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How To Widen Shoulders: Building Bigger Broader Shoulder Muscles With Exercise

Updated on March 5, 2013

Broad Shoulders

Developing broad shoulders can make men and women look fitter and more attractive. Broad shoulders can make men look stronger and it can help women achieve an hourglass figure. Most men find athletic looking women with broad shoulders attractive. You can't change your bone structure but you can change the size of your shoulders by changing the size of your shoulder muscles.

To target your shoulders more use a wide grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Feel free to experiment. The exercises I mention provide the basic concepts but not all the different variations you could do. Increasing or decreasing the amount of fat on your shoulders also changes their appearance.

Me doing a tucked push-up with legs in the air.
Me doing a tucked push-up with legs in the air. | Source
Man doing handstand push-ups.
Man doing handstand push-ups. | Source


After I started doing a lot of push-ups my shoulders became bigger and broader. It was easy for me to tell that they were wider. They felt different and my clothes became tighter around my shoulders. For best results I recommend you vary your push-up routine. That way they will work your shoulders in different ways. Decline push-ups and similar variations that have your legs up high work best. So you should include them in the routine. Handstand push-ups are great for building broader shoulders but you can widen your shoulders with easier variations.

Push-ups were the only exercise I needed to widen my shoulders. My body weight was enough to increase the size of my shoulder muscles. Increasing the weight by using a backpack or by having my legs in the air allowed me to build more muscle. So if you don't get the results you want doing push-ups then make the push-ups more difficult. Work on increasing your strength and endurance.

You may also want to add pull ups to your workout routine. They go well with push ups. However they target the back muscles more than the shoulders.

Boxing Punches

Boxing exercises like shadow boxing, sparring, and punching a punching bag can provide you with a great cardio workout that exercises your shoulders. They can add some variety to your shoulder workout routine and allow you to workout more. When you punch your shoulders should move. You can do boxing exercises with or without equipment.

Dumbbells And Barbells

Dumbbell and barbell curls are not a good exercise for building shoulder muscles but a lot of the other common weightlifting exercises are. You should be able to feel the shoulder moving if the exercise works your shoulders. The raise exercise involves a lot of shoulder movement. It seems easy but you will not be able to lift nearly as much as you could curl or press. So try it with a light weight and when you do the exercise don't try to cheat. You should only be moving your arms and the motion should be slow and steady. Start with the weight just below your waist with your arm slightly bent. Raise your arm to face level without bending your elbow. Then lower it back down. You can do dumbbell front raises or barbell front raises.

The lateral raise also known as a shoulder fly is a side raise. You start with your hands lowered to your sides. During the exercise you move your hands away from your body and up to shoulder level. Then lower them back down to the starting position. To do a reverse fly start with the dumbbells in front of your chest. Then move the dumbbells out to the side. This exercise is usually done while laying down on your back or stomach while on a bench or exercise ball.

Presses like the overhead press or laying down press also work the shoulders. The overhead press is also referred to as a shoulder press. You can use a dumbbell or a barbell. For the overhead presses you hold the weight at shoulder level and then raise it up in the air until your arm is almost fully extended. For a floor or bench press you lay down with the weights above your chest. Then you alternate between lowering and raising the weights.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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