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Shoulder Workouts for Women to Try at the Gym

Team Cellucor’s Maria Moda shared tips on the importance of building strong, sculpted shoulders for your next gym workout.

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When it comes to building a powerful look, having well-developed shoulders is a must. Team Cellucor’s Maria Moda shared tips on the importance of building strong shoulders.

A lot of women say they want to have nice muscular arms. It’s really a little deceiving because it’s not so much about your biceps and triceps as it is about your shoulders. I think having a strong shoulder with a nice round deltoid cap really presents yourself as a powerful woman.

When I want to focus on building my shoulders, I’ll train twice a week. On those two days, I’ll eat more carbohydrates. And the other thing I do is really push the weight. Don’t be afraid to go with a lower rep range like 8-10 reps. Go as heavy as you can without compromising your form or causing injury.

And on the importance of keeping the intensity high during a workout to burn fat and build muscle:

Right before I start my workout, I set up my Apple watch. This helps me not only track how many calories I’m burning approximately, but it also helps me time my workout. It keeps me really focused, I just look at my watch and know I got to get moving.

A lot of people are curious about how much rest they should take between their sets. That depends on what your goals are: if you’re trying to lift heavy and build a lot of muscle then you want a longer rest but if you’re trying to be active, burn fat, and build a little muscle you’ll want shorter rest periods.

Maria’s Shoulder Workout

  • WTY Raises
  • Machine Shoulder Press
  • Hanging Lateral Raise
  • Dumbbell Upright Row
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Standing Rear Delt Fly
  • Cable Face Pulls

1. WTY Raises

WTY Raises

Sets x Reps: 1 x 20

For my warm-up, I like to start with a light weight, usually 3-5 pounds. I do WTY raises, what this does is it warms up my shoulders and gets the blood flowing. This exercise helps me feel a little more activated before I start lifting heavier.

2. Machine Shoulder Press

Machine Shoulder Press

Sets x Reps: 4 x 15

I always like to start with a shoulder press, and I usually do a machine press first. When you do a machine exercise you feel very stable. So, to get my body really warm and activated I start with a machine shoulder press. What you want to do is make sure your abs are always tight and your core is engaged. My shoulders are down, and my elbows are a little forward, they’re in line with my hands. When you go up you don’t want to lock your elbows and when you come down you go just a little below parallel, so the exercise is a continuous motion.

3. Hanging Side Lateral Raise

Hanging Side Lateral Raise

Sets x Reps: 4 x 12-15

This is the best exercise for building the powerful shoulder look of a nice, rounded cap. To do this, you hold on to something stable and lean down while your supporting arm stays strong. Then you can lift the weight up like you would a normal side lateral. Since this exercise is a little more challenging you want to start out lighter at first and then you can go up incrementally depending on how strong you feel.

4. Dumbbell Upright Row

Dumbbell Upright Row

Sets x Reps: 4 x 12

This is more of a power movement for me, I like to push the weight a little bit. I use lifting straps on this exercise, so I have a nice strong grip. When I do this movement, I lead with my elbow, and I start with a tight core. My abs are tight on this exercise and my other arm is holding on to something for stability. When I lift the weight up, I lead with my elbow and the dumbbell comes just above my chest. An important mental cue to help you do this movement is to always think “elbow first”.

5. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Sets x Reps: 4 x 15

Remember how I said that side lateral raises really help with the shoulder cap? Well, I’m going to do one more exercise, a standing dumbbell side lateral raise.

6. Standing Rear Delt Fly

Standing Rear Delt Fly

Sets x Reps: 4 x 15

One of the reasons why I train rear delts on shoulder and back day is that it’s a postural muscle. Not only does it look nice when you’re looking at yourself from the back, but it helps retract your shoulders. For this exercise, I adjusted the handles to shoulder height. On this movement, I’m trying to pull out and really squeeze my delts.

7. Cable Face Pulls

Cable Face Pulls

Sets x Reps: 4 x 15

I have a rope attachment and cables situated where it’s higher because I pull down and back on this exercise. As I do it, I have a stable foot position, my core is tight, and I lead with my elbows going back. I bring the cable to eye level and squeeze my rear delts as I come back.

Maria’s Shoulder Day Supplements

NO3 Chrome: The first thing I do when I get to the gym is take my NO3 Chrome. It’s a non-stimulant pre-workout with a nitric oxide booster. Nitric oxide helps open up your blood vessels and gets the blood pumping. Not only does it look really good when you’re training and see yourself in the mirror, but it also feels amazing. It helps me feel my muscles and connect with that mind-muscle connection.


Alpha Amino: One of the ways I like to stay hydrated during training is using Alpha Amino. This is good for recovery and for keeping yourself hydrated. I put one scoop in a shaker cup of water and sip on it for the duration of my training.

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