How To Get Boulder Shoulders!

Besides a nice butt, there is nothing I love more than a nice pair of round shoulders on a woman. More than 6 pack abs, more than defined quads, and more than great biceps, I can tell by the shoulders how hard and how long someone has worked in the gym because getting those round delts are not easy!
Hoping my delts will look like this one day!
My shoulders aren't where I want them to be yet, but they are getting there! Today I thought I'd offer a few of MY tips on how to get fuller, rounder shoulders.

Lift heavy. Adding muscle mass to any muscle group is about progressively overloading the muscle. This just means that as you get stronger, make sure you are continuing to increase your weights to challenge the muscles and force them into growth.  I would recommend training in the 5-8 rep range for the big, compound lifts like presses. Keep adding weight to the bar!

Train shoulders twice a week. Since doing an upper/lower body split, I have noticed a difference in the size and shape of my shoulders in the past couple of years. I believe that part of it is due to lifting heavier and training shoulders more frequently than I used to.

Push and pull. Yes, isolation exercises such as lateral raises directly isolate the delts and give you a great burn, but don't forget that the deltoids are involved in ALL pushing and pulling exercises also. So make sure to include pushing exercises, such as overhead presses and pushups into your program and balance it out with pulling exercises, such as pullups and rows.

Focus on compound exercises.  Lateral raises have their place, but there is NO substitute for heavy barbell presses, push presses, dumbbell overhead presses, pushups, handstand pushups, bench presses, and dumbbell chest presses. After you have done these exercises, then you can do a few sets of lateral or front raises to burn out the shoulders. But what really grows those shoulders are the heavy, multi-joint lifts, not the side raises! Don't forget it!

Work those rear delts. Many people neglect this area, but to get full, round shoulders all around, you have to make sure to work the rear deltoids. Not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for the health of the shoulder joint. Make sure to include bentover lateral raises, cable face pulls, or band pull-aparts into your training plan. I usually do one of these exercises at the end of an upper body workout, for 2-3 sets of 12-20 reps.


  1. Your shoulders look awesome! I was so frustrated when I first started lifting because of my shoulders. At first, they were my favourite body part to train but then I became annoyed when I was increasing my strength and muscle definition everywhere but my shoulders. It took a lot of experimentation, but my shoulders also respond really well to low rep training (5 or less reps) and hitting them twice a week. I tried doing two full shoulder days, but I think that was too much volume. Now I do 2-3 shoulder exercises per upper body day and I'm finally increasing my strength and developing those boulder shoulders!

  2. Thanks, Tara! They really have responded to heavier,more frequent lifting rather than the high volume, bodybuilding style shoulder training I used to do. I only hope they will continue to grow as I get stronger!

  3. Love your shoulders! I am starting to train mine twice a week now as well.

    Your are such an inspiration. I love your blog the most of all the fitness blogs that I follow. :)

    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot. :)


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