How to Increase Shoulder Width and Breadth in Men

Powerful shoulders provide strength and remain a key component of a complete physique. While not every man can have the shoulders of a comic book superhero, heavy overhead pressing and strong lateral work can add to the strength and width of your shoulders. Performing a few exercises with heavy weight and good technique adds muscle and reduces your risk of shoulder injuries. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any strength training program.

A man lifting dumbbells on a bench at the gym. (Image: Ancika/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Press a heavy barbell from your shoulders to arms-length overhead. Lower the bar under control. Perform the military press for three to five sets of five to eight repetitions. If you need to lean back or leg-kick the bar up into position, lower the weight and use the power of your shoulders.

Step 2

Hold dumbbells with your arms straight down and your palms facing in. Work your lateral deltoids, or the middle of your shoulders, by raising your arms until they are parallel to the ground, holding for a count of one, then lower under control. Perform lateral raises for three to five sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Step 3

Hold dumbbells and sit on the edge of an exercise bench. Lean forward to rest your chest on your thighs. Perform bent-over lateral raises by raising your arms outward in somewhat of a backward hug, working the back of your shoulders. Perform bent-over laterals for three to five sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Step 4

Hold heavy dumbbells down at your sides with your palms facing in. Shrug your shoulders up without bending your elbows. Pause at the top for a one count, then lower your shoulders and the dumbbells. Perform shoulder shrugs for three to five sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

Things You'll Need

  • Barbell

  • Dumbbells


Always use a full range of motion when training.


Never allow your back to round when performing any exercise.

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