Phase Two: Shoulder Mastery

Duration: eight weeks

Monday: Upperbody (Chest Focus) 

Incline Barbell Press: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 (reverse pyramid training)

Weighted Dips: 3 sets - 6, 8, 10 reps (reverse pyramid training)

Pinned Biceps Curls: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)

Standing 1-Arm DB Triceps Extensions: 3 sets - 6-8, 8-10, 10-12 reps (reverse pyramid training)

Upright DB Rows: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 (pyramid training)

Face Pulls: 1 set x 12-15 reps + 4 sets x 3-5 reps (rest-pause training)

Wednesday: Lower Body and Abs

Bulgarian Split Squats: 5 x 6-8 (kino rep training)

Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets x 10-12 (kino rep training)

Leg Extensions: 12, 10, 8, 6 (pyramid training)

Single Leg Hip Thrusts: 12, 10, 8, 6 (pyramid training)

Farmers Shrugs: 20-30 reps + 8-10, 8-10, 8-10 (rest pause) 

Friday: Shoulder Focus 

DB Shoulder Press: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)

Weighted Chin-ups: 3 sets - 5, 6, 8 reps (reverse pyramid training)

Arnold Presses: 12, 10, 8, 6 (pyramid training)

Cable Rows: 12, 10, 8, 6 (pyramid training)

Lateral Raises: 1 set x 12-15 reps + 4 sets x 3-5 rep (rest-pause training)

Notes:

Perform 2-3 warmup sets for the first two exercises of each workout. (With the exception of Monday’s workout; just perform warm up sets for the incline bench, nothing else.)

For reverse pyramid training, rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Drop the weight 10% each set. For pyramid training rest just 40 seconds between sets. Finally, for kino rep training rest 2 minutes between sets and take full rest (3 minutes) before going into your heavy set. For rest pause training rest just 15 seconds between sets. 

For weighted chin-ups aim to add 2.5 lbs to each set, each week. For weighted dips, aim to add 2.5-5 lbs each week. For other movements, build up to the top end of the rep range on all sets, before increasing the weight the next week. 

For pyramid training, only increase the weight when you can perform 12, 10, 8, 6 reps with just 30-40 seconds rest between sets. For rest pause training rest 15 seconds between sets. When it becomes easy, increase the weight. 

** If you plateau on an exercise two weeks in a row. I recommend rotating exercises and performing a different variation. Ex: stall on incline db bench press then switch to barbell. Pull-ups switch to biceps curls. Flat barbell bench, switch to dumbbell bench. Overhead press, switch to dumbbell shoulder press seated. 

** Farmers shrugs are performed by grabbing two heavy dumbbells (ex: 50-60+ lbs). Walk with the dumbbells while shrugging the weight up to your ears. Perform rest pause style. Absolutely brutal. 

The Philosophy Behind the Workouts

If there’s one thing that is my specialty, it’s building phenomenal, capped shoulders. This has been one of my main quests in my muscle building journey because, frankly, great deltoids are a rarity amongst natural lifters. It’s really a shame. Sculpted, fully developed shoulders are what give your physique an aesthetic look. Without these powerful shoulders, you’ll end up looking out of proportion.

Once I started implementing the routine that I have outlined for you, my shoulders went out of control. A couple of the trainers at my gym were asking me if I was taking anything because they’ve never seen such developed shoulders on a natural lifter.

I was like, “Nope, just been following a new routine.”

I had cracked the code. It was nothing super complicated, really. It was just a matter of getting extremely strong on overhead presses and then stacking that with a ton of high-volume work on the lateral and rear head of the shoulders.

Here’s the thing: The anterior head of the shoulder (front head) gets a ton of work. Just by getting really strong on pressing movements, you’ll build the heck out of this muscle group. Unfortunately, the lateral head often misses out on the fun. The lateral head is so vital to your shoulder development because it’s what contributes to the rounded, "capped" look. From a front angle, the lateral head is what makes your shoulders look profoundly impressive.

To really hit the lateral head to a significant degree, you must incorporate plenty of lateral raises and upright rows into your routine. Even face pulls will work the lateral head pretty hard, as well as the rear head.

With the shoulder routine, we’re using standard pyramid training and rest-pause training to get the maximum muscle growth on this little muscle. The lateral head responds very nicely to this style of training. You should notice a striking difference within the first two to four weeks of this routine.