How to Build “Boulder Shoulders” (WARMUP & WORKOUT!)

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, No, I’m not trying to be an a-hole with
the title. I’m actually going to show you a warmup
– my warmup – that I use for my shoulders that you can use to build a lot of muscle. We’re going to take a little heavier weight
– same exercises – and we’re going to allow this to help us build muscle via metabolic
overload. We can drive as much metabolic accumulation
as we possibly can by, not just seeking the burn, but then reveling in it, and chasing
the burn even more, and not giving us a break as we go through these 12 exercises. It’s called a deltoid dozen, using one,
single plate. Let’s rewind a bit first. We’re talking about a warmup. If you take a 5lb or 10lb plate, if you go
through the series of moves I’m going to show you here, you’re going to hit your
shoulders in all different planes, hit all heads of the deltoids, and get them feeling
nice, and loose before you head out to train. Let’s walk through this first with the lighter
weight. You can see here as I start with some pendulums. All we want to do is swing these things. We call them sweepers. Back and forth. You can see I’m getting a little adduction
on the arms, I’m getting nice and loose. The goal is to let the weight let my arms
swing. Utilize the weight to your advantage. We progress that here up to a little bit of
a transverse plane movement now, and we actually get our hips involved just to let the fluidity
take place here. Don’t lock yourself up. Let the arms swing nice and free. You should feel as if your arms are starting
to get nice and loose, just from these first few movements. The next thing you do is lean forward and
take that light, light plate – I realize – then you’re going to row it to your
belly. What we’re doing here is focusing on getting
extension of the arms behind our body. The extension is going to be one of the easiest
ways to start to introduce more mobility to the shoulders, versus having to go straight
adduction, or flexion, or overhead extension. Now, from here we’re going to take it a
little bit higher. This is almost a horizontal version of a face
pull. Here, the elbow travel is straight out to
our sides. You almost want to pull the plate apart at
the top and get more of a high pull effect, utilizing more of the upper back muscles,
and even more of the rear delts to do this. Now that we’ve loosened up the shoulders
and hit those indirect planes, now we can start to go a little more into that troublesome
plane, for a lot of people. That is abduction. We can do that here with a pendulum. Here, we’re actually utilizing a little
bit of momentum in the swing of the plate, left to right, to ease into abduction. We’re not just hitting the middle delt here. We’re getting the rear delt as well. Even when we swing to the front we’re getting
some of that arm travel across the body, which will get the front delt, too. So, we’re getting some elevation, we’re
getting that swing, we’re actually taking it one step further every, single time. Once we’ve done that, let’s challenge
a bit more, the external rotation of the shoulders. We’ve got to stand up and do a sword raise. So, we’re lifting from the bottom left,
and then up toward our high right, or vice versa. The goal here is trying to get as high and
externally rotated as you can at the top to continue to loosen up that shoulder into abduction,
and now with the external rotation combined. So, you’re going to want to do that on both
sides. Once we’re standing, another great way we
can activate the rotators of the shoulder is to take this plate into the plate halo. We’re trying to circle the plate nice and
tight around our head as much as we can, utilizing the muscles of the rotator cuff, and trying
to get them nice, and loose, and warm in all planes, in all directions. Of course, you want to make sure you’re
not just taking it in one direction, but going both clock-wise, and counter clock-wise around
your head to warm up both shoulders through both internal, and external rotation. With that accomplished, now we can move onto
a little bit more of the pressing movements. We’ve warmed up our shoulders, now let’s
start with the pressing a little bit. We start with a very easy plate press out. Straight from our upper chest, and straight
out, utilizing the front delts to a heavy degree. But we can actually shift that focus a little
more to the side delt, if we push at an oblique angle. After we push and feel nice, and loose in
the front, now we’re going to press at the oblique angle. Make sure the arm that stays straight is the
side that you’re pushing to. So, if I’m pushing to the right side, that
arm goes out as straight as I can, and the left arm is there to support it. Now what we’re doing here with the plate-eight
is making this a lot tougher. Even though it’s a warmup, by this time
you can see I’m huffing and puffing here, and I’m sweating. You want to be able to get your arms out there
and keep the tension on the shoulders while we continue to mobilize. Now we’re going in this figure eight pattern,
back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, but never relieving the tension because my
arms are being held out there the entire time. Now, giving ourselves a bit of a much-needed
reprieve here, we go into the overhead trap raise. Which, again, I’ve covered before on this
channel. This is going straight up, but all the way
overhead. You can see what we’re doing here is trying
to activate and engage the lower traps. Very, very important for the stability of
your shoulders. You want to make sure they’re active and
alert before you start getting into some of your heavier overhead pressing movements to
come in your later workout. Finally, we go here and do our last exercise,
which is the bus driver. I use this one in my workout with Jinder Mahal,
