The Blog

Shapely Shoulders Workout

*Photos courtesy of Taylor Oakes for

Although I was born with a wide frame, the round, solid and shapely shoulders you see in pictures were earned. When I began competing I hardly had any shoulder ‘caps’ to speak of. With each competition season I made it my mission to add size to this area. Through hard work and relentless high volume training, my delts (deltoid muscles) became a strength!

I know many women are scared to put on muscle, for fear that they will appear ‘bulky’. Here are the main benefits (in my opinion) of adding some size and shape to your shoulders:

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  1. Looks great in a tank top/spaghetti straps/strapless dresses. Sure, it’s not tank top season (yet), but summer bodies are made in the winter! Now is the time to build and improve your physique so you can confidently rock those cute summer outfits and dresses in a few months time 😉
  2. Creates the illusion of a smaller waist. Instead of stuffing your organs into a waist trainer (right?!), why not control what you can make bigger? The wider your shoulders, the narrower your waist will appear. Again, a v-taper shape looks great in tank top/dress!
  3. You will appear (and actually be) stronger. Whenever I see someone (male/female) with round, solid shoulders I think ‘athlete’!! It helps bring up your posture- especially if you balance out the rear area of your delts. An aesthetically strong-looking appearance screams confidence. And with an improved appearance I’m willing to bet you WILL be more confident!


Listed below is one of my favorite shoulder workouts for hypertrophy (putting on size). Remember with high volume training, it’s better to have shorter rest periods (no more than 1 minute). This is an intermediate-style workout: feel free to comment below if you have any questions!


The Workout

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

*2 warm-up sets

4 sets of 15/12/10/10 reps


Upright Row on Smith

3 sets of 10/10/10

Superset with

Plate front raises

3 sets of 10/10/10

*maintain upright posture for both exercises; do not ‘bounce’ or rock while raising plate/weight to eye-level


Side laterals: Triple Dropset

3 sets of 10/10/10; 10/10/10; 10/10/10

*You will start with your MAX weight at 10 reps, then drop the weight to 5-7.5 lbs lighter than your max, and so on. Ex: 25 lbs (10 reps), then 20 lbs (10 reps), then 15 lbs (10 reps). Rest 1 min between each set.


Bent over cable side-laterals (rear delts)

4 sets of 15/12/10/10 (each arm)

*no resting after each arm: this will help increase the intensity, and each arm technically gets a rest as the other arm works


Reverse Pec/Dec Flye (FST-7)

7 sets of 10/10/10/10/10/10/10

*30 sec rest between each set; weight must either remain the same or increase for entire exercise; this is a great finishing-move to really hit those rears (posterior delts) 😉


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