Broad shoulders look great on both men and women. Another advantage of having broad shoulders is that it makes your waist look small. There are essentially 3 factors that contribute to the breadth of your shoulders: the mass of the deltoid muscles, the size and width of the shoulder blades they envelop and an open posture that unfolds the chest.
Among the three, your shoulder blades, or scapulae are pretty much beyond your ability to widen as they’re part of your skeleton and once fully grown, cannot be increased in size. But muscles and posture are something you can surely work on.
Building Broad Shoulders
When you say shoulders, you’re actually referring to deltoids. They are the muscles that pad the region of the arms you call shoulders.The deltoids are comprised of three different muscles strands: the anterior, lateral and posterior regions. Most people who work out focus only on the anterior deltoids at the front of the shoulders but overemphasizing them can result in postural problems as well as injuries leading to problems with rotation and flexion. Also, large anterior deltoids pull you forward making you look hunched rather than the broad shoulders you’re after.
If you want bigger shoulders, you must also work the posterior and middle deltoids in addition to the Latissimus dorsi, also called just lats. These are muscles flat muscles under the shoulder blades that give you that tapered V-shaped look which makes your shoulders look broad.
How Much And How Often
This depends on your fitness level. If you’re new to resistance training, it’s best to start with one to two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions for each exercise. As for how often you need to work those shoulders, the American Council on Exercise suggests letting your muscles be your guide and waiting until soreness subsides. Though a little soreness is good and necessary, a lot of soreness that lingers is counterproductive.
Three Simple Shoulder Exercises To Start With
1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Stand with your feet at hip-width and your knees slightly bent, holding a the dumbbell in each hand.
With your grip facing forward, raise your upper arms up until they are level with the sides of your shoulders.
Push the dumbbells upward so that your arms are extended straight up.
Lower the dumbbells back down to where your upper arms are perpendicular to your torso.
2. 45-Degree Incline Row
Rest forward on a bench set to a 45-degree incline (not quite vertical) while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Your arms should hang straight down.
Squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly pull your upper arms back so that they’re level with your shoulders.
To complete, gradually lower the dumbbells back to the original position.
3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
In a standing position, hold the dumbbells slightly in front of your thighs, your elbows slightly bent. Lean forward a little, with a slight bend in your knees and hips.
Lift your upper arms out to the sides until your elbows are at shoulder height. Your elbows should be at equal or greater height as your wrists.
Lower the dumbbells and repeat.
The Importance Of Posture
Posture affects how you look and how you carry yourself which is why it’s important that you pay enough attention to it. Even if you build great shoulder muscles, a slumpy or saggy posture will not give you the broad, confident look that you want.
Push ups are a great way to gain better posture. They not only build shoulder muscle, but they also work the chest and upper back muscles, both of which contribute to good posture. Chest expansion exercises help to keep your shoulders open and broad as possible. Intertwine your hands behind your back below your waist. Do these exercises regularly and watch your shoulder grow big.