it’s good practise if you do any Olympic Lifting in your program. Simply take a wide grip on the bar so that thbar sits in the crease of your hips and shrugs your shoulders up (aim for your shoulders to touch your ears). Slowly lower the weight down to the start position and repeat.

Rope Face Pulls

This exercise will challenge your rear delts, traps and rhomboids – essentially it will target your shoulder girdle and your ability to control the movement around your shoulder blades. This exercise looks simple, but notice that the delts and rhomboids are pinched back BEFORE the rope is pulled to the face. This allows for proper function of the shoulder girdle and the proper movement of the shoulder blades throughout the movement. It will also help stop you getting a shoulder impingement which you can thank me for later!


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