What to do when your shoulders won’t grow?

Jack Howard

Shoulders are extremely important for each sportsman. They are responsible, among others, for shaping a male silhouette in the letter V. Unfortunately, this muscle group often simply won’t grow and it is a quite common problem. It happens, because sportsmen frequently make a lot of mistakes during training this part of the body.

Shoulders won’t grow – insufficient training

 Shoulder muscles “don’t like” trainings consisting in performing the exercises of one type and also insufficient attention during workout. Hence, when you perform only behind the neck press, you need to be prepared that your shoulders won’t grow the way you want them to. You need to remember that shoulders are composed of three deltoids and the majority of anterior and lateral deltoid exercises practically don’t influence the posterior deltoid and the other way round.

Because of this, our workout needs to be diversified and combine basic exercises, e.g. behind the neck press, but also front raise, side raise and bent-over rear raise.

Combine the exercises in various configurations, apply the drop set method and most importantly – do not limit yourself to 1 or 2 exercises. Make your shoulder workout properly long and varied. Remember about the correct technique, as it is related not only to muscle development but also avoiding injuries. Such exercises as behind the neck press is commonly considered to easily cause injuries due to unnatural shoulder position, but simultaneously it influences muscle hypertrophy. Performing this exercise with ideal technique minimizes the risk of injury.

If you need inspiration for shoulder workout - here we are giving you some examples for that!
If you need inspiration for shoulder workout - here we are giving you some examples for that!

Shoulder exercises – emphasis on the positive phase

Unfortunately, even when performing various exercises and devoting sufficient time, shoulders may not grow. It may happen due to the excessive focus on the positive phase – concentric. The weight is raised very slowly and then quite quickly dropped. Shoulders need quite the contrary. We should quickly and precisely raise the weight and perform the eccentric phase without any rush.

Shoulders – the activity of the trapezius muscle

 Quite a common mistake, especially among beginners, is helping oneself with other muscles of the body. During performing shoulder exercises we often unnecessarily activate trapezius muscle, unburdening shoulders. Unfortunately, shoulders don’t receive proper stimuli causing their growth. Therefore, during performing all the exercises, shoulder should not be raised with the help of the trapezius muscle. It should be especially watched during shoulder raise.

Shoulder training – lack of weight progression

 The main condition for constant muscle hypertrophy is increasing weights. If you don’t change the weights which you lift, your shoulders stop growing. In order to prevent this, you should increase weight training by training. Certainly it may entail the decrease of reps in a set, but it is not a problem. Do as many reps as you can and during the next training, increase the number of reps by one, then 2 etc. Step by step, you will reach the normal number of reps for you, but with higher weight and your shoulders will increase their volume.

Insufficient number of reps in a set

Contrary to the majority of muscle groups, shoulders like a lot of reps in a set. Therefore, their insufficient number may cause that shoulders won’t grow. If you limit the number of reps to 6-9, it is simply ineffective for your shoulders. Increase the number of reps to 12-15 and the effectiveness of your workout will considerably grow.

On a side note, in order to increase the number of reps, you may apply the drop set method. However, do not do this too often, but rather treat it as an additional training stimulus.

Tags: how to build shoulders, shoulders, shoulders exercises, shoulders workout, strength workout, trenining, workout


  1. Avatar

    How shud i grow up my shoulder

  2. Avatar
    Clive yallop

    So I think I may injured my shoulder years ago
    And since its always been slightly smaller than my right ,how can I rectify this ?

    • David

      Hello Clive

      It depends – first and the most important thing – is your shoulder absolutely operational right now?

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