4 Week Shoulder Routine To Improve Muscle Size

4 Week Shoulder Routine To Improve Muscle Size

Are you tired of being the person at the gym with the ‘chicken wing’ shoulders? 

You know, the ones that make your arms look like toothpicks sticking out of your shoulders. 

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Well, fear not, my friends, because this 4 week shoulder routine to improve muscle size is guaranteed to give you the boulder shoulders you’ve always wanted. 

No more hiding behind oversized sweaters. It’s time to show off those guns.

This routine is designed to target all three heads of the deltoid muscle, ensuring that you get a well-rounded and balanced look. 

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By focusing on the right exercises, you’ll be hitting every angle and making sure that no muscle fiber is left untouched.

We’ll give you the exact training split to utilize, and the goal is to stay consistent with the training plan for 4 weeks straight

Why 4 weeks, you may ask? Because that’s the perfect time frame to form a habit, gain traction, and snowball that into some well-rounded deltoids.

Just remember, though… with great shoulders comes great responsibility (to take more gym selfies). 

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So, put your chicken wings away, and get ready to rock some serious shoulders.

Let’s dive straight in by first having a brief look at the anatomy of the superficial shoulder muscles.

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is a complex joint that is composed of several bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 


The anatomy of the shoulder is intricate and multifaceted, making it one of the most mobile joints in the human body. 

However, when it comes to developing muscle mass in the shoulders, the main focus is on the deltoids. 

The deltoids are a group of three muscles that surround the shoulder and are responsible for the primary movements of the shoulder joint. 

These muscles are the anterior deltoid, the medial deltoid, and the posterior deltoid. 

The deltoids play a crucial role in many upper-body exercises, such as presses, pull-ups, and rows. 

Understanding the anatomy and function of the deltoids is essential for those looking to improve muscle size and overall shoulder strength.

Front Delts

The front deltoid, also known as the anterior deltoid, is one of the three heads of the deltoid muscle group located on the front portion of the shoulder.

The front deltoid is responsible for the horizontal abduction of the shoulder joint and also contributes to external rotation. 

It is a muscle that can be trained with exercises like the front raise, the military press, and the incline press. 

Side Delts

The side deltoid, also known as the medial deltoid, is one of the three heads of the deltoid muscle group located on the middle portion of the shoulder. 

It originates from the acromion and the spine of the scapula and inserts on the lateral or outer part of the humerus bone. 

The side deltoid is responsible for the abduction and horizontal abduction of the shoulder joint.

It is a muscle that can be trained with exercises like the lateral raise, the dumbbell press, and the upright rows. 

Understanding the anatomy and function of the side deltoid is essential for those looking to improve muscle size and overall shoulder strength.

Keep in mind – the side delts are crucial for the overall look of your physique, which is why they are an important part of our 4 week shoulder routine to improve muscle size.

Rear Delts

The rear deltoids, also known as the posterior deltoids, are a muscle group located in the back of the shoulder. 

They are responsible for shoulder extension, horizontal abduction, and external rotation. 

They work in conjunction with other shoulder muscles, such as the rotator cuff and the trapezius, to allow for a wide range of shoulder movement. 

The rear deltoids are often trained using exercises such as rows, pull-ups, and pull-downs, reverse flys, and face pulls.

These exercises are key in our 4 week shoulder routine to improve muscle size!

Building The Routine

Alright, now that we are familiar with the basics of deltoid anatomy, it is time to start building the 4 week shoulder routine to improve muscle size.

Needless to say, due to the fact the separate parts of the deltoid muscles are located all around the shoulders, the routine will consist of different exercises, to target all 3 areas.

Now without further ado, let’s have a look at our 3 favorite types of exercises!

Overhead Presses

Overhead presses, such as barbell and dumbbell presses, are considered to be one of the best exercises for targeting the deltoid muscles. 

This is because they allow for a full range of motion, recruiting primarily the front delts, as well as the side delts secondarily. 

