What’s the first thing you notice when you see someone rocking a vest?


You may say arms but for many people, having wide shoulders and popping delts is a real goal when training in the gym, and rightly so.


Your deltoids are made up of three sections; the anterior, medial and posterior (rear). So to get thick looking shoulders it is really important to train all three, with a particular focus on the medial and rear delts since the anterior delts are often activated in many pressing movements such as bench press.

In this blog, I share three of my favourite brutal shoulder moves to add into your training to help you make gains on those boulder shoulders you should be striving for.


No.1: Lateral raise three set killer


If your medial delts need some work, this is for you.

  • You’ll need:
    • a set of dumbbells you normally perform around 10-12 reps with
    • a bench
    • a set of long resistance bands (those with handles at each end are perfect)
  • Firstly, perform strict seated lateral raises to failure with the dumbbells, using a 3-0-1-0 tempo.
  • Take 10 seconds rest with the dumbbells resting on your hips.
  • Next, stand up perform as many reps as possible (AMRAP) using the same dumbbells, allowing slight use of momentum compared to the first set. For this set, use a 2-0-1-0 tempo.
  • Take 10 seconds rest.
  • Finally, perform lateral raises with the bands AMRAP standing in the middle of the band and ensuring you have equal tension either side. For this, use a 1-0-1-0 tempo.
  • Rest for 2 minutes and then perform 2 more sets, accepting that you will drop some reps in the next few sets.


No. 2: Bradford barbell press


I was only recently introduced to this exercise but I absolutely love it and enjoy programming it for a lot of my clients who want to make progress with their shoulders. It’s great for activating all sections of the delts, but may require you to leave your ego at the door where load is concerned.

  • Firstly, load a barbell with around 50-60% of your normal push press load.
  • Grip the bar with a slightly wider grip than push press.
  • Press the bar in front of you.
  • Once you hit the top of the range, lower the bar behind your neck keeping your core tight and forearms vertical.
  • Once the bar nearly touches your traps or mobility becomes an issue press the bar back up.
  • Lower the bar down in front of you and that’s one rep. You should use a 3-0-1-0 tempo for this movement.
  • Perform 8 reps in total ensuring you don’t go to complete failure but by the last rep fatigue and tension are quite substantial.
  • Rest for 2 minutes and complete a total of 4 sets.


No. 3: Front and Y-raise superset


This is a really nice superset that will hit both front and rear delts, ensuring you fill that vest and don’t just look good from the front…!

  • You’ll need:
    • One heavy set of dumbbells for the frontal raise
    • One very light set of dumbbells for the Y raises
    • And set up a bench with a 45 degree incline for the Y raises.
  • First, perform 10 frontal raises, leaving 1 rep in the tank and alternating arms between reps. Ensure you keep swinging to a minimum and use a 2-0-1-0 tempo here.
  • Next, perform 15 Y raises lying on your front on the bench with your chest supported and dumbbells below you.
  • Keep thumbs facing up and lift the dumbbells from in to out and creating a Y shape movement. Again, use a 2-0-2-0 tempo here.
  • Return to the frontal raises with an aim to perform 8 reps, then back to the Y raises and try and complete 13 reps.
  • Rest for 2 minutes and complete a total of 3 sets.


So, there you have three different shoulder movements and finishers you can start implementing into your training. Just like all movements, ensure you log your weights so that you can track your progress over time.


Coach Chris