7 Incredibly Effective Exercises For Broad Shoulders

exercises for broad shoulders

“Shoulders are the foundation of a powerful physique. Build it up!”

If you've ever admired the impressive V-shaped torso of Greek statues or silver screen heroes, you've appreciated the allure of broad shoulders.

Having strong and broad shoulders isn’t just about getting eyeballs though. When you train your shoulder muscles, you're also investing in your everyday strength and mobility. Strong shoulders contribute to better posture, reduce the risk of injury, and make those daily tasks a breeze.

So, if you’re ready to give your shoulders a whole lotta love, then this blog is for you!

We’re gonna talk about 7 of the best exercises for broad shoulders that’ll make your upper body pop!

Let’s go!

Why would you want wide shoulders?

There are various reasons why you should do exercises for broad shoulders.

  • Broad shoulders contribute to the coveted "V-shaped" torso that is often associated with a strong and well-proportioned physique.
  • Having broad shoulders can boost one’s confidence and self-esteem.
  • Doing exercises for broad shoulders helps in enhancing your functional upper body strength which is necessary for daily activities.
  • Well-developed shoulder muscles, particularly the rear deltoids, help maintain proper posture by counteracting the effects of rounded shoulders.
  • Broad shoulders can provide better leverage and stability for athletic activities that involve throwing, hitting, or lifting, thus enhancing your performance.

You might like: 10 Extremely Effective Side Delt Exercises You Can Do At Home

Can exercise change the width of your shoulders?

The width of your collarbones and the breadth of your shoulder blades – these are the 2 main factors that determine the width of your shoulders.

While shoulder-widening workouts can’t do much to alter these 2 factors (thanks to genetics), they certainly can have an impact on the appearance and proportions of your shoulders.

best exercise for broad shoulders

When you perform exercises for wider shoulders, you’ll be actively recruiting your deltoids and trapezius muscles. This translates to more muscle mass in that area, thus giving an appearance of broader shoulders.

Plus when you combine shoulder broadening exercises with your other overall fat reduction workouts (think HIIT, running, jump rope, etc.), it can lead to a more defined upper body, enhancing the appearance of the shoulders in relation to the waist and hips.

7 Best Exercises for Broad Shoulders

Wondering how to get broader shoulders? Try these amazing workouts now!

1. Behind-the-back cable lateral raise

Research suggests that some muscles seem to grow faster during exercises that challenge them the most when they are fully stretched. This exercise for broad shoulders does exactly that by fully stretching out your lateral deltoids.

Muscles worked: Side deltoids, anterior deltoids, middle and lower trapezius.

How to perform

  • Adjust the cable machine to a low setting and attach a D-handle to the cable.
  • Stand in front and slightly to the side of the cable machine with your back facing it.
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grasp the D-handle using an overhand grip and position it just behind your butt. This is the starting position.
  • Engaging your core, lift your arm laterally until about shoulder height.
  • Pause for a second, feel the stretch in your deltoids, and then slowly return to the initial position.
  • Repeat for reps.

2. Leaning dumbbell lateral raises

In this exercise for broad shoulders, your arm has to move a longer distance thus giving your lateral deltoids a bigger stretch and hence more gains.

Muscles worked: Lateral deltoids, upper trapezius, core.

How to perform

  • Grasp a stable platform such as a pole with one hand (off hand) and place your feet next to it.
  • Lean away from the platform extending your off arm to full length.
  • Ensure your torso is in a straight line with your legs at full extension.
  • Grab a dumbbell in your active hand and position it next to your thigh.
  • Now raise the dumbbell until it is just above shoulder height. You should feel a contraction in your lateral deltoid.
  • Pause for a moment and then lower again.
  • Repeat for reps on this side and then switch sides.

3. Dumbbell Incline Y raise

This is one of the best exercises for broad shoulders as it targets the rear deltoids which contributes to a balanced and well-rounded shoulder appearance.

Muscles worked: Rear deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids.     

How to perform

  • Adjust an incline bench to a 30-45 degree angle.
  • Lie face down on the incline bench with your chest supported and feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold the dumbbells in each hand with your palms facing down. Let your arms hang down naturally.
  • With a slight bend in your elbows, lift the dumbbells upward and outward to your shoulder level in a Y-shape.
  • Pause for a second, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for reps.

