If you’re a hardgainer, chances are you have narrow and slanted shoulders, making you look weak and “un-manly.” If you ever notice in movies or in even real life, the alpha male heroes and leaders almost always have a set of wide and broad shoulders. Look at cartoon superheroes, historical depictions of great leaders, or statues of Greek gods. From the past to the present, society has deemed that broad shoulders on a man is a good thing and makes him respectable and fit for “manly” roles. The small, little, narrow-shouldered guy is no where to be revered or respected in history, pop culture or real life. A broad shoulder is the definition of masculinity.
Obviously a lot of guys are born with a wider frame, longer clavicles and thus have wider shoulders. If you’re a hardgaining ecto, chances are you were shortchanged and given shoulders not much longer than the width of your head. It makes you look really unmasculine and just plain small. If you have narrow shoulders, it doesn’t matter how well-defined your abs are or how chiseled your chest is, the first thing that people will notice is the slanted shoulders that go two inches farther than your ears.
Before I go into how to get wider and broader shoulders, lets take a look at the anatomy of the shoulder muscle, or better known as the deltoid. The deltoid muscle is split into three individual segments: the front (posterior), rear (anterior), and side (lateral) deltoids. The front deltoids actually are used quite a bit in many various exercises. It assists in benching and most other chest workouts. The Rear Deltoids are mostly involved in back exercises and assist in that. The side deltoids, however, are only activated and used in specifical isolation movements and it is actually the specific muscle area that will “widen your shoulder.” An increase in the side lateral muscle means a wider frame for you in terms of length.
So now we have that understanding, you must focus on the side deltoids if you want wider and longer shoulders. This is the only area that can be “built” which will make you look “wider.” The only method in creating “wider-looking” shoulders is to directly hit the side deltoids with either dumbells or cable machines. Regardless if you were born with wide or narrow clavicles, anyone can increase its length by working on the side deltoids by doing “lateral raises” with either dumbells or a cable.
To do the lateral raises, first make sure your feet is the same width as your shoulders and have them firmly on the ground. Hold the dumbells either in front of you or by your side with your thumbs pointing forward. Now slowly raise the dum’bells up to just above your shoulder joints (you should only slightly bend your shoulder). Lower the dumbells back into the start position under as much control as you can. Make note that the lowering portion of the rep is just as important in building the side laterals as the lifting portion of the rep. Remember guys, with such an isolated movement, mind and muscle connection is absolutely crucial so mentally focus heavily on the movement when you do this spectacular exercise.
So there you have it. If you want broader shoulders, the only way known to man is to do lateral raises, but remember, don’t get too overly excited, do too many sets and overtrain the side deltoids - they are just like every other muscle. So get out there and incorporate this into your workout.