Get 44% Off. Only $8.33/mo

45 Minute Shoulder Workout For Mass At The Gym

Hit All Three Heads With This Deltoid Demolition Workout

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m taking you through a 45 minute shoulder workout for mass at the gym.

This “Deltoid Demolition” hypertrophy style bodybuilding workout hits all heads of the deltoids.

It’s an old school bodybuilder style shoulder workout that I did back in the day, when I first started getting into building muscle.

How To Build Muscle For Skinny Guys

Delt Demolition Workout Information

During this 45 minute shoulder workout, you’ll complete 4 shoulder exercises using a pyramid set training style, followed by 1 bodyweight shoulder exercise for the workout finisher.


Brad Gouthro, PTS/NWS, host and creator of Live Lean TV, and the #1 expert teaching people all over the world how to Live Lean 365 days a year.

Workout Duration

45 minutes

Workout Focus

This 45 minute shoulder workout is designed for hypertrophy.

This muscle building training style includes traditional bodybuilding pyramid sets.

A pyramid set is a training style comprised of a number of sets for the same exercise, that start with higher reps and lighter weight, followed by lower reps and heavier weight.

In other words, when you move up the pyramid, the number of reps go down and the weight goes up.

Pyramid Set Training:

  • First Set: 12 reps
  • Second Set: 10 reps with an increase in weight
  • Third Set: 8 reps with another increase in weight

Required Equipment

  • Squat Rack
  • Barbell
  • Dumbbells
  • Flat Bench

Weight Load Selection

Since this is a hypertrophy style workout, we want to stick in that hypertrophy style zone with your weight load selection.

The load simply means the amount of weight you’re lifting.

For the three working pyramid sets of 12,10, and 8 reps, you should be picking a load that’s between 70-80% of your one rep max.

Your one max rep is how much you can lift for one rep.

Your first set of 12 reps should be a load close to 70% of your one rep max.

As you go up the pyramid, you’ll build your way up to a load that is closer to 80% of your one rep max.

Shoulder Warm Up

Before starting the shoulder workout, it’s important to first get in a quick warm up set, of the first exercise, to get loose.

The first exercise is the standing barbell shoulder press, so this will be the exercise to warm up with.

During the warm up set, I like to go really light, with higher reps of 15-20 reps.

how to properly warm up before weights

This warm up allows me to:

  • get the motion of the movement down
  • start the blood flowing to the muscles in the shoulders
  • get my heart rate up
  • lubricate the joints

Let’s jump into it.

Shoulder Workout For Mass At The Gym

When you’re in the gym, use your brain, not your ego when lifting weights.

This means I want you lifting with proper technique.

The load should be going to the muscle to build the muscle, not to the joints to hurt yourself.

To do this and get the most out of your workouts, follow the techniques included in the coaching cues section under each exercise.

Click the links below for the step-by-step exercise demonstrations.

A. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

The first shoulder exercise is the standing barbell shoulder press, also known as the standing barbell military press or the standing barbell overhead press.

  • Sets:
    • 1 warm up set
    • 3 working sets
  • Reps:
    • Warm Up Set: 15-20 reps
    • First Set: 12 reps x weight increases
    • Second Set: 10 reps x weight increases
    • Third Set: 8 Reps x weight increases
  • Tempo: 3010
  • Rest: 60 seconds
  • Load: the goal is to come pretty close to failing during the last rep, or have one rep left in the tank after the last rep
Barbell Military Press

Coaching cues:

  • After you complete the warm up set for 15-20 reps, move on to the first working set.
  • Remember, your body is still getting warmed up, so for the first working set, select a weight you can safely lift for 12 reps.
  • When I grip the barbell, I like to select a grip width that ensures my wrist and elbows joints are in alignment, when I’m pressing the barbell overhead.
  • Keeping your wrist over your elbow helps protect your elbow joint.
  • For me, this means I like to take a grip, with my pinky finger just inside the barbell knurling.
  • Once I grab the bar, I externally rotate my shoulders, while thinking about bending the bar in, to get my shoulders in proper placement.
  • When approaching the bar, make sure your body is in a stable position by turning your abs, legs, shoulders, and every other muscle on, before you lift the bar off the rack.
  • If you get up to the bar and you’re nervous, try positive self-talk, as outlined in my book, Think And Live Lean.
  • Tell the bar that you own it, look in the mirror and say, “I got this”, then yell, “Light weight” as you lift it up.
  • Lift the bar up, then back up to get into a solid hip width, or staggered stance.
  • With your abs tight, press the barbell up over your head, then bring your neck and head forward and through to open up your shoulders and get full extension overhead.
  • For tempo, press up with 1 second explosive intention, followed by a slow and controlled 3 second descent back down.
  • After you hit your rep goal, re-rack the bar, and take a 60 second break.
  • When the reps go down, the weight goes up, so be sure to add more weight for every set.
  • After you complete all the sets, take a 60 second break, then move on to the next exercise.

