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Build Up Your Boulder Shoulders With These 5 Exercises, Trainer Says

Achieving strong, toned, and muscular shoulders is in your near future.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Achieving strong, muscular shoulders have some pretty solid benefits in addition to aesthetics. Sure, boulder shoulders perfectly fill out your T-shirts and look great when you're wearing a tank at the gym or the beach, but along with that, strong shoulders can boost your posture and improve the overall health of this body part. Keep in mind that the shoulders need to be trained differently than other muscle groups—and we have your back with exactly what to do. We've pulled together five exercises to build up your boulder shoulders.

When it comes to targeting your shoulders, lateral raises through various angles should be a top priority. In addition, the shoulders respond well to higher reps. Because of modern living, where many individuals are hunched over their desks all day long, working your delts is key. After you finish focusing on your rear and side delts, you can wrap up by working your front shoulders through presses. This will allow you to achieve the full development of your shoulders.

Looking to build up your boulder shoulders? Keep reading to learn about the following five exercises. And next up, don't miss The Perfect 5-Minute Standing Arm Workout for Toned Biceps.

Reverse Pec Deck

reverse pec deck exercise for boulder shoulders
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start by sitting down on the machine with your chest supported on the pad. Grip the handles with the palms facing each other. Begin the motion by pulling your arms back toward your body, leading with your wrists and pinkies. Squeeze the back of your shoulders hard at the end, then resist on the way back to the starting position before performing another rep. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

dumbbell lateral raise exercise for boulder shoulders

For the dumbbell lateral raise, grab a set of dumbbells. Stand with your head tilted back just a bit and your chest tall. Begin the exercise by bringing the weights up and out to your sides, where your arms are parallel to the ground. Flex your shoulders at the top of the motion, then lower the dumbbells with control. As you bring the weights back down, keep tension in your shoulders. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

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Rope Face Pulls

rope face pulls exercise
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

This exercise calls for attaching a rope handle to the cable pulley station. Set it at your neck level. Grip the rope so that your thumbs are facing you. Pull the cable out, and take two steps back. Get into a split stance for balance—one foot forward and one foot back—and pull the rope toward your face, flaring your elbows back at the end of the motion. Squeeze the back of your shoulders and your shoulder blades together before returning to the starting position. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

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Dumbbell Bus Drivers

dumbbell bus drivers exercise for boulder shoulders
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

It's time for the dumbbell bus driver. Hold a dumbbell (or weight plate) out in front of you with your arms slightly bent. Keep your core tight as you turn the dumbbells back and forth, flexing your shoulders and maintaining tension. One full turn back and forth counts as one rep—complete three sets of 10 reps before taking a rest.

Arnold Press

dumbbell Arnold press exercise for boulder shoulders

Last but not least, we're wrapping up with the pressing movement we talked about before. The Arnold press begins with you holding dumbbells up at shoulder height with your palms facing toward your body. As you lift the dumbbells over your head, rotate your palms and elbows out and away from you, and press the weights up in a smooth motion. Flex your shoulders at the top, then reverse the movement back to the starting position before doing another rep. Complete three sets of 10 reps.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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