Related: 10 Effective Shoulder Exercises With Dumbbells You Can Do Anywhere

4. Banded face pull

This shoulder broadening exercise hits those rear delts and boosts your upper body strength.

Muscles worked: Rear deltoids, rhomboids, middle trapezius.

How to perform

  • Sit on a bench and wrap a resistance band around both your feet.
  • Hold the other end of the band with both your hands with your palms facing downwards and your thumbs facing each other.
  • Raise the band until it is in front of you at hip level. This is the starting position.
  • Now pull the band until it reaches your forehead level making a double biceps pose.
  • Pause for a second before returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat for reps.

Related: 8 Awesome Resistance Band Shoulder Workout

5. Resistance Band front raises

This shoulder-widening workout can improve your shoulder joint stability and lower your chances of injuries during other upper-body exercises.

how to get broader shoulders

Muscles worked: Anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, serratus anterior, biceps.

How to perform

  • Step into a resistance band such that it is under the arches of your feet.
  • Hold the other end of the band with both your hands with your thumbs facing upward.
  • Raise both your arms in front of you till they’re parallel to the floor and at 90 degrees to your body.
  • Pause for a second and then lower your back slowly till it reaches your hip level.
  • Repeat for reps.
  • Don’t lean back while doing this exercise as this puts unnecessary stress on your lower back. If you notice that you have to keep swinging your body to lift the band, you need to switch to a band of lower resistance.

6. Wide-grip Barbell upright row

Research shows that performing upright rows with a wide grip effectively recruits your lateral and anterior deltoids thus giving you those cannonball shoulders.

Muscles worked: Lateral deltoids, anterior deltoids, upper trapezius.

How to perform

  • Grasp a barbell with your hands placed wider than shoulder width using an overhand grip.
  • Raise the barbell and position it in front of your thighs.
  • Keeping your back straight and core engaged, initiate the movement by lifting the barbell straight up toward your chin.
  • Lead with your elbows, pulling them up and out to the sides as you lift the barbell. Keep lifting until you reach shoulder height or higher.
  • Keep the barbell close to your body throughout the movement.
  • Pause for a moment and then slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for reps.

You might like: 5 Most Effective Frozen Shoulder Exercises For Quick Relief

7. Barbell overhead press

An awesome exercise for wider shoulders that hits all 3 deltoid heads and thus stimulates immense muscle growth.

exercises for wider shoulders

Muscles worked: Front, side and rear deltoids, triceps, trapezius, rhomboids.

How to perform

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Clean the barbell to shoulder height or use a rack for support.
  • Press the barbell overhead, extending your arms fully without locking your elbows.
  • Lower the barbell back to shoulder height with control.
  • Keep your core engaged and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
  • Repeat for reps.

How soon will you see results?

How soon you will see results of doing exercises for wider shoulders will depend on various factors such as genetics, workout consistency, diet, recovery, and individual body composition.

Assuming that you do exercises for broad shoulders around 2 to 3 times per week for 30-45 minutes, here’s what the timeline for seeing results typically looks like:

  • Within 4-8 weeks, you could witness some “newbie gains” such as improvements in muscle tone, definition, and slight changes in muscle size.
  • After 3-6 months of consistent training, you might observe more noticeable changes in muscle size and overall shoulder appearance, especially if you're combining shoulder-widening workouts with a well-rounded strength training routine and proper nutrition.
  • Significant changes in muscle size and shoulder width could take a year or more or regular training, progressive overload, proper nutrition to support muscle growth and adequate recovery.

Tips while doing exercises for broad shoulders

  1. Practice proper form by engaging your core and maintaining a neutral posture.

  2. Warm up with light weights before you begin your shoulder broadening exercises.

  3. Perform exercises for broad shoulders through a full range of motion to engage the muscles fully.

  4. Avoid swinging or using momentum to lift weights.

  5. Ensure you have a balanced diet with adequate protein to support muscle growth and recovery.

  6. After your workout, perform static stretches for the shoulder muscles to enhance flexibility and prevent muscle tightness.


Whether you're aiming to lift heavier, rock that tank top, or simply stand taller, these exercises for broad shoulders have got your back!

So, grab your fitness essentials, play your fav tunes, and start building your dream body now!

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