3 Innovative Exercises to Finish your Shoulder Workouts

Higher-repetition isolation exercises are a good way to finish off your shoulder workouts. They can encourage some metabolic stress, which, while not as important as high-tension exercises, can still contribute towards muscle growth. For overall shoulder health and performance it’s also important that your shoulders be build from all angles. Here are three innovative exercises to finish your shoulder workouts.

The Defranco Shoulder Shocker

1a) 1-Arm Locked Lateral Raise x 6-10 each side

1b) Cuban Rotation x 6-10

1c) L-Lateral to Raise Lower x 6-10

  • Perform all three exercises back to back. Start lighter than you think. 2-3 rounds should have you struggling to brush your teeth in the morning.

Why you should try these

Strength Coach Joe Defranco has come up with a bunch of these 3-exercise “shockers” in the past. They’re great. This is my own take on a version that works to target your medial and posterior delts, and external rotators all in one non-stop set. You’ll get plenty of bang for your buck in just a few minutes.

The order of exercises are such that they act like a mechanical drop-set. This means you’ll start with what is typically the hardest exercise, then you’ll be switching to easier exercises as you go along. Basically, once your shoulders have had enough from one exercise, you’ll switch to another to keep the torture going. It sounds like hell. And it is. But it’s a hell-a fun way to finish of your shoulder workouts.

The Gironda Dumbbell Swing

  • Try 3 sets of 20-30 alternating reps at the end of your shoulders workout for an old-school shoulders pump.

Why you should try these

Vince Gironda was a true bodybuilding legend and innovator. Way before Usain Bolt was trying to do his best impression of these as a victory dance, or even before M.J. busted some out in the “Thriller” dance; Vince was using them to build cannonball delts.

The Gironda Dumbbell Swing is essentially a lateral raise on one side, and “hiding your face with your elbow” on the other side. Your arm moves tight-in across your body keeping continuous tension on your shoulders.

The bent elbow doesn’t do as much work as the straight arm, since you’re in a mechanically more advantageous position. But it does allow you to keep constant shoulder tension throughout the entire movement and get a good contraction. These are worth the extra stares.

Plate Delt Scooper

Why you should try these

  • Hold the plate at 9 and 3 o’clock.
  • Maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, raise the plate up.
  • Twist the plate so one hand is on the top and the other on the bottom.
  • Your top hand will go overhead as your bottom hand performs an upper-cut motion (or an underhand pressing motion).
  • Sets of 20-30 alternating reps work well as a high-rep metabolic stress finisher.

Overhead presses for your anterior delts are like squats are to your quads. And, front raises for your anterior delts are like leg extensions to your quads. From a muscle-building perspective and to develop 3-D delts then you’ll know that both types of exercise should be done.

Plate Delt scoopers work your anterior delts in their function as shoulder flexors, while also taking your entire shoulders through a large range of motion. Essentially one arm is performing an underhand pressing motion (“kiss your bicep”), while the other almost resembles a high face-pull with some external rotation. There’s a bit of coordination with this, but once you get it you’ll enjoy the sneaky way delt scoopers catch up on you. 


Remember, your shoulders are the most mobile, most dysfunctional, and often most injured joints in your body. To build strong and stable shoulders then just pressing overhead won’t cut it. Hitting them from different angles and using a variety of rep ranges will cover all bases and keep your shoulders healthy.

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