if you haven’t seen that one here on our channel. It’s a ball buster, for sure. The idea is, even as a warmup can you continue
to drive the bus until your arms are fried. They’re super warm, ready to go, you can
do anything now. You’re ready to start your workout. So, to recap and actually check this out with
the heavier weight here, this is where you’re going to build muscle here, guys. I don’t care if you’re using a 45lb plate
like I am here, or whether you’re using a 55lb plate, or God help you if you can use
a 100lb plate; go to town with it. But I’m going to tell you this: by the time
you’re done with all these movements you’re likely not going to be using what you wanted
to use when you set out to start this thing. It gets very, very difficult, quickly. But you still do the same movements here. So, to recap. We have our sweepers here, back and forth. Remember, even with the heavier weight here
try to let the weight loosen up the shoulders. Then we go into this transverse plane where
we’re swinging the weight side to side. Again, utilizing those hips to help loosen
up the shoulders and get your entire body ready for what’s to come. Now we bend over here. Now with the more challenging weight. Again, very, very light for a row, but we
have to start in that same plane. Remember, this is accumulation, guys. Not just looking to fatigue ourselves to dead
failure here. We’re going for an accumulation by the time
we’re done with all these reps. You should probably be aiming to do about
eight reps of each if you can. We do the low row to the belly, then we bring
the plate up higher now, until it’s going up really high on our chest, looking for that
reverse face pull action with the plate. Then, of course, we start going into that
pendulum. You can see here, a lot more difficult for
me to pendulum this weight up, and to the side, up, and to the side. From here, we want to take it up into the
diagonal. We get a little higher, a little more external
rotation. This is tough, but we do have that lower hand
to spot if we need it. It’s going to come in handy for you. As I’m trying to externally rotate and finish
up nice and high on the sword raise, I do have that lower hand to help spot me to get
this. Of course, we’re working on both sides at
a time. Then we work the haloes the same way here. It’s a little more challenging, but because
the plate is held nice, and tight, and your arms aren’t out as far as they were on some
of the earlier exercises, the challenge is not as hard. Despite the fact that you’ve added more
weight. But the benefit is still the same. We’re loosening up, and we’re working
those external rotators. Now from here, we start that pressing portion
of this. It becomes a lot more difficult when you’ve
chosen that heavier weight. So, we’re doing the plate press outs here. Again, choosing a number and try to hit it
every, single time. Next, we go in and start taking up the oblique
angle. Now we’re working more of that middle delt
because we’re pushing out a little more to the side into abduction, as opposed to
straight out in front of us. Again, making sure to keep that outside arm
– the pressing arm – straighter than you are on the assistance arm. From here, we go into that really difficult
portion with the plate eight. The plate eight, done with a 45lb plate – as
many of you can probably already attest to, is not that easy. But it’s worthwhile. You’re going to go here and, again, by now
the burn is probably substantially in place. If you have to rest for even a split second,
make it a split second and get right back into action here. You want to really, really revel in that burn
if you’re going to benefit from the metabolic overload, and the accumulation here of metabolites
as you continue to rep out. That is what will be your stimulus for growth. It doesn’t always have to come down to overload
and mechanical tension here. You can do this other ways, guys. I invite you to try this. Now, after we’ve done the plate eight, we
give ourselves that slight reprieve with the trap raise. This is no picnic. Doing a 45lb plate, as I’m doing here, straight
up overhead, utilizing muscles that tend to be pretty weak in the lower traps is still
going to be quite a challenge. You want to try and get your eight reps. Then finally, if you can, drive that damn
bus. It ain’t going to be easy at this point,
but you want to try and do it for as long as you can here. It might even be just seconds, but fight it,
fight it, fight it. Get that burn and keep it going. So, there you have it, guys. 12 exercises in one routine that you can either
do as a warmup, or as the main event. If you’re going to apply that grit and determination
and that little extra heavier weight that you’re going to need to turn this into a
metabolic stressor. Guys, it doesn’t matter which one you choose. The idea is, you have to have the understanding
of why you’re doing what you’re doing. We always try to provide you with the education
behind what we do – the science behind the strength – so you can get the benefit out
of what it is you’re trying to do. If you’re doing this for a warmup, understand
the differences of each exercise and what they’re doing to your shoulders to help
you get closer to being warm, and ready to start doing some heavier pressing. Or whatever other exercises you’re going
to do. But if you’re going to turn this into that
main show, the main event, then put the effort there, but know what it is you’re doing. So, when you do push, you’re pushing safely,
you’re pushing hard, and you see results. Guys, if you’re looking for a step by step
program, head to and get our ATHLEANX training program. We put the science in every, single thing
we do to help you get better results from what you do. In the meantime, I hope you’ve found this
video helpful. Let me know in the comments below and whatever
else you want me to cover, I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days and weeks ahead. All right, guys. See you soon.


