There’s something very aesthetically appealing about wide shoulders.
In fact, there are few body parts which exude athleticism and muscularity as having a well-sculpted pair of side delts.
However, in order to achieve the holy grail of wide shoulders you don’t actually need to press and you don’t even need to go heavy.
In fact, just two exercises performed regularly will help you achieve your goal.
So, let’s get to it.
The only two exercises you need for wider delts are:
- Incline Chest-Supported Lateral Raises
- Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raises
Perform each exercise with a slow and controlled tempo with a 1-2 second hold at the top.
Aim for 4 sets of 12-15 reps, while ensuring you leave yourself at least 1 rep short of failure for the first 3 sets.
The last set should be taken to failure.
#1 Exercise For Wider Shoulders: Incline Chest-Supported Lateral Raises
I guess it makes a lot of sense that lateral raises are the best way to achieve wider shoulders.
Realistically, you’ll want to work your side delts in order to achieve width and lateral raises accomplish this perfectly.
Now, don’t get me wrong, overhead pressing will work the front and side delts, although the primary muscle worked will always be the front delts.
Furthermore, overhead presses also target the triceps to great effect.
That being said, your triceps are generally the limiting factor in most pressing movements, so it feels good to remove them from the equation when it comes to building your side delts.
And as I say, lateral raises are the best way to achieve this.
But, I’m not talking about conventional lateral raises here.
In order to really work your lateral delts you’ll want to remove momentum.
And one of the best ways to achieve this is to have your chest supported by an incline bench.
In other words, perform chest-supported incline bench lateral raises.
The best bench angle for this will be 60 degrees.
Now, when it comes to lateral raises in general I have also preferred lighter weights and higher reps.
Basically, I want to keep my form tight and really go for the “burn”.
And unfortunately this is difficult to achieve if you’re trying to lift heavy weights.
Furthermore, as this a chest-supported version of lateral raises, thus meaning momentum is removed, you should go even lighter than you would with conventional raises.
Aim for 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
Additionally, lateral raises aren’t particularly demanding on the central nervous system which means that “recovery” is quick so you can perform lateral raise variations multiple times per week.
Something else that is fantastic about removing momentum and “cheating” is that it decreases the involvement of your upper traps which is a common issue with lateral raises.
#2 Exercise For Wider Shoulders: Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raises
So, the second exercise is the single-arm cable lateral raise.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, namely another lateral raise exercises, isn’t this exactly the same movement pattern?
Sure, of course, all lateral raise variations have a similar movement pattern, but you can also hit your side delts from various angles with raises.
What’s great about using cables for lateral raises is that it completely changes where the exercise is hardest.
For standard lateral raises, and even the incline chest-supported version, the exercise is hardest at the top of the movement.
However, when using cables the movement is always hardest at the bottom.
Therefore, even though it is essentially the same exercise, with the same movement pattern, you can use both exercises to train your lateral delts slightly differently.
Once more you want to keep the weights light and the reps high.
Set the cable machine up to start from approximately knee height.
And again perform 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
Additionally, with both the cable lateral raises and chest-supported lateral raises keep the temp slow and controlled and hold for a 1-2 second count at the top of the movement.
This will make a “light exercise” feel so much tougher.
These are the only two exercises that you need for wider shoulders.
Both are lateral raise variations, although one is hardest at the top of the movement, while the other is toughest at the bottom of the movement.
Incline bench chest-supported lateral raises remove momentum from the equation and therefore it is much harder to “cheat”.
So,ensure you use a lighter weight than you would for standard lateral raises.
Single-arm cable lateral raises, although the same movement pattern, will work the side delts slightly differently.
For both lateral raise variations perform 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
Always leave at least one rep in the tank for the first 3 sets, whereas you should aim for failure on the final set.
Plus, always pause and hold at the top of the movement for each and every rep.
Now, that we’ve dealt with your shoulders, discover the 4 exercises to build mass in your back.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.