Shoulder Workout Routine

The shoulder workout routine below is a great workout for beginners, with 4 fantastic exercises. Even the advanced lifters use these same exercises in their workout routines, so they can’t be too bad!

It has been designed to work the major muscles of the shoulder. That is, the deltoid muscles (anterior, medial, and posterior) and the trapezius muscle.

I used this same routine, and slight variations of, for several years with great results. I’m more into general fitness these days, but even so, when I look around and speak with the younger guys who are fresh into lifting, they still use the same exercises that I used maybe 15 years ago (writing that makes me feel old!).

So these are tried and test exercises, and a workout used by tens of thousands of people with great results.

But, even though this is an awesome shoulder workout routine, it isn’t magic! It doesn’t perform miracles.

You still have to add to it the three main ingredients:


Sound Nutrition

Rest and Recuperation

If you omit any one of these then your workouts will be for nothing. You have to put in the effort and work your muscles to failure, otherwise your muscles won’t be stressed enough to be encouraged to grow.

And if you don’t eat the right foods in the right quantities, then you won’t be able to feed your muscles with protein and nutrients it needs to grow.

Finally, even if you train exceptionally hard and eat all the right foods, you still need sufficient time to rest if you wish to make any gains in strength and size. Your muscles need that time to repair. In repairing, it grows back bigger and stronger.

So no rest means stunted repair, which means no increase in strength and no increase in size. Exactly what you don’t want! So make sure you only perform this workout once per week.

Now, I’m guessing that you have all those licked, right? Good. Then now to the workout.

The Shoulder Workout Routine

For each of the following exercises you should perform 1 to 2 warm up sets and then 3 working sets. So all in all you will perform 12 heavy working sets. (Believe me, this is still a tough workout, even for a beginner!)

Start off with the seated military press. Perform two warm up sets of 15 to 20 repetitions. But make sure you use light weights! You only want to warm up.

Then perform your 3 sets. In the first set you should lift between 12 and 15 repetitions. Then on the second and third set you should lift 10 to 12 repetitions. But make sure you use enough weight that your muscles fail in the range given.

Next, move on to the lateral dumbbell raises. Again, you should lift to failure, and use the same number of repetitions as for the seated military presses. Also, you should perform at least 1 warm up set. (This should be done on every exercise.)

And then move on to reverse dumbbell flyes, followed by the upright row. Use exactly the same principles as above for the number of sets and repetitions.

Between each set you should have at least 2 minutes rest. This is a heavy workout so you need your energy to lift the heavy weights to stimulate your muscles to grow. Also, sip water throughout your session.

Shoulder Workout Routine Progression

If you get the three ingredients right (effort, sound nutrition, and recuperation . . . in case you’ve forgotten already!) then you should progress without a problem.

Each week you should be a little bit stronger, and on several of your sets you should be able to lift an extra repetition or two before failure.

When you start creeping out of the suggested repetition range, up your weight! If you work hard, you’ll make steady strength and size increases week after week. Keep a training diary and reflect on this often. You’ll see after a few months just how far you have come!

After 6 to 8 months you can step up to intermediate shoulder workout routines without any problems.