The Jeff Nippard Shoulder Workout | The Ultimate Guide!


Are you interested in how Jeff Nippard trains his shoulders? Do you want to know Jeff’s secrets to building big, strong delts? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Inside this guide, you’ll learn the secret workouts that Jeff uses to improve his overhead press and build cannon-ball delts.

Jeff Nippard trains his shoulders using many different training splits. He uses chest / shoulder / tricep workouts, shoulder / trap workouts and even dedicated shoulder training sessions to build up this important muscle group.

As always, Jeff likes to use a science-based techniques in his workouts, such as picking exercises or training methods that have produced results in the scientific literature.

One of Jeff Nippard’s favorite training split is the push / pull / legs split. He likes this split because it limits overlap between muscle groups, and because it lets him train each muscle group up to two times per week.

Here is one of Jeff’s favorite shoulder-focused push workouts. Check it out:

Jeff Nippard Shoulder Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Barbell overhead press, 4 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Exercise #2: Bench press (medium grip), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: 30 degree incline DB fly, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Cable rope upright row, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Standing band lateral raise, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: One-arm cable overhead extension, 4 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #7: Medicine ball push ups, 2 sets to near failure

Here is the training video:

Talk about a high volume chest / shoulder / triceps workout! Jeff performs at least 2 exercises each for his chest, shoulders and triceps.

Jeff Nippard says that this was a shoulders-focused push workout, and it’s easy to see why. He starts the workout with the standing barbell overhead press, one of the best exercises that you can do for your shoulders.

Here is Jeff talking about this exercise:

“You may remember that shoulder activation patterns are higher with dumbbell shoulder press variations. However, I prefer to use barbell presses from a pure strength perspective.

They allow an easy, steady application of progressive overload. And I think a classic movement like the overhead press movement has a nice strength and power carryover to other exercises.”

Later in the workout Jeff supersetted two exercises for his side delts: the cable upright row and the standing cable lateral raise.

Jeff Nippard says that the cable upright row is one of the most underrated shoulder exercises. He almost always includes it in his bodybuilding-style routines. Check it out:

“I know a lot of people are wary of this exercise because of potential shoulder impingement issues. This has been acknowledged in the literature as a potential risk.

However, the literature also says that the upright is the only open chain compound movement that targets the middle deltoids.

You can mitigate the risk of impingement by only raising your arms until your elbows are even with your shoulders.”

Here is another one of Jeff Nippard’s shoulders-focused push workouts that you can try. Check it out:

Jeff Nippard Shoulders Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Barbell overhead press, 4 sets of 4 reps
  • Exercise #2: Bench press (medium grip), 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise #3: Cable crossover (low pulley), 3 sets of 10-12 reps**
  • Exercise #4: Cable overhead triceps extensions (mid-pulley), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Standing DB lateral raise, 3 sets of 21 reps****
  • Exercise #6: Neck flexion / extension machine, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

**On the last set train to failure, then drop the weight by 50% and then train to failure again

****On each set perform 7 full range of motion reps, then 7 reps in the top half of the motion, then 7 reps in the bottom half of the motion.

Here is the training video:

This shoulder workout is very similar to the first one that Jeff used. Jeff almost always starts his chest / shoulder / tricep workouts with a big compound exercise, like the bench press or the overhead press.

Jeff started this workout with the standing barbell overhead press because he wanted to emphasize his shoulders, rather than his chest.

Here are some of Jeff’s favorite cues for this exercise:

“Two cues I’ve been emphasizing lately are arching my upper back and really tucking my glutes in to lock everything in place, and make sure there aren’t any energy leaks in the press.”

After the standing overhead press Jeff moved onto a variety of accessory exercises for his chest, shoulders and triceps.

For this workout Jeff uses the standing dumbbell lateral raise as his side delt focused exercise. Here is Jeff describing his new technique for this exercise:

“This is a new method I’ve been using lately, as we progressively decrease the range of motion as fatigue sets in.

So we’ll start with 7 sets of full range laterals, going all the way up and all the way down. Then we’ll do 7 reps with the top half to three-quarters of the movement.

Then finally we’ll do 7 reps in the bottom third of the range of motion.”

So far we’ve looked at some of Jeff Nippard’s favorite shoulder-focused chest / shoulder / tricep workouts.

