Many people want wider shoulders to create an idealized triangle-shaped upper body. While shoulder width is determined by your genetics, you can increase the size of your shoulder muscles through exercise.

For many people, wide shoulders are desirable because they can make your frame look more proportional by widening the appearance of the upper body. They create an inverted triangle shape in the upper body that’s wider at the top and narrower at the waist. Wide shoulders are more square than round, and sometimes have a bony protrusion. They’re often associated with athleticism.

Wide shoulders are usually strong, which can help you with everyday tasks such as lifting heavy objects or playing sports. You’ll also be less likely to injure yourself during exercise.

Having well-developed shoulders can indicate strength and health since you’ll have lots of upper body muscle mass. It’s recommended that you support shoulder strength with a strong back and arms as well as a lean waist.

Standing up straight can help enhance the appearance of your shoulders. Opening your chest and drawing your shoulders back down your spine can help improve your posture. This can make you feel and look more confident and boost your mood.

Shoulder width can be changed to a certain degree. You can’t change your bone structure, which is determined mostly by genetics. This includes the width of the collarbones, an important part of shoulder width.

However, you can build up and develop muscular shoulders. You can use training methods to make your shoulders stronger, which makes them look wider and aesthetically pleasing. Since you’ll want to make sure your shoulders look well-developed from the front, side, and back, you’ll want to work all the parts of your shoulders. This can also help correct rounded, or “sloping,” shoulders.

Focus working on the deltoids, or delts. They consist of three distinct sets of muscle fibers:

  • Anterior deltoid. This is the front part of the shoulder.
  • Medial or lateral deltoid. This is the middle part of the shoulder.
  • Posterior deltoid. This is the rear part of the shoulder.

Below are a few exercises you can do to widen your shoulders. It’s recommended that you do the exercises one to three times per week with at least one day between sessions. Start with light to moderate weights, and build up duration and intensity. This will help prevent injury.

Seated rear lateral raise

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench with dumbbells at your side.
  2. Bend forward and rest your torso on your thighs.
  3. Keep your back flat.
  4. Slowly lift the weights up and to the side until your elbows are at shoulder height.
  5. Slightly bend your elbows and tilt your hands forward as you do this.
  6. Hold this position for a few seconds.
  7. Slowly lower your arms back down to the starting position.
  8. Do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

Face pulls

  1. Set a rope attachment and set it at the height of your upper chest or slightly higher.
  2. Hold the rope with an overhand grip and step back to create tension.
  3. Sit back into your hips as you start to pull the cable.
  4. Allow your elbows to flare out to the side and parallel to the floor.
  5. Pull the rope toward your face.
  6. Hold this fully contracted position for a moment while focusing on engaging your back deltoids and upper back.
  7. Slowly return to the starting position.
  8. Do 3-5 sets of 15-20 reps.

Dumbbell front raise

  1. Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Place your hands in front of you with your palms facing your thighs.
  3. Keep your torso motionless and lift the left dumbbell up.
  4. Keep a slight bend in the elbow and the palm facing down.
  5. Raise your arm until it’s slightly higher than parallel to the floor.
  6. Pause at the top portion and then slowly lower your arm to the starting position.
  7. Repeat on the right side.
  8. Do 2-3 sets of 16-20 reps.

45-degree incline row

  1. Lie on your stomach on a 45-degree incline bench.
  2. Allow your arms to hang straight down while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows to lift your arms.
  4. Keep your upper arms perpendicular to your body throughout the movement.
  5. Pause at the top of the movement.
  6. Slowly return the weights to the starting position.
  7. Do 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps.

Overhead shoulder press

  1. Stand up straight and hold a barbell or dumbbells slightly above your upper chest with your hands a little bit wider than shoulder width.
  2. Press the weight straight up toward the ceiling while keeping your elbows drawn in.
  3. Maintain strength in your legs, lower back, and core for balance.
  4. Lower to return to the starting position.
  5. Do 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps.

You’ll feel the results before they become noticeably visible. If you work out at least two to three times per week for at least 20 minutes, you’ll be able to see results within a few weeks or months. Visible results can also depend on factors such as your body size, body fat percentage, and diet. How long and intense your workouts are and your fitness level can also affect results.

Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. This is especially important if you have any injuries or are new to exercise. Don’t do any exercises that cause severe pain or discomfort. You may wish to exercise under the supervision of a trained professional.

Use caution if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, or any other condition that may be affected by exercise. It might be a good idea to start with a gentler routine, such as yoga, if you have high blood pressure.

Build up gradually in terms of duration and intensity of workouts to prevent injury. Always use proper alignment and good posture when doing any workout. Make sure you don’t stress, strain, or force any movements. Use an appropriate weight that’s not too heavy.

Be cautious when starting a new workout program. If you have any special concerns or issues, talk to your doctor before beginning. Create a workout plan and stick to it. Be consistent and remember that it’ll take time to see and maintain results.

Start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts as you get more fit. Focus on your shoulders a few times a week. Balance out the rest of your workout routine to strengthen the rest of your body. Include cardiovascular exercise as well.