Best Shoulder Exercises For Mass: Target All 3 Heads

When it comes to building massive boulder shoulders and identifying the best shoulder exercises for mass and size, many people take the wrong approach. This leads to dozens and dozens of hours in the gym is wasted and not helping you advance towards your end goal.

People either forget or do not realize that there are three different heads to the deltoid muscle and that you need to work on each of them individually in order to achieve that overall swole look. Otherwise you will have unbalanced shoulders that look all over the place and not a circular, even aesthetic that you are undoubtedly looking for.

There are many factors that go into achieving the right type of mass that you are looking for, most notably in the form of sets, reps, rest times, rep schemes and certain finishing moves. Any combinations of these variables are going to achieve differing results which is why it is important that you place close attention to these factors.

There are so many different exercises that you can do directly and indirectly for your shoulders that it can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing as to which ones are best suited for your needs.


In order to identify the best shoulder exercise for mass and size, you will need to structure your workouts carefully. The exercises that are most demanding will have to be completed at the start of the workout so you can get the most bang for your buck out of it.

This multi-joint move should then be followed by another multi-joint move. After these two main lifts have been completed, you can then move onto three single-joint moves, one for each of your heads in your delts; rear, middle and front.

This is the starting blocks for you and your mass shoulders workout. It is important to have the volume at a high level as this will further increase the amount of muscle growth that will occur.

There are small little tweaks you can make to standard shoulder exercise in order to make them even more effective when striving towards your mass goals. By using dumbbells instead of a barbell when doing your shoulder presses you will have a bit more trouble trying to control the weights and you will have a greater range of motion, both of which will help increase the intensity and time your muscles are under tension for.

The longer and harder your muscles are under tension, the more muscle tears will be created and you will subsequently build more muscle when your body has sufficiently recovered from the damage.

A reverse pyramid scheme is useful as you are able to maximise volume before hitting failure. Use heavy weights for the first couple of sets and as you start to get tired, go for a bit higher reps, decreasing the weight slightly as you go. You should also ensure that you have a spotter helping you as they will help you to squeeze out extra half reps by helping you on the difficult parts of the move while still getting a lot of the benefits just like you would doing the exercise independently.

reverse pyramid training

When you do chest day, you are working your front delts quite a lot. The middle delts will also get worked hard when you are doing any moves that involve pressing weight overhead. This is why you will usually find that the rear delts are the weakest muscle heads of the delts.

This is why it is a good idea to train them before you train them before the other two as you will be able to give more energy towards them allowing you to elicit more of a growth response as a result.

It goes without saying that if you are one of those rare individuals whose rear delts are one of their stronger heads, then you should shuffle the shoulder workout so your weakest head is being worked first of all.

Here is a good sample workout for creating massive shoulders with some of the best shoulder exercises for mass

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

4 sets

2 minutes rest in between sets

6 reps, 6 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps

seated dumbell press

Seated Military Press

4 sets

2 minutes rest in between sets

6 reps, 6 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps

seated military pressSeated Bent Over Rear Delt Raise

3 sets

1-minute rest in between sets

8 reps, 10 reps, 12 reps


Side Lateral Raise

3 sets

1-minute rest in between sets

8 reps, 10 reps, 12 reps

side lateral raise

Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head

1-minute rest in between sets

8 reps, 10 reps, 12 reps



In order to create the illusion of having extremely wide shoulders, working on your mid delts will help you to realize this goal. It allows your v-taper to be more pronounced and helps make your waist look like it is smaller than it may be.

By changing up the angles of traditional shoulder exercises you can target the mid delts more effectively. For example, if you do a seated lateral dumbbell raise, your muscles are going to be working a lot harder in your mid delts as there is less room for you to use other muscles to perform the exercise.

This is why you often see people in the gym performing this move incorrectly; they are using momentum and other muscles to do the move rather than dropping down the weights and allowing the mid delts to go to town.


Even a lot of bodybuilding professionals have rear delts that lag behind the rest of their physique so it is not just rookies who experience these issues. In most pressing movements the rear delts are going to be overshadowed by the other heads. This is why special attention is needed.

Keeping your mind focused on the muscle is important when working the rear delts as other heads can take the emphasis away on certain moves. Make sure you squeeze the rear delt right throughout the move and ensure that you are using a weight that you can complete the exercise with without sacrificing any form. The form is vital when doing rear delt moves.