B. Seated Dumbbell Bent Over Rear Delt Raise

The second shoulder exercise is the seated dumbbell bent over rear delt raise, also know as bent over flyes.

You’ll see a lot of guys completing a big compound pressing movement, then they’ll hit lateral raises, front raises, and rear delt raises.

However, for most guys, the rear delts are a lagging muscle for their shoulders.

This is why I program the rear delt exercise as the second exercise, after the main compound lift.

  • Sets:
    • 3 working sets
  • Reps:
    • First Set: 12 reps
    • Second Set: 10 reps x weight increases
    • Third Set: 8 Reps x weight increases
  • Tempo: 2010
  • Rest: 60 seconds
  • Load: the goal is to come pretty close to failing during the last rep, or have one rep left in the tank after the last rep
Bent Over Flyes

Coaching cues:

  • While seated, bend forward to pull your chest down over your knees.
  • Get your body into a good stable starting position by turning on your glutes, with your feet pressed into the ground.
  • With your arms extended, raise them up and out to the sides, then under control, slowly lower them back down.
  • At the bottom of the lift, rather than letting your arms rest by your sides, stop approximately 1 inch out to keep the tension on the rear delts.
  • If you see your upper torso rising up and down for momentum, the weight is too heavy.
  • Lift with your head, not your ego.
  • For the first set, complete 12 reps, then put the weights back, and take a 60 second rest.
  • Since the weights go up as the reps go down, go grab a heavier weight for the next 10 rep set.
  • Take a 60 second break, then move up the pyramid by increasing the weight for the last set of 8 reps.
  • You should have 1 rep left in the tank or be coming very close to failing on the eighth rep.
  • That’s when you know you are lifting a heavy enough weight load.

C. Alternating Standing Dumbbell Front Raise

The third shoulder exercise is the alternating standing dumbbell front raise.

  • Sets:
    • 3 working sets
  • Reps:
    • First Set: 12 reps
    • Second Set: 10 reps x weight increases
    • Third Set: 8 Reps x weight increases
  • Tempo: 2010
  • Rest: 60 seconds
  • Load: the goal is to come pretty close to failing during the last rep, or have one rep left in the tank after the last rep
Dumbbell Front Raise

Coaching cues:

  • Before starting, get your shoulders in the set position by elevating, retracting, then depressing them down, while making sure your neck is in alignment.
  • If needed, you can stagger your feet for a strong stance.
  • With your arms extended, raise one dumbbell up in front of your body until it reaches eye level, then under control slowly lower dumbbell back to the starting position, as the opposite arm raises.
  • By following a slow and controlled tempo on the eccentric lowering of the lift, it will really help fire the muscles in your deltoids.
  • Rather than resting the non-moving dumbbell on your leg, hold it a couple inches from your leg to keep the deltoid muscles turned on.
  • Make sure you pick a load where you will be challenging yourself to the point where you are close to failing on the last rep.
  • Move up in weight for every set.
  • By the last set of 8 reps, your muscles should be on fire.
  • Three shoulder exercises down, one to go.

D. Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The fourth shoulder exercise is the standing dumbbell lateral raise.

The last portion of the shoulder we’re hitting is the lateral deltoid on the side of the shoulder.

