High Intensity Shoulder Blaster Workout

Blast your weak and small shoulders with this fast-paced, high intensity delt workout that features heavy rest-pause sets, and slow isolation movements.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Single Muscle Group
Intermediate
1
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells
Male & Female

Workout Description

The high intensity shoulder blaster workout can be used for a 4 to 6 week cycle, or as a rut buster when you simply want to try something different. This routine is relatively brief (30 minutes), and can also be used on days in which you have a limited amount of time to workout.

In total, you will be performing 16 sets using 4 exercises - 2 compound movements and 2 isolation movements. Compound lifts will utilize strength and rest-pause training, and isolation lifts will focus on slower reps and the "mind-muscle" connection.

Compound Exercises. For the two compound lifts in this workout, pick a weight that allows you to knock out 8 to 12 reps before reaching failure. Start by performing an all-out set, stopping about one rep shy of failure. Rack the weight and rest exactly 45 seconds. Perform another set, again stopping one rep shy of failure.

Continue this pattern until you complete 5 total sets. Focus on brute strength, and getting the weight up with good form at all costs. These sets are all about man vs. mountain! You may be able to complete only a rep or two on the last several sets. Don't worry about this low volume. You are destroying your shoulders with limited rest and heavy weight, and are after cumulative muscle stress and fatigue.

The best shoulder compound movements are the military press, seated dumbbell press, upright rows, and appropriate variations.

Isolation Movements. For the two isolation lifts, concentrate on feeling the shoulder muscles work. Perform each rep with a 4 second concentric motion, and a 4 to 6 second eccentric (negative) motion. Squeeze each contraction and make your delts work! Rest about 2 minutes between each set. Perform about 6 to 8 reps for isolation movements, and no more then 10 reps per set.

The best shoulder isolation movements are lateral raises, front laterals, or cable laterals. It doesn't matter which exercises you use. Pick 2 isolation movements you enjoy, and hammer your shoulders!

 

High Intensity Shoulder Blaster
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 5 Rest-pause 45 Seconds
Front Laterals 2-3 Slow 4-6 Cadence
Seated Dumbbell Press 5 Rest-pause 45 Seconds
Cable Side Laterals 2-3 Slow 4-6 Cadence
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About The Author
Max Riley is a freelance muscle building and nutrition writer who has had his work appear in numerous print and Internet magazines.