  1. Want to win an ATHLEAN-X program for free, no strings attached? Click the link below to find out how!

  2. So I have been following the perfect shoulder workout from thjs channel, is this supposed to function as a warmup to a routine like that one?

  3. Ayo, anyone know how many of each you are supposed to do or how long for? Does everyone know something I don't?

  4. Sorry if I missed it, but what was the REP/TIMING count for each exercise of the warm up? Thanks in advance.

  5. just tried it and I believe it's what I have been looking for, tough but good in my opinion

  6. This is one of my favourite routines in the gym. Can only do it with a 10kg plate, the goal is to work upto the 20kg plate! I will prob have to use a kettlebell after 10kg plate as my gym has no plates between 10 and 20 kg!

  7. please could you do a workout video like this for traps and legs?

  8. Are all of these to failure to did he say a rep count? Maybe i missed it.

  9. My shoulders screams when doing that figure 8 movement, whether using plates or small dumbbells, very hard routine

  10. Same with kettlebell.

  11. And I thought he was gonna teach shoulder training for climbers..

  12. Can this be done with a shake weight? Asking for a friend.

  13. Do you take breaks in between? If so how long???

  14. Jeff, I'm 62 and this routine has done wonders for my shoulders. Best training videos on the internet.

  15. How many sets for warmup and then for working reps?

  16. How does Jeff come up with these fucking difficult workouts.

  17. 8:23 Where you driving to?

  18. Hey Jeff, been following your vids and they are ever so helpful, thanks man! Since this one is about shoulders, can u help with a frozen shoulder, please? After warming up, I can train and heavy but during the day I can hardly lift my arm sideways up cos of the pain. Hope u get the chance to guide me. Thanks a lot and keep them vids coming!

  19. Awesome! Today is shoulder day. Perfect timing as usual👏👌

  20. Rod rolling is good da best f..

  21. I tried this for the first time yesterday.

    My funeral is today.

  22. Thanks alot Jeff u gav me something new to try tomorrow n ik it'll burn like hell but that's what I need 😉

  23. Is this warmup from static position? Like, was there a cardio warmup that you did before you started this workout, or did you start with the shoulders warmup from a cold start?

  24. Definitely gonna try this one!

  25. Using 25pd plate is a killer.

  26. Please DON'T DO THIS, if you are just starting, not with 20 punds, not even with 10. Use 5 or no weights, those heavy rotations will break your joint if you have no muscle to support it. I love Jeff, but sometimes he forgets not all ofus are as tough as him 😄

  27. 👍🏻❤

  28. It’s weird because the plate looks super light

  29. Wow! I just did this for the first time. I think I wrecked my bus! Lol!!

  30. Wow, greatest front delt isolator ever! And I only used a 5 lb. plate. Thanks Jeff, still feeling it after 2 days.

  31. Chicks won’t dig guys doing these workouts. Nah, I’m good.

  32. your the man bra, thanks for the information

  33. Jeff you killed me❤️❤️❤️❤️

  34. You the maan. I have never learnt more about muscle training till i started not just watching but listening to you. Thank you JC.

  35. Too much😁😁

  36. How would you best stretch off afterwards?

  37. How many sets should we do of each workout/rotation?

  38. You are talented

  39. You mean that wasn't the workout!?? Dayam!

  40. This is absolutely brutal.

  41. Now I know why bus driver's have such big muscles

  42. The warm up was my workout…baby steps! Thanks!

  43. Warm up??!! This is more intense than my current shoulder workout! Gotta try this !

  44. Some lit dance moves

  45. … Or a 5 lb plate? 😅 got to start somewhere …

  46. I did this as three sets starting with 25lbs, then 10, then 5 with 30 seconds between sets and was practically crying driving the bus with 5lbs.

  47. Is Jeff looking in the Sky to check out god doing the exercies right too ?

  48. Jeff you're a great teacher. But when am stoned sometimes your words and movements get very complicated.
    But thank you for everything.

  49. Holy shit, this workout definitely hits the shoulders hard, but my biceps are absolutely barbecued

  50. 2:09 is the most funniest thing i ever seen on youtube

  51. thanks

  52. I got exhausted watching the warm up

  53. Such a great warm up! Ive actually noticed a difference in my lifting incorporating this into my routine on shoulders day

  54. THUMBS UP!!!
    then watch!!

  55. Pretty sure we all love th science behind what you do bud.i sure do .always great advice

  56. That got difficult, real fast!

  57. 3:03 “Play Halo” well I guess I’ve been doing something right.