Additionally, overhead pressing exercises allow for heavy loads to be used, which can lead to significant muscle hypertrophy and strength gains. 

They also engage other muscle groups, such as the upper chest and triceps, which makes it a compound movement. 

It is important to note that proper form and technique should be followed to avoid injury, as this is a fairly heavy and complex movement.

Lateral Raises

Lateral raises are considered to be one of the best exercises for targeting the side deltoids, also known as the medial deltoids. 

This is because the primary function of the lateral raises is to focus on the abduction of the upper arm away from the body, specifically targeting the medial (side) deltoid muscle. 

Lateral raises can be performed using dumbbells, cables, or resistance bands and can be done standing or seated. 

Lateral raises are often used as an isolation exercise, and when performed with proper form and technique, they can help build strong and well-defined shoulders.

Rowing Movements

Rowing exercises are a great choice for targeting the muscles in the back, and also work the rear deltoids. 

These exercises, such as bent-over rows, seated rows, and cable rows, work by pulling a weight towards the body, which recruits the muscles in the upper and middle back, as well as the rear deltoids. 

Rowing exercises can be performed with different types of equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, cables, and machines, and can be adjusted to different levels of difficulty depending on the weight used and the technique of the exercise. 

Due to their compound nature and versatility, rowing exercises are considered to be a great addition to any workout routine targeting the rear deltoids.

And especially our 4 week shoulder routine to improve muscle size!

Sample 4 week shoulder routine to improve muscle size

To summarize – the deltoid muscles have 3 main portions:

  1. The front delts
  2. The side delts
  3. The rear delts

These muscles are responsible for various movements of the arm, which is why the training split utilizes overhead presses, lateral raises and rowing movements.

Keep in mind, this sample training split is a 3 days on, 1 day off training split, which is not shoulder-specific, but the delt exercises are integrated in a way that allows you to prioritize that specific muscle group.

Let’s see the split!

Day 1 – Upper Body PushSetsRepsRest Times
Flat Barbell Bench Press58-102+ minutes
Overhead Barbell Press38-102+ minutes
Dumbbell Lateral Raises210 2 minutes
Parallel Bar Dips w/ elbow lockoutClose to failure2 minutes
Notes: On day 1, the primary targets are the front and side deltoids, and you also get plenty of direct chest & triceps work.
Day 2 – Lower BodySetsRepsRest Times
Bodyweight Squat31560 seconds
Barbell Squat5102.5 minutes
Hamstring Curls5102 minutes
Hip Thrusts4122.5 minutes
Notes: On day 2, the upper body rests and recovers while you’re banging through lower body movements.
Day 3 – Upper Body PullSetsRepsRest Times
Medium-Wide Grip Pull-Ups4Close to failure2 minutes
Cable Rows4102.5 minutes
Straight Bar Cable Pullover210 reps2 minutes
Reverse Rear Delt Machine Flys8-102 minutes
Notes: On day 3, the primary target of the workout is the entire back musculature, with a solid emphasis on the rear delts, during the cable rows, pullover and reverse machine flys.

Be Consistent Over 4 Weeks

Now… take this split and be consistent with it over a 4-week period. This should be a sufficient period for you to gain traction and snowball the split into something truly effective.

Something that will make your shoulders explode!

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Adjust the sets, reps and rest times depending on your training experience – beginners can go for a lesser number of sets and longer rests and build their way up.
  2. Regardless of training experience, make the sets challenging, but avoid reaching hard failure.
  3. Focus on mind-muscle connection and proper exercise form
  4. If, at any point you feel physical burnout – don’t shy away from a couple of rest days!
  5. Don’t forget to flex.

So… what are you waiting for? Your deltoids are expecting your best training output… in response to which, they will grow like mushrooms.

Take this 4 week shoulder routine to improve muscle size and let us know how it worked for you!

Got any questions? Drop them below!

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