102 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 19:32
Jas Aujla
wuts cadence
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 07:51
Steven
The speed (amount of seconds) it takes to lift and lower the weight.
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Posted Wed, 08/03/2011 - 23:43
Mat
Hi Steve So slow cadence 4-6 means 4secs on way up and 6secs on way down? And if so, how many reps?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 08/04/2011 - 14:13
Steven
Perform about 6 to 8 reps for isolation movements, and no more then 10 reps per set.
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Posted Wed, 12/28/2011 - 12:18
Matt L
How do you determine the appropriate rest time between sets?
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Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 15:47
Hunter Dickens
Steve how do you know so much about all this?
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 16:12
Steven
Hi Hunter, I am the content manager and a writer for Muscle & Strength. I've been training for over 23 years as a bodybuilder and powerlifter. My best lifts are a 600 deadlift, 500 squat and 430 bench. For more info on me, check out my articles: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/authors/steve-shaw.html
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Posted Sun, 11/28/2010 - 10:06
dayan
i want to get a shedule from you..how can i get it
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 12/02/2010 - 17:22
Steven
Hi Dayan, For a custom program, I recommend posting your goals on the forum: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/
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Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 14:03
drew
does anyone know a really good shoulder workout or recommend any
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 17:31
Steven
Have you tried the workout on this page? Here are some other shoulder workouts: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/shoulder-workouts.html
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Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 22:30
Kyle
What dose the rest-pause mean? and how many reps do you do on those exercises. thanks!
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 22:54
Steven
Start by performing an all-out set, stopping about one rep shy of failure. Rack the weight and rest exactly 45 seconds. Perform another set, again stopping one rep shy of failure. Continue this pattern until you complete 5 total sets.
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Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 23:40
Kyle
Thanks alot , sounds pretty intense but should be good!
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Posted Wed, 07/07/2010 - 00:57
Jen
Hi Steve- Thanks for all your great information. Question about the shoulder raises: What exactly is a Front Lateral Raise? I thought they were 2 separate things (forward raise and side, or lateral, raise). The video connected to the “Front Laterals” exercise in this workout is for a front raise. Thanks for clarifying.
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 07/07/2010 - 14:09
Steven
Hi Jen, There are many different terms thrown around for dumbbell shoulder exercises. Generally, a lateral is a "side" movement, but in bodybuilding terms, you can also perform a front lateral with a dumbbell, and a rear lateral with a dumbbell. The term "lateral" in bodybuilding basically means a dumbbell shoulder isolation movement. A front lateral is simply lifting a dumbbell to the front with your arm straight.
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Posted Tue, 07/27/2010 - 04:08
Taswoor
What dose the rest-pause mean? and how many reps do you do on those exercises.12.10.8.. and i understand everything but how mny reps i hv to do is nt cming in my mind.....can u plz help me for that ..and i hv a injury in my left shoulder so military press in quite difficult for me to do ..but i ill manage it..plz help me wid the reps ..
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 07/27/2010 - 14:50
Steven
Start by performing an all-out set, stopping about one rep shy of failure. Rack the weight and rest exactly 45 seconds. Perform another set, again stopping one rep shy of failure. Continue this pattern until you complete 5 total sets.
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Posted Sat, 07/31/2010 - 07:40
Kyriakos
Blaster programs could be used for about a month according to what you stated at the beggining of the article. Could we use this type of @routine@ with a differente variety of exercises later on?
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 07/31/2010 - 08:51
Steven
Hi Kryriakos, Generally a month, but longer if you are making great progress or seeing great results. You could definitely swap in some new exercises after a month or so.
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Posted Sun, 08/01/2010 - 04:48
Kyriakos
Actually my question was more like "for example i used the program above for a month. When i finish with it, can i just swap exercises and carry on with the same rythm or reps, intensity, etc?"
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/03/2010 - 09:38
Steven
You sure can.
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Posted Sun, 08/01/2010 - 14:23
Kyriakos
To conclude, we can use this "type" of program (reps, intensity, etc) by exchanging every now and then (for example a month or so) the exercises?
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Posted Sat, 07/31/2010 - 16:38
Kevin
Steve, what's would be the difference in muscle development in barbell presses vs dumbbell presses only. I'm doing your power, muscle, burn workout and have only done dumbbell press. Thanks for your great responses. You're a huge help! -in Iraq
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/03/2010 - 08:40
Steven
Hi Kevin, Both are great exercises for building the shoulders. You can use either one, or alternate week to week. I would rate both exercises fairly equal as far as muscle building is concerned.
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Posted Mon, 08/02/2010 - 04:41
Kyriakos
Greetings Steve, very interesting article but can i add a trap exercise?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/03/2010 - 08:41
Steven
Absolutely!
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Posted Wed, 08/18/2010 - 11:02
John
Hi Steve How can i replace cable side laterals?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/18/2010 - 18:07
Steven
Hi John, Use dumbbell laterals instead.
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Posted Mon, 08/30/2010 - 02:46
jeffrey
hey im thinkin if this works, monday, intense chest tuesday, intese back wed, rest thursday, intense shoulder fri,arms!! can this work? im afraid i will overtrain as its all high in intensity ty
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/31/2010 - 12:42
Steven
