Building Boulder Shoulders: Lawrence Ballenger Shoulder Workout –

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Big, round delts make good bodies look great. And strong, functional shoulders make your good lifts even better. Here’s how Lawrence Ballenger trains his shoulders for boulder size and strength!

Get the full workout here:

Today’s shoulder workout is going to be a lot of fun. We’re going to start with some heavy, compound lifts to build overall strength and mass, and then get our pump on with lighter isolation lifts. This approach lets us build massive boulders and then chisel them into pure sculpture.

There are only seven exercises in this workout, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It’s your responsibility to keep the intensity high. Nobody is going to build your dream physique for you.

During this workout, clear your mind of everything but the iron. Focus just on your lifts and building your best self. That’s how you find success.


It’s really important to warm up before you begin this workout. Aside from spending some time on the treadmill, I like to warm up my rotator cuff by doing internal and external shoulder rotations and arm circles.

I do this because I want to avoid injuries. Your shoulders are involved in pretty much every exercise you do, so it’s imperative to keep them healthy.

When I don’t have a spotter, I like to do seated military presses inside a power rack. Use the warm-up sets to set up the correct movement pattern and work up to your heavy weight. You’ve only got six reps per set, so that means you get to pile on the plates!

I set the incline bench pretty high when I do this exercise. If you like to use less incline, that’s totally fine. The Arnold press can help you add a lot of power and size to the front delt, which is perfect because that muscle seems to be a place where many people are lacking. Round shoulders are great because they show off the width of your body and make your arms look fully developed.

The focus of lateral raises is the squeeze and control. Don’t just throw the weight up; control the movement through the entire range of motion. Squeeze the shoulder on the way up. On the way down, keep tension on the delts by stopping before your arm rests against your body.

Because you can’t use any momentum and you keep tension on the muscles for so long, you may have to use lighter weight. That’s fine. Don’t worry about how big the dumbbell is. Worry about keeping your shoulder contracted throughout the whole exercise.

Again, focus on the squeeze. As you go through the sets, you’ll notice that your range of motion might decrease. Sometimes, the delt gets so full of blood it might be hard to contract the muscle fully. Bang these reps out and keep moving.

By alternating the working muscles, you can isolate each front delt. The best part about doing this on an incline is that it really stretches the target area. The more muscle fibers you can stretch and contract, the bigger your delts can become!

A lot of people think they hit their rear delts enough on their back days, but I think it’s important to do a little more work because the rear delts are a highly neglected area. Your shoulders look rounder and thicker when you have big rear delts.

For this exercise, keep your elbows fairly straight and parallel to the ground. Squeeze the heck out of your delts.

Pile up the weight and start shrugging! Shrugs are usually a strong movement for most people. I like to use straps because my grip fatigues by the end of the workout. Use a slight pause at the top for peak contraction.

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Aaron Benson says:

You guys gotta get over this good and bad genetics crap.

Jacob Yell says:

May I just say that’s some AMAZING form on the “military press”, I never
knew it was for chest! *jokes*

blackblack jack says:

does lifting only 6 reps will help u build muscle? I thought this was for

Raxos Mode says:

so is this counting as a hypertrophy workout? cause i thought they needed
to be 4-6 reps (while he did 3) and 8-12 reps (which he did :)) or is this
a mixture of both strength and hypertrophy? Im at university studying
health and personal training so i would like to know more about this 🙂
great vid btw.

Jake Breed says:

Lotta good ideas for new exercises on this!

iliadisi1 says:

04:02 front delt is lagging? cmon man. Im not as pro as this guy but
everybody know that front delt is never lagging :D

Brandon Windisch says:

I believe Larry Scott was doing “arnold presses” first, not sure why its
called that. I may be wrong but awesome workout !

Val Fitness ibulk team says:

Looks like a great program i will try it today and add it to my schedule
definitely and will see! 

Robert Gardner says:

Great workout …I will add to my routines,,, thanks,bill

Gabriel Dos Santos says:

4:44 I guess weights don’t get racked at this gym…

Logan Brooks says:

I’ve never heard “let’s bang this out” so many times in my fucking life

Jamie B says:

He has great genetics

Kobus Loubser says:

Nice Incline Bench press there in the start

mark christian diana says:

i like the lateral raise!! much more focus on the side delt

cerniglia65 says:

how much time does he take off between exercises?

Derik Ronald says:

Doesn’t shrugs workout traps? So it’s both shoulders and traps?

marshallpulham says:

LOL 7:34 the little guy in the white doing some “INTENSE” pull downs

Alpha betical says:

Killer shoulder routine! I was getting bored of my current routine (Push,
Pull, Legs) i enjoyed this, ill take a look into more of your videos
fingers crossed you have a vid like this for every body part lol thanks
Lawrence and for the upload. 

Monkeytail says:

Military press.. is a *standing* (barbell) shoulder press (where you
lockout overhead) w/ no dips and drives. In other words.. what’s the
essence of a military press.. ‘reverse engineer’ the question; when is
something not a military press anymore?

Sarwath Gafoor says:

“Nobody is going to get you to where you want to be, besides you”
-Lawrence Ballenger.

True Words. Perseverance and Dedication.

Danny Byrne says:

Looks a good work out ! 

Fon Fit says:

Jason Derulo? 

Polymerisation Pain says:

When you say squeasing and we’re talking about shoulders. What is the key
there. i literally just stop at the top. I have no idea how to mentally
connect and squeese my shoulder in motion. Somebody got any tip?

johnny bratt says:

Just one time in day or i need to do it again ?? 

Kos Kuzma says:

Em gonna try this tonight! thnx brotha

ItsHunterFool says:

pause at 3:31 : ) 

Andrew Lin says:

Why do 2 warm up sets for everything. I can understand maybe 1 warm up set
after eac after a complete set of 3-4 of something like shoulder presses.
But I dont do any more warm up sets after that.

mrtypr says:

How much does this dude weigh and whats his height

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