how to build a broader shoulder and better upper chest

HI , I need your advise on how to build good big broad shoulders and upper chest. Thanks

A: The keys to improving specific areas of your body are proper exercise selection, increased workload and proper recovery. Let’s start with the exercises for wider shoulders and upper chest.


Your shoulders have three specific heads or sides, which are the anterior, medial and posterior or in English, front, side and rear. Typically, a focused effort developing the side head of the deltoid brings about the most width or broadness visually, but all three heads need to be trained for maximum roundness in the shoulder area. According to EMG analysis you will recruit the most motor neurons on the medial head with dumbbell side lateral raises. Here is how to do a proper side lateral raise.

Hold dumbbells in front of thighs with elbows slightly bent. Bend over slightly with hips and knees bent slightly. Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height. Maintain elbows' height above or equal to wrists. You are leading with your elbow as if you were giving someone a forearm shiver. Lower and repeat. Your elbows should remain bent from 10-30-degrees, strive for elbows to be at shoulder height at top of movement. Use a rep speed of 2 up and 4 down, which is a count of 2 to raise and 4 seconds to lower the weights. Do your best to maintain smooth movement and control.

Packing on mass with this exercise calls for 4-5 sets of 6-12 repetitions. I suggest you follow this movement with front presses to the neck otherwise known as, barbell military press, which hits the front and side delts.

Grab barbell from rack or lift from floor with overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder width. Position bar in front of neck. Press bar upward until arms are extended overhead. Lower to front of neck and repeat. Strive to get full extension at top and full stretch at bottom of the movement (full range of motion) Use the same sets, reps and rep speed as above.

The last shoulder movement will be rear lateral dumbbell raises for rear delts. Grab dumbbells to each side. Bend knees and bend over through hips with back flat close to horizontal. Position elbows with slight bend and palms facing together. Leading with elbows, raise arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height. You’ll feel this in your rear delts and upper back to a smaller degree. Squeeze and flex at top of the movement. Keep height of elbows above wrists by raising “pinkie finger” side up. Lower and repeat. Use the same sets, reps and rep speed as above.

Upper Chest

While complex muscle groups cannot be totally isolated, experience and science has shown we can use angles and leverage to focus the overload on the upper chest (by the clavicles) with a few key exercises. I have used three exercises that hit this area very well, and they aren’t all the usual suspects. The first exercise is the standard incline dumbbell press on a 45-degree angle. Use the same sets, reps and rep speed as above. The next movement is called, bench press to the neck, which calls for using about 60-70% of the weight you normally use on the standard bench press. The movement is nearly the same as a bench press, but you lower the barbell to your neck line, which causes an enormous stretch. Drive the weight straight up, aiming a bit above your head, not towards your waist. Only do this movement if you have a spotter, and go for 4 sets of 10 reps to “pre-exhaust the upper pecs.

The last movement is the decline presses with a barbell or dumbbell, which have been shown to recruit more motor neurons that stimulate both upper and overall pectoral development. This is due to leverage, whereas you should be able to lift more weight in the decline than in regular or incline presses. The decline movement feels odd at first, but after a bit of practice you’ll find that it can be a valuable edition to your overall chest program. Go for 4-5 sets of 6-12 repetitions with a rep cadence as mentioned above.

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