Hi Jeff, That sounds like a good plan. Your shoulder day could cause some lingering tricep soreness, so you may have to tweak it a bit if this happens.
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Posted Wed, 01/11/2012 - 14:25
Mike
If i can comment, i'd ask when you're doing legs? Largest muscle group in the body....and doing them "intensely" can induce great gains all over--in both mass and strength; when legs grow, everything grows. Not to mention, you kinda get that ice cream cone look if you neglect legs. And regarding intensity....most consider it hitting as heavy as possible, which is great...but can get awful hard on the joints. I'd consider mixing up "intensity" with different combos of heavy weights at times, increased reps at other times....just vary it...keep those muscles adapting so they keep growing. Just throwin that out there.....for what it's worth. Been lifting for 20 years myself, and am a physical therapist, so know a bit about muscle and recovery....see a lot of injuries from guys lifting "intensely"...be healthy and good luck
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Posted Mon, 08/30/2010 - 13:24
Ben
Hi Steve, I have an injury related question. For a long long time I've experienced discomfort in my left shoulder. It hurts doing heavy lifts like bench press, and it will get warn out after any upper body work out. When doing shoulder lifts I feel the burn in my right shoulder but on left side the pressure seems to transer to my upper back. Visually, the left shoulder bone juts up more than the right. Any idea what this could be? Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/31/2010 - 12:43
Steven
Hi Ben, Did this happen from lifting? If so, there's a good chance that something like poor bench press form is causing this. Do you perform your bench press with your arms flared out, close to 90 degrees from your torso?
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Posted Thu, 09/02/2010 - 02:47
Ben
Steve, thanks for getting back to me. This has been something that's been going on with my left shoulder for a long time, likely the result of unhealthy lifting that I did in the past. Since it has bothered me so long I was worried it could be tendonitus, but my doctor didn't think this likely. I'm not sure if I should keep lifting to strenghten the area or try to let it heal. The shoulder feels and reacts differently with lifts than the right one, and generally hurts when pushing doors etc.
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/03/2010 - 13:12
Steven
How do dumbbell bench presses feel?
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Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 13:31
Ben
Not that bad. There is still some tension in the left shoulder when I do these.
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Posted Sun, 10/02/2011 - 16:03
Jason
I have had 4 shoulder surgeries due to heavy bench pressing. In years past, I used to touch the bar to my chest, now I bring it to parallel with my elbows and push it up. After speaking to many sports surgeons, they said never to go past that parallel plane. Once you pass that plane, that is where all the damage occurs to shoulders. Also, steer clear of decline bench, wide grip benching, upright rows, and dips. Those are shoulder killers. My last surgery was about two years ago and since then, I have followed all their advice and avoided the exercises above. I am benching heavy again with controlled movement going to parallel, same thing with dumbells. I haven't had any shoulder problems since. I also alternate light and heavy weeks to avoid over training. Also, don't train shoulders the same day as chest, or even the day after. The shoulder complex is a small muscle group and is over trained easly. Have at least one day between chest and should training. That pain in your shoulder sounds like you need an MRI.
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Posted Sun, 09/05/2010 - 00:05
Paras
Hi steve, im currently on a bulk and things are going really good other than gaining a little extra fat. M front shoulders are huge but my lateral delts are really small. and it looks like my rear delts dont even exist. They just dont want to grow. i make sure my weights are not too heavy and use the proper form. My current shoulder work out is: Military press 4 x 10 Lateral DB raises 3 x 10 Cable reverse fly 3x 10 Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 08:33
Steven
Hi Paras, I might suggest dropping lateral raises and adding in the Arnold press to really stimulate lateral delts. For rear delts, make sure you perform some heavy back work, like dumbbell and/or barbell rows. This will help. Using good form, make sure to push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.
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Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 04:25
Arvind
can i try coconut shoulders..??? thank u steve....
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 12:39
Steven
Absolutely.
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Posted Sat, 09/11/2010 - 06:17
Arvind
STEVE... does protien , weight gainers n creatine ... cause any side effects...????? thank u, my master
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/15/2010 - 12:40
Steven
No, not at all. Just make sure you stay hydrated while using creatine.
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Posted Fri, 09/17/2010 - 09:07
Arvind
ohhh.... thank u so much , master
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Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 18:42
aamil
when performing 5 sets, in each set do I increase the weight or use the same weight for all 5 sets? Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/15/2010 - 12:41
Steven
Hi Aamil, Use the same weight for each set.
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Posted Fri, 09/17/2010 - 17:10
john
I want to find a 4-5 day a week full body workout routine. If I have a guide to follow, I find it much easier. I don't know alot about what works best and what i should do. Anyone know of a place to find a good program to follow?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/20/2010 - 12:54
Steven
Hi John, You will have a hard time finding a 4-5 day per week fullbody approach. Most trainees have found that 3 days per week, fullbody style is most effective for growth. Here are some 3 day per week approaches: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/forget-steroids-5-fullbody-workouts-for-serious-gains.html
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Posted Wed, 10/06/2010 - 16:09
bill
Hi steve, I have a strange problem that I'm worried could be long term tendonitus. My left shoulder an upper back experience strain when lifting (pretty much any lift), and often feels soar, tingly or even ichy on days off. The left back and shoulder is also visibly different from the right and bones seem to stick out more, and skin is even more unhealthy on this side. Any ideas?

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