How To Build Broad Shoulders

Alpha Physique, LooksMax

Broad shoulders

Can you build broad shoulders, even if you’ve got a narrower bone structure? The answer is YES, but you’ve got to do things a little differently to most guys.

Most men want broader shoulders to some degree. Because they know it looks good – it symbolises strength, power, and fitness. Especially when it’s combined with a narrow waistline (a strong v taper) and/or an Adonis Belt.

The Benefits Of Having Broad Shoulders

Men around the globe want broad shoulders for a variety of reasons. On some level, we realise that women find v-tapers to be more attractive than pot bellies and narrow shoulders, and that men respect us more when we have broad shoulders and big biceps.

Here’s the scientific reasoning behind a v-taper being attractive:

  • It signals higher testosterone
  • It’s an indicator of physical health
  • It means that a woman is likely to be physically secure and protected
  • It symbolises raw strength & power

You can read more about these attraction indicators in this study, this one, and this one.

Having broad shoulders tends to lead to a better life, all other things being equal. So it pays to know how to build them, and that’s what I’m here to help you do.

Myths Surrounding Broad Shoulders

Before writing this article, I searched a little to see what other people were saying about this, and I came across a fair amount of BS.

Myth #1 – There’s Nothing You Can Do About Shoulder Width

This is complete garbage, and I’ll get to some examples shortly. But your genetics only determine your starting point. How you progress from there, is completely up to you.

A man with a lower starting point will simply need to put in more work to achieve the same end results as the guy with better genetics.

Myth #2 – Build Up Your Shoulders To Get Broader Shoulders

It’s counter-intuitive, I know.

But your shoulders are actually pretty tiny muscles in comparison to things like your upper lats, upper pectorals, and lower traps.

These muscles take up far more space, and will take the lions share when it comes to beefing up your total shoulder circumference (which I’ll explain more in just a minute).

The exercises that you use to broaden your shoulders should focus on these muscle groups FIRST, then your side delts.

how to get broad shoulders

The Fundamental Law Of The Male Physique

I’ve seen other articles on this topic, that focus on genetics, bone structure, and things you cannot control. While I don’t disagree with the fact that you can’t control your bone structure, it’s ultimately a waste of time.

And here’s the thing – it doesn’t even matter.

Here’s why…

I personally have a FAR narrower bone structure than my younger brother, and this difference is most obvious in our legs. I have naturally skinnier legs than him, and his legs resemble tree trunks.

But this was far more obvious BEFORE I started squatting.

Let me pose this question to you.

Have you ever seen a man who can squat 500 pounds, with super skinny legs? I know I haven’t. Have you ever seen a man who can bench press 300 pounds, with a super flat chest and tiny arms? I have not.

So the fundamental law, is that you cannot be physically powerful and really small simultaneously – it just doesn’t exist for 99.999% of the population.

The same fundamental law of size applies to your shoulder circumference too.

But when it comes to shoulder circumference, you’re looking at:

  • Weighted pull ups
  • The overhead press
  • Incline bench press

These are the big three exercises that will help you to beef up your shoulder circumference (your overall musculature that makes you appear bigger in that region).

The biggest one is easily weighted pull ups, because wide lats will give you a wider appearance, especially if you then build excellent lower traps and side delts on top of this foundation.

If you can do 10+ pull ups with 50+ pounds around your waist, I can guarantee that your shoulder circumference will be respectable. It’s physically impossible for it not to be.

Now, will you have the broadest shoulders in the world? No.

But they will be far more impressive than most men, and you’ll look fantastic.

Recovering From Shoulder Workouts

In addition to the big three exercises above, you’ll need to make sure you’re recovering properly from them.

This means plenty of protein, carbs, and sleep.

You MUST sleep properly. It’s critical not only for recovery, but also for testosterone levels. If your testosterone is below 500, you can kiss goodbye to any potential muscle gains.

Check out Testogen if you’re looking to naturally increase your testosterone levels into the ideal range for men (800-1200).

How To Measure Shoulders

The best way to measure your progression with your shoulders, is through your shoulder circumference, not just width.

This is exactly what the studies do, and it’s what matters in real life. You can get some 18 year old kid with broad shoulders, but men with far more muscle mass in their upper chest, upper backs, and shoulders are going to look far superior.

Here’s an example of my shoulder circumference being measured (and I don’t have a wide bone structure, it’s all extra ‘meat’):

Examples Of Broad Shoulders Vs Narrow Shoulders

Here’s a guy who’s won the genetic lottery, in the sense that he’s good looking AND he’s got wider clavicles just from a bone structure standpoint:

Broad shoulders men

But here’s a point I’d like to highlight – the dude still has a pretty solid amount of muscle in his delts. This guy has WAY bigger-than-average side delts, which really add to the width of his shoulders.

If this guy had ZERO muscle there, there’s no way his shoulders would look as broad as they do.

