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21 Reasons Why Your Shoulders Won’t Grow

For your own benefit.

Check out 21 possible reasons why your shoulders won’t grow.

21? Really?! Yes, believe it or not. Shoulders are considered a unique muscle group because of their anatomical structure and function. Here are a few reasons why shoulders stand out:

  1. Wide Range of Motion: The shoulder joint, also known as the glenohumeral joint, allows for a wide range of motion compared to other joints in the body. It provides the ability to move the arms in various directions, including flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, rotation, and circumduction. This extensive mobility is facilitated by the shallow socket of the shoulder joint, which provides flexibility but also makes it more susceptible to injuries.
  2. Multiple Muscle Heads: The shoulder muscles consist of several muscle heads that work together to perform different movements and stabilize the joint. The main muscles involved in shoulder movements are the deltoids, rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis), trapezius, and the muscles of the upper back and chest. Each muscle head has a specific role and contributes to the overall function and appearance of the shoulders.
  3. Stabilization and Support: The shoulder joint relies heavily on the surrounding muscles and ligaments to provide stability and support during movement. The rotator cuff muscles, in particular, play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the joint and preventing dislocations or injuries. Weakness or imbalances in these stabilizing muscles can lead to shoulder instability and increased risk of injuries.
  4. Aesthetic Appeal: Well-developed shoulders can enhance the overall aesthetics of the upper body. Strong and defined shoulders create a visually appealing V-tapered physique, making the waist appear narrower and giving the appearance of a broader upper body. This is why many individuals prioritize shoulder training to achieve a balanced and aesthetically pleasing physique.
  5. Functional Importance: Shoulders are involved in numerous daily activities and functional movements, such as reaching, lifting, pushing, and pulling. Strong and functional shoulders are essential for performing tasks both in daily life and sports-related activities. Developing shoulder strength and stability can improve overall upper body strength and enhance performance in various athletic endeavors.

Due to their unique characteristics, shoulders require specific attention in training to ensure proper development, stability, and injury prevention.

sara sigmundsdottir Perfect Full Body Home WorkoutSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Regardless if you knew all of that before or not, there is a possibility that your shoulders are simply not growing properly. And you probably don’t even know why, but that is the reason you clicked here.

This list of 21 reasons why your shoulders won’t grow was shared by no other than John Meadows“The Mountain Dog”,  a professional bodybuilder, trainer and nutritionist who died in 2021. He is famous for sharing gym tips, and workouts and showing how he trained to achieve his goals.

See it all below.

21 Reasons Why Your Shoulders Won’t Grow

Is there so many wrong things you can do to not make your shoulders grow? Turns out, yes.

There are numerous exercises a person can do to target their shoulders, from kettlebell, dumbbells, barbells, to using gymnastic rings, a pull-up bar, or simply your bodyweight. That is why there can be so many mistakes one can do to miss out on how to make the shoulders grow.

In a nutshell, Meadows talks about these 21 reason why your shoulders won’t grow, and how to fix it.

  1. Exercise sequence
  2. Cable position for rear
  3. Cable position for side
  4. Dumbbell position for front
  5. Partial rear
  6. Partial side
  7. Elbows in front
  8. Arc dumbbells
  9. Partial range of motion
  10. Exercise profile
  11. Strength curve
  12. Opposite — Heavy in weakest position
  13. If no equipment just partials
  14. Part of shoulder you work facing up
  15. Make weights lighter to isolate
  16. Over & Backs
  17. Spider crawls
  18. 18.) Pronate hands on rear delts
  19. Let your muscles relax
  20. No shrugging
  21. Separate shoulder day

See the video for a deeper explanation of each of the arguments above.

Timestamps of the video:

  • Exercise sequence Rear delts 1st side 2nd front 3rd 2:55
  • Cable position for rear 3:37
  • Cable position for side 4:30
  • Dumbbell position for front 5:37
  • Partial rear 6:40
  • Partial side 9:35
  • Elbows in front 9:43
  • Arc dumbbells 10:50
  • Partial range of motion 11:40
  • Exercise profile 12:05
  • Strength curve 12:40
  • Opposite — Heavy in weakest position 14:42
  • If no equipment just partials 15:32
  • Part of shoulder you work facing up 17:40
  • Make weights lighter to isolate 18:07
  • Over & Backs 19:35
  • Spider crawls 21:45
  • 18.) Pronate hands on rear delts 22:05
  • Let your muscles relax 22:45
  • No shrugging 23:45
  • Separate shoulder day

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Training the shoulders to make them bigger can be challenging for a few reasons:

  1. Genetics: The size and shape of your shoulders are largely determined by your genetics. Some people may have a genetic predisposition for broader shoulders, while others may have narrower shoulders. This can make it more difficult to achieve significant gains in shoulder size through training.
  2. Shoulder anatomy: The shoulders are a complex joint that is made up of multiple muscles, tendons, and bones. Because of their complexity, it can be challenging to target all of the shoulder muscles effectively with traditional strength training exercises. For example, the anterior deltoids may be easily stimulated with overhead pressing movements, but the lateral deltoids and rear deltoids may require more targeted exercises to effectively stimulate growth.
  3. Overtraining: The shoulders are often worked indirectly through other upper body exercises, such as bench presses and rows. This means that they can be easily overtrained if not given enough rest and recovery time. Overtraining can lead to injury and can also prevent muscle growth.
  4. Lack of progressive overload: Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed on the muscles over time, which is necessary for muscle growth. If you are not progressively increasing the weight, sets, or reps of your shoulder exercises over time, your muscles may not be receiving enough stimulus to grow.

To effectively train the shoulders and promote muscle growth, it is important to incorporate a variety of exercises that target all three heads of the deltoids, as well as the rotator cuff and trapezius muscles. It is also important to allow for adequate rest and recovery time between workouts, and to progressively increase the intensity of your workouts over time.

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Should You Workout Your Shoulders Every Day?

No, it is not recommended to work out your shoulders every day. The shoulders are a complex joint that is involved in many upper body movements, and they require time to recover and adapt to the stress placed on them during exercise. Overtraining the shoulders can lead to muscle fatigue, decreased strength, and an increased risk of injury.

The frequency of shoulder workouts depends on several factors, including your fitness level, training experience, and workout intensity. Generally, it is recommended to allow at least 48 hours of rest between shoulder workouts to allow for adequate recovery time.

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If you are a beginner, you may benefit from working out your shoulders once or twice a week, gradually increasing the frequency as your fitness level improves. If you are an advanced lifter, you may be able to train your shoulders more frequently, but it is still important to allow for adequate recovery time and to avoid overtraining.

Ultimately, the frequency of your shoulder workouts should be based on your individual fitness goals, training experience, and recovery abilities. It is important to listen to your body and adjust your workout frequency and intensity as needed to avoid injury and promote muscle growth.

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