Well-developed deltoid muscles mask small, bony shoulders. Shoulder exercises performed with barbells and dumbbells enable you to increase the size of your deltoids, making them curvy and round along the front, side and posterior aspects of your arms. To get rid of your bony shoulders, you must avoid the high-rep trap. Instead, use moderate to heavy weights so it is challenging to complete four to six sets of six to 12 repetitions per set. If you can do more than 12 reps, increase the resistance.
Change one or two exercises in your shoulder routine every four weeks to continue to stimulate your shoulder muscles to grow.
Focusing on your deltoid muscles to get rid of bony shoulders may lead to a muscular imbalance between your deltoids and the smaller rotator cuff muscles that lie underneath your delts. Incorporate internal, external and horizontal rotation exercises using an exercise band to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles, reducing your risk of injuring them.
Complete a shoulder workout once a week with four deltoid exercises. Train your shoulders by themselves or with your legs so they are not worn out by exercising them with another upper body muscle.
Begin your shoulder routine with the most fundamental deltoid exercise, military presses with a barbell or with dumbbells. This exercise focuses on the front portion of your deltoids. Keep the barbell in front of your head if you are doing military presses with a bar. Lower the weights to ear level, then press them back to the starting position for each repetition.
Perform dumbbell lateral raises as the second exercise of your shoulder workout, focusing on the medial head or the side of your deltoids. Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you raise your arms out to the side until they are parallel to the floor.
Shape the posterior head or the back portion of your deltoids by doing reverse dumbbell flyes. Perform this exercise sitting at the edge of an exercise bench with your trunk bent forward, resting on your thighs. Hold the dumbbells underneath your chest and knees, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Open your arms until they are parallel to the floor, as if you were opening your arms to give someone a hug; return to the start position and repeat.
Hold a barbell in front of you with your hands spaced shoulder-width apart and your palms facing your thighs. Lift the barbell up along the front of your body until your hands are just below your armpits, contracting the medial section of your deltoid muscles. Ensure your elbows are higher than your shoulders to build rounded delts along the sides of your arms.
Things You'll Need
- American College of Sports Medicine: Progression Models in Resistance Training for Adults; William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., et al.
- Therapeutic Exercise for Musculoskeletal Injuries; Peggy Houglum, Ph.D.
Paula Quinene is an Expert/Talent, Writer and Content Evaluator for Demand Media, with more than 1,500 articles published primarily in health, fitness and nutrition. She has been an avid weight trainer and runner since 1988. She has worked in the fitness industry since 1990. She graduated with a Bachelor's in exercise science from the University of Oregon and continues to train clients as an ACSM-Certified Health Fitness Specialist.