  • Sets:
    • 3 working sets
  • Reps:
    • First Set: 12 reps
    • Second Set: 10 reps x weight increases
    • Third Set: 8 Reps x weight increases
  • Tempo: 3010
  • Rest: 60 seconds
  • Load: the goal is to come pretty close to failing during the last rep, or have one rep left in the tank after the last rep
Lateral Raise

Coaching cues:

  • Here are a few techniques to think about when completing a lateral raise.
  • I like to think about pouring a cup of tea with my extended arms at the top of the lift.
  • This means when you raise the dumbbells, your pinkie finger should be raised over the thumb, similar to when you pour a cup of tea.
  • By doing this, it will make sure you are targeting the lateral deltoids on the side of your shoulders.
  • I see a lot of people at the gym doing a little hop and pop at the bottom of the lift to move the weight.
  • This “popping” at the bottom uses momentum to move the weight, rather than locking it down and isolating the movement primarily from the shoulder joint.
  • When completing the lateral raise, I prefer to keep my arms extended out to the side, as opposed to keeping my elbows bent at a 90 degree angle, which looks like the chicken dance.
  • Even though I have done the lateral raise with elbows bent, I find my lateral delts are targeted even more by keeping my arms straighter, and extending to reach both sides of the wall with my hands.
  • When you are at the top of the movement, focus on keeping the side of the shoulder pointing up to the sky.
  • During the last set, make sure you are failing out on the eighth rep, while maintaining good form.
  • It hurts so good.

Those were 4 shoulder exercises to hit all 3 heads of the deltoids, including a compound movement at the beginning.

However, you are not done yet.

Delt Demolition Workout Finisher

We’re going to do a workout finisher to fry up and finish off the deltoids.

If you’ve done any of the workout programs in my app, you know I love workout finishers.

That means we’re going to throw in a shoulder workout finisher.

Complete as many reps as possible for only 1 of these 2 shoulder exercise workout finisher options.

Option 1: Feet Elevated Shoulder Press Pushup

The Feet Elevated Shoulder Press Push Up primarily targets your shoulders and can help you progress up to completing your first handstand push up.

To get started:

  1. Put both of your feet up on a bench and place your hands just outside of shoulder width on the ground.
  2. Walk your hands 2 feet away from the bench.
  3. Straighten your arms and legs, and raise your hips up into the air so your body forms and upside down “L”.
  4. Slowly lower head to the ground by bending your elbows.
  5. Pause, then push your hands through the ground to contract your shoulders and triceps.
  6. Repeat.

Complete as many reps as you can, for 1 set, to burn out at the end of the workout.

Or, if you are still not tired enough, you could do the more challenging option, the handstand push up against a wall.

Option 2: Handstand Pushup

The Handstand Push Up is an advanced bodyweight exercise that primarily targets the shoulders and triceps, but also requires core strength and balance.

To get started:

  1. While facing a wall, bend over to place your hands on the ground, approximately 6-12 inches from the wall, just outside shoulder width.
  2. Kick one leg up, followed by the other, to balance your legs up against the wall, with your toes pointed.
  3. Once you are upside down, with your arms extended, focus on pulling in your ribs and bracing your abs and glutes for balance.
  4. Bend your elbows forward as you lower your head down to gently touch the ground.
  5. Push your hands through the floor to straighten your elbows and rise back to the top of the handstand push up, as you move your head through to open up your shoulders.
  6. Repeat for time or reps.

Complete as many reps as you can, for 1 set, to burn out at the end of the workout.

Thank You For Joining Me For This 45 Minute Shoulder Workout For Mass At The Gym

If you haven’t followed me on Snapchat go follow me @BradGouthro for all behind the scenes of our workouts, recipes, and all that kind of stuff.

Try Our Live Lean Workout App Free For 7 Days

For more workouts like this, go join our workout app and checkout Team Live Lean for all our monthly training programs, video cooking lesson recipe videos, and meal plans.

It’s all there on Team Live Lean, so you better be over there with us.

All right, I’m out of here.

That was workout number three for the day.

Keep Living Lean.


Start by taking our FREE Live Lean Body Quiz to get access to the best program specific to your goals, current fitness level, and access to equipment.

Take the Free Live Lean Body Quiz


Did You Enjoy This 45 Minute Shoulder Workout For Mass At The Gym?

If you enjoyed this 45 Minute Shoulder Workout For Mass At The Gym, show your love by clicking the social media buttons to share this with your friends.

Subscribe to our Live Lean TV YouTube channel and leave a comment below on what you want to see in future posts.

Question Of The Day:

  • What is your all time favorite shoulder exercise?
  • Are you excited to get access to every program now in our workout app?

Share your experiences in the comment section below.

Check out our free workout videos here.

Check out my free recipe cooking videos here.

24 responses to “45 Minute Shoulder Workout For Mass At The Gym

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *