Reasons Why You Can't Build Big Shoulders

Reasons Why You Can't Build Big Shoulders

by Evelyn Valdez

If you enjoy working out because of the muscle-building benefits, then you probably already know that getting to the size you want isn’t as easy as it may look. It takes time, effort, and a lot of sweat.

Even after you get the hang of it and start targeting specific muscles to make them grow, such as your shoulder muscles, you might find yourself stuck in a plateau in which your muscles don’t seem to be getting bigger anymore. And while this is frustrating, it’s not a dead end!

In this article, we’ll help you figure out the reasons why you might have been having trouble building big shoulders and how to get back on track, so you can rock your big sculpted shoulders!


You’re not prioritizing your deltoids

As you probably know, the deltoids are the muscles in your shoulders, and you’d be surprised at how neglected they can get in a muscle-building workout. Active people tend to focus on their bigger muscle groups, such as pecs, lats, quads, and glutes, and leave smaller muscles as an afterthought, including deltoids.

Naturally, if you don’t give your shoulder muscles enough resistance to work with, they’re not going to grow anytime soon. This is true for all muscle groups, but especially for those that don’t get recruited as much during general compound movements.

The fix: Add a couple of deltoid exercises to your routine. Instead of focusing on compound back, arm, or chest exercises that recruit your shoulder muscles as secondary movers, make sure that you perform at least a couple of deltoid exercises to fully target them and help them grow.

Wrist pain is limiting you

When it comes to making your deltoid muscles grow as big as you want, overhead presses will be your best friend! This staple upper-body exercise is one of the most effective you can add to your muscle-building routine for bigger shoulders because of the high level of resistance that the barbell offers.

However, wrist pain is a common issue when it comes to overhead pressing due to the vertical path the bar follows. Because of this, lifters tend to load the bar with a lighter weight that’s not enough to trigger muscle hypertrophy, or they completely avoid adding this exercise to their shoulder workout.

The fix: Add a pair of wrist wraps to your gym bag! UPPPER Wrist Wraps offer the support that your wrists need during heavy overhead lifting and allow you to increase resistance to maximize muscle growth. This way, you can focus on your gains without having to worry about wrist pain!

Your shoulders have limited mobility

Proper form is necessary when performing any kind of exercise, but it’s particularly important when you’re focusing on muscle growth because you deal with heavy loads that can put a lot of strain on the wrong places or target different muscles if not executed correctly.

During deltoid exercises, especially overhead ones, shoulder mobility plays a big part in getting the form right. When you have limited mobility, you’re not able to press the weight straight up and instead do it at an angle, switching the focus from your deltoids to other muscles such as your pecs.

The fix: Add shoulder mobility exercises to your warm-up routine. On top of warming up like you usually do before every workout, throw in a couple of mobility exercises such as cross-arm stretches to help your shoulder joints and muscles get looser and more flexible with time.

You’re not recovering properly

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since recovery is one of the main things you need to prioritize in a fitness journey. Not letting your muscles rest and instead pushing them too far is only going to halt your progress and might even get you injured, something you definitely don’t want!

Additionally, your shoulder joints are very sensitive and prone to injuries when not treated correctly. This means that, in order to successfully embark on a muscle-building journey for your deltoids, you need to take proper care of your whole shoulder area.

The fix: Schedule your workouts with enough rest in between. Ensure you have a training split that trains your upper body (as well as lower body) on separate days instead of back-to-back so you can have at least one full day of rest for your shoulder muscles. And aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night for faster recoveries!

You’re not targeting them from every angle

Aiming to grow big shoulders but you’re only doing overhead presses? Then you’re missing out on some big gains! Variation is the key to an effective fitness routine because of many reasons, one of them being that you need to hit your muscles from different planes and angles to actually make them grow and get stronger.

Your deltoid muscle group is composed of the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoid, located at the back, side, and front of your shoulders respectively. If you only focus on pressing exercises, for example, you’ll be prioritizing your anterior delts over the other two muscles, throwing off the balance of your routine and halting your progress.

The fix: Add more variation to your shoulder routine. Adding shoulder exercises such as Turkish get-ups and Arnold presses, as well as other isolation exercises, will help you target all three deltoid heads to make sure you’re getting a well-rounded muscle-building workout that takes you closer to your goals.

Take your gains to the next level with these tips

Next time you step into the gym, make sure to remember our tips and put them to the test. Maybe you only have one or two issues, or maybe you need to reframe your whole fitness approach, what matters is that you get on the right path to start growing your shoulder muscles. And pack your UPPPER Wrist Wraps in your gym bag on shoulder days!

Who are we?

We're UPPPER Fitness Gear – the place to get all your fitness gear! Founded by Iulia Danilova (Fit With Iulia), we strive to make fitness gear that is high-quality, durable, comfortable, stylish, and most importantly, designed to help take your workouts to the next level. 

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