  58. I’m not sure what I’m more jealous of, Jeff’s physique, or his perfectly groomed hair. LOL

  59. Can we use the lighter weights for warm up and then the heavier one for the actual workout? And this would count as a whole workout? I love the bus driver one it really cries the shoulders and works the chest in too. Thanks so much Jeff! You’re the best! 💪🏻

  60. 5:11 where you build muscles

  61. Honestly these workouts are pointless unless youre an athlete…

  62. Jeff take the wheel 😂😂😂

  63. How people look at Jeff when he goes out, window shopping, chilling at the mall…

    NO! Jeff is in the GYM!

  64. I like how he pretended to show strain/pain to make us feel better about ourselves lol

  65. Would 10(8, 6) reps, going from 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 kg be a valid hypertrophy training? 1.5 – 3 min active rest, better abs / push ups (pike), or push ups then abs when fatigued.
    I have a shoulder asymmetry, gonna try this and that other method, close to the body, then up with shoulders and reach. <3

  66. This is crazy Jeff. So, doing two armed raises is better than one..come on man. You can't be serious.

  67. Your variation. But go ahead man good luck.

  68. this one looks amazing I'm def doing it

  69. Bloody Awesome. I have Been doing the Landmine Training and These Plate Training that you showed Jinder Mahal. I have Dislocated my Shoulder 8 Times. This Training has Definitely helped me a lot. I do it Every time. At least 5 times a week. Most People don't do this Type of Training because they're not that Motivated as I am. I'm not a Big Guy only 5ft5. But This Training is so Beneficial for Myself. Thanks so Much Jeff.

  70. 1:46 jeff hit himself in the face with the plate lmao

  71. Ok great warm up and workout! I’m doing this at least once a week now

  72. jeff you are the best. God bless you.


  74. As a bus driver, do I get to skip the last exercise?

  75. Lactic acid bath

  76. *After doing the warmup routine "Foooh, nice workout Jeff!"
    Jeff: "Now wee going for the workout routine"

  77. Genius

  78. The biggest challenge here is memorizing this whole routine.

  79. What a surprise this is going to hurt . I will try that tomorrow !

  80. I love watching these videos and realizing I’m already doing some of the warmups and movements

  81. I needed those shoulder saver videos so bad, thanks

  82. this is awesome, no need to wait in the packed gym. Thanks Jeff

  83. The bus driver is a "real ball buster" or Ba'al Buster? Ha ha. Thanks for the tips and the inadvertent plug.
    It's only a bus driver when it's a plate 25lbs or more. 10s & 5s are more like a Go-Cart. Never underestimate the go-cart. Ha ha

  84. Thank you Jeff ! Gonna try this warmup/exercise soon. I am having a sore shoulder every time after doing shoulder presses. This warmup looks like just what I need. Thanks again !

  85. I got half way through with a 25 lb plate. Ahhhggg!! Jeff you're a madman.

  86. My shoulders pop and grind. I’m trying hard to build my deltoids. I’m always nervous because of all that popping and grinding. I understand there are many muscles that hold your shoulders in place. Is this good for all of those muscles? And should I just use light weight and keep doing this until my shoulders are strong? Notice I didn’t say pain. Just popping and grinding no pain. I rotate my arms in all directions trying to avoid the pop and the only one I found that gets rid of the popping is a full Rotation forward of my arms so my thumbs are turned down and then doing side raises with thumbs turn down it won’t pop. So in that position which muscle is weak?

  87. It’s not that chuck norris isn’t a better fighter, it’s because his hands start to hurt from punching solid steel Jeff [email protected]

  88. When you realize your shoulders day has been a warm up all along

  89. Jeff. I tried this other day with just a 25lb plate and I still can’t raise my arms overhead. Thanks a friggin lot.
    JK. It is a great burner to complement my usual shoulders routine. I get some weird looks while doing some of the routines you provide but then a few days later I’ll see people copying me doing the same routine.

  90. How many reps or time are recommended for each one?

  91. Thank you Jeff!

  92. So… do you do all these with no rest?

  93. Is it okay to work your traps after working your delts?

  94. I would like to see another video on how to hit the upper/inner pecs, thanks.

  95. How many reps or how much time each exercise?

  96. Great video. I tried this and it didn't aggravate my shoulder pain at all.

  97. 1:00

  98. I couldn't finish the warm up with the "5lbs" weight. My shoulders could not handle it!.

  99. How can this video have 578 dislikes? lol man people these days do not respect fitness.

  100. No wonder Jeff doesn't give driving lessons…

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