Let’s look at another example, with a guy with much narrower shoulders from a bone structure perspective:

Broad shoulders

This guy is not comparable to the first one from a shoulder clavicle standpoint, but he’s obviously put many years of work into building those traps and shoulders up, and now he’s got some serious mass extending from those shoulder clavicles.

And he looks GREAT.

He’s basically made up for the deficiency in bone width, with pure muscle mass, with the traps and side delts being the main focus.

If you have narrow shoulders, you simply have to put in more work into the correct muscle groups, to compensate for it.

How To Build Broad Shoulders

Through a well-designed weight lifting program, you could pack on an extra 30 pounds of muscle onto your frame, that an untrained man simply will never have.

Meaning that you could have several pounds of extra shoulder muscle compared to the next guy. This will give you a far more powerful appearance.

This is on top of building wider lats, and losing belly fat to give you a narrow waistline. These are the things that really build your v-taper, and the illusion of broader shoulders.

(If you want to burn more fat with Intermittent Fasting so that you can enhance your v-taper, get on my email list below):

    How Much Muscle Do You Need?

    It depends.

    If you’re a ‘regular’ hard-gainer, then it may just be 20 pounds of lean muscle, and then losing 10 pounds of fat (yes hard-gainers are usually quite a lot more than 10% body fat, and the fat loss will help them to appear broader).

    If you’ve got really narrow shoulders, you may need to gain 30 pounds of muscle, with a really heavy emphasis on hypertrophy in the shoulders, traps and lats.

    This is the difference between having a rectangular body shape (waist is just as wide as your shoulders), and an upside down triangular shape (shoulders are far broader than waistline).

    *When I say 20-30 pounds, this is 20-30 pounds of pure muscle. Not fat, not glycogen, not temporary water weight. Pure muscle will simply transform the way you look, and will make ‘muscle fit’ clothing look good on you.

    Try These Shoulder Workouts For Men

    Let me start by saying that if you want to build 30 pounds of lean tissue onto your frame, it’s going to take some time, and your training will need to become progressively more difficult over time.

    But here’s a great shoulder routine to really get you started – do this 3x per week:

    Exercise Sets Reps Weight
    Pull Ups (eventually progress to weighted) 4 AMAP
    Standing Military Press 3 8 70% of 1RM
    Upright Row (With EZ Bar) 3 15
    Dumbbell Side Raises 4 20+
    1 RM = 1 Repetition Maximum, AMAP = As Many As Possible

    The standing military press is the heavy ‘tension work’ for your shoulders, and will provide the baseline for your shoulder development. It will tax your side delts, front delts, traps and triceps.

    The upright row will isolate your traps significantly, and will contribute greatly to having a more masculine look and a thick neck.

    Dumbbell side raises are my personal favourite for building broad shoulders. They really make your shoulders ‘pop’, and add to that width that you’re chasing. I highly recommend doing these for higher reps, feeling that ‘burn’, and doing rest-pause training.

    Rest-pause training means that you pause at the end of each set for a few seconds, and squeeze out a few extra painful reps. You do this multiple times.

    The lactic acid build up is agony, but you learn to love it. Especially when your shoulders are growing like weeds.

    The Best Workout Program

    Now, the above is simply a quick sample routine.

    If you’d like a far more comprehensive long-term training program that will really build up your shoulder width and shoulder power, then I recommend getting the ADF Lean Bulking Program (For Skinny Guys).

    It’s a 5 month bulking routine that will put on 10-20 pounds of muscle on your frame.

    Not only does it give you all the training materials you need, but it also has the eating system to follow. This includes the calories and the meals you need to eat, every single day (training days are higher calories and higher meal frequency), every single month.

    Here’s what Jamie had to say:

    “I’m really liking this routine. Alex has created a program that works very well for skinny guys. My biggest problem was always knowing what to eat, and now this is completely taken care of. My shoulders in particular are MILES bigger than they used to be, with my girlfriend really liking the physical changes ;)”

    This program will really help you to beef up your lats (and therefore the width of your shoulders), your actual delts themselves, and your traps also.

    You will be able to accomplish all of this within 5 months if you stick to the actual program and the diet plan in there.

    Check out the link below:

    Broad Shoulders

    To Summarise

    If you want to build broad shoulders, you’re going to need several things.

    A substantial amount of muscle in your lats, your side delts, and your traps. Your upper chest will also play a role in your total shoulder circumference.

    Once you’ve done this, a smart move would be to maximise the appearance of having broad shoulders, by narrowing your waistline and getting down to 10% body fat.

    Men with really broad-looking shoulders are never 15%, 20% or 25% body fat. It’s one of the most downplayed elements to the male physique. Your waistline must be narrow.

    If you’d like to learn how to get to 10% body fat, join 7,000+ others on their journey, right here:

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