Finish Your Workout With Dropsets for Bigger Shoulders


You’ve done your foam rolling. Actually spent time warming up with movement prep. Banged out heavy sets of deadlifts. Crushed the bench press, pullup bar, and leg press machine. You even managed to fit in a few rounds of high-intensity fat-burning intervals on the rowing machine. All that’s left is for you to shower, grab your protein shake, and head on home. But wait, if you haven’t included a “finisher”—usually a brutal one- to two-set single-exercise or circuit protocol—you aren’t really finished with your workout.

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Finishers are great because they don’t only add volume to your training sessions (rep ranges are usually quite high in finishers), they also test your mental toughness, challenging you when you are already fatigued. Add them to your program to drive up your results and test your limits.

Three-Part Shoulder Dropset Finisher

Shoulders are one of the only muscle groups that are made up of mixed fiber types, meaning they respond well to a combination of heavy strength work and strength-endurance rep ranges. This finisher focuses more on strength endurance and is the perfect way to end your shoulder and arm day with a serious, steady burn.

Step 1: Choose a pair of relatively light dumbbells (we recommend starting with 10s or 15s the first time you try this).

Step 2: Perform 15 reps of a lateral raise, followed immediately by 15 reps of a front raise, followed immediately by 15 reps of an overhead press.

Finisher Notes:

The first rep of the overhead press will feel weird and awful but stick with it, as it gets better with subsequent reps. This type of finisher utilizes what’s known as a mechanical dropset—rather than reducing the weight, you change the movement to put you at more of a mechanical advantage (the front raise is more mechanically advantageous than the lateral raise, and the overhead press is more advantageous than the front raise).

Step 3: Rest for 90 seconds after the first round is complete and try to do the entire circuit one more time.

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