Top 6 Shoulder Training Mistakes

Having great shoulders really makes you appear sleek and powerful. However, chest and back training does not suffice when attempting to build spectacular shoulders. You must train the shoulders directly, intensely, and often. Be attentive of these 6 common mistakes that people make when training shoulders.

Shoulder Training Mistakes

The Top 6 Shoulder Training Mistakes

  1. Avoiding the Overhead Press

    One of the greatest methods any bodybuilder can use in building incredibly developed muscles all over is focusing on compound exercises. The barbell military press is one of those exercises.

    If you aren’t doing barbell military presses, you’re simply limiting your shoulder development. Is it an easy exercise where you just have to fling your arms? No. But it’s an exercise that’ll develop your shoulders beyond the majority of isolation, and it’s a functional exercise as well.

  2. Using Improper Form

    Here’s the biggest one many are a culprit to. Improper form is even more of a dangerous element than on something like arms where you’ll just simply suffer in development as form issues with shoulders can cause joint issues very easily. On seated barbell shoulder presses and dumbbell seated presses especially, you’ll want to avoid going down too low on repetitions as it can be dangerous to your rotator cuff. You’re better off saving yourself the mental benefit of feeling like you did something special by performing full reps, and instead saving your rotator cuffs.

    Be sure to keep a fairly narrow grip on most shoulder pressing movements, as this is better for your rotator cuffs, and will help you to avoid injuries.

  3. Training Shoulders After Chest

    This is an understandable blunder, but not the wisest one. When training chest, your shoulders are one of the main stabilizing muscles in most of the exercises done for shoulders, so training shoulders the day after a chest day is a bad move.

    If your primary concern is chest development, and you don’t really care about developing broad, thick shoulders, then maybe that’s okay. But I think the majority of people should train shoulders at least a few days after chest in order to maximize their numbers on shoulder day, and come in rested in a manner that won’t overtrain their shoulders.

  4. Neglecting The Rear Deltoids

    Rear Delt Flyes
    Rear Delt Training

    This is an extremely common error. The rear deltoids aren’t much of a show-off muscle and, thus, tend to get neglected quite often. However, if you have any plans of competing in bodybuilding, or just want to look good from the rear in general, training rear deltoids is extremely important. This muscle can really separate your physique from your counterparts who choose to ignore it.

    Bent over dumbbell raises, upright rowing, and lateral raises on an incline bench are several good rear delt exercises you can perform to get started on building an impressive pair of rear delts.

  5. Sacrificing Form For Heavier Weight

    Another issue that many people have is sacrificing form to move more weight on shoulder movements. Not only can this be dangerous, but it’s generally not the greatest idea. I have had the opportunity to observe closely thousands of men and women train, and those with the best deltoid development overwhelmingly tend to be the ones who demonstrate proper form using tightly controlled movements. Besides which, if you are using more weight in an effort to impress your fellow gym members, I can assure you that nobody cares.

    You may be asked how much you bench press or squat, or even how much you curl, but I have yet to hear anyone ask someone else how much that person uses for lateral raises or upright rows.

  6. Using Too Much Volume

    The shoulders are the easiest muscle group to overtrain because they are indirectly involved in other exercises you do for almost all of the upper body. Chest training hits the front delts hard. Back training taxes the rear delts greatly. Even compound exercises for the triceps such as close-grip bench presses and weighted dips use much power from the anterior delts to get the job done. For this reason you should absolutely never train the shoulders directly more often than once a week.

    You also need to be aware of training overlap so you don’t sabotage either the work-out intensity or the recovery of your shoulders. For example, don’t train the shoulders less than 48 hours before or after training the chest.


  • Work your rear delts.
  • Press a barbell over your head.
  • Perfect your form by using a full, yet safe, range of motion.
  • Don’t train shoulders immediately after chest.
  • Don’t train with weight that is too heavy for you.
  • Keep shoulder volume low so they can recover properly.
  • Read: The Top 5 Best Shoulder Exercises

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5 Responses to “Top 6 Shoulder Training Mistakes”

  1. I could probably relate to 4 out of the 6 reasons shoulder mistakes when I first started out. For new trainers, using improper form and sacrificing form for more weight is so common. Getting the form right is so crucial and far more effective than adding weight.

  2. You stated that you shouldn’t train shoulders more than once a week. I was wondering if this advice still applies if I am doing an upper/lower split. I currently do 2 shoulder exercises twice a week. Day 1 is overhead press and lateral raises, day 2 is upright rows and rear delt flys. Does this seem like too much or a reasonable volume?

  3. Speaking as someone who’s suffered a long term shoulder injury in the past, make sure that you’re taking the traps out of the movement when it comes to lateral raises and even back exercises that cause the trapezius to take-on much of the load.
    On all shoulder exercies, if you find you’re breaking form, and engaging the muscles you shouldn’t be, lower the weight. It’s too heavy!

    Keep it up and you’ll eventually develop shoulder impingement syndrome.
    FORM is so, so important when it comes to training shoulders.

    It took me 9 months to get back to where I was.
    Please protect them 😉


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