Now let’s look at some science-based bodybuilding shoulder workouts that are dedicated almost completely to training the delts. Check it out:

Jeff Nippard Shoulder Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: 15 degree incline DB press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength overhead press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Smith machine one-arm press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Behind the back cable lateral raise, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Machine lateral raise, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Rope cable upright row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Dual arm cable rear delt fly, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

This was one of Jeff’s older chest / shoulder workouts. He performs one exercise for his chest, and then moves into no less than 6 exercises for his front, side and rear delts.

Here is Jeff talking about his decision to use the 15 degree incline DB press for his only chest exercise:

“This was the only chest movement that I did. The basic idea is that I don’t need to do a ton of chest volume because it is not a body part that I am trying to specialize in right now.

I think bodybuilding is all about specialization and I think you should devote more of your training volume to your weaker body parts.”

During this workout Jeff uses a number of interesting shoulder exercises, such as the one-arm smith machine overhead press.

Jeff says that this is really more of a fluff movement, and shouldn’t form the basis of your entire shoulder routine. Check it out:

“I did a smith machine one-arm press. This is just a fun movement for me, I found it from Dexter Jackson.

It’s a way for me to get in more vertical pressing from a different angle.”

Here is another one of Jeff’s shoulders-focused workouts that you can try.

Jeff says that this is one of the most science-based shoulders / traps workouts that you can perform. Check it out:

Jeff Nippard Trap, Neck and Delt Workout (Science-Based)

  • Exercise #1: Plate loaded neck curl, 3 sets of 20+ reps
  • Exercise #2: Cable neck extension, 3 sets of 15+ reps
  • Exercise #3: Trap bar shrugs, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Exercise #4: Rope cable upright row, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Exercise #5: 30 degree incline bench press, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: 30 degree incline DB row (elbows out), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Dead stop skull crushers, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #8: Seated machine lateral raise, 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Here is the training video:

Jeff Nippard says that the yolk is mostly made up of the neck, shoulders and traps. When someone has a well-developed yolk, it gives the immediate impression that this is a strong, powerful person.

“Someone who is yolked has impressive development in the five key areas giving anyone who sees them the impression that they’ve built up a great deal of brute strength over the years.

These muscles are the neck, the traps and upper back, the side delts, the upper chest and the long head of the triceps.”

Of course, the delts play a huge role in your overall yolk development.

Jeff Nippard says the key to building massive shoulders is to use a variety of exercises, such as the cable upright row, to really isolate all three heads of the triceps.

“A lot of people get up in arms about the upright row, despite the fact that the best evidence on the exercise clearly indicates the upright row can be a safe and effective exercise, especially when modified properly.

The rope gives you more freedom than what a barbel would allow so I have no issues getting an extra squeeze in the top by shrugging my shoulders up.”

Of course, Jeff also likes to perform full body workouts in his bodybuilding and powerlifting programs.

Here is a shoulders-focused full body workout that you can try. Check it out:

Jeff Nippard Full Body Workout (Shoulders-Focused)

  • Exercise #1: Standing overhead press, 3-5 sets of 6 reps
  • Exercise #2: Standing DB lateral raise, 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated cable row, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Lying leg curl, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Seated DB concentration curl, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Kneeling cable rope crunch, 4 sets of 15 reps
  • Exercise #7: Push ups, 2 sets to failure

Here is the training video:

Talk about a high-volume workout! Jeff starts this full body workout with two separate exercises for his shoulders.

As usual Jeff trains his shoulders using one heavy compound pressing movement and one isolation exercise for his side delts. Jeff shows his preference for the standing barbell overhead press, as he starts his workout with this exercise.

“From a strength perspective, I do see a vertical press as one of the few fundamental movement patterns that should be integrated into any training program to avoid overuse injuries and to develop raw strength in the frontal plane.

You can use dumbbells if you find them more comfortable. But the main point is that prioritizing some type of overhead press on the shoulder focused full body workout is a good idea.”

After the overhead presses Jeff moves onto the standing dumbbell lateral raise.

Jeff says the standing dumbbell lateral raise is one of those exercises that you can push closer to failure, as it is an isolation movement and it does not load the muscle in a stretched position. Check it out:

“Exercises that load more in the stretched position tend to cause more muscle damage while exercises that load more in the contracted position tend to cause less muscle damage.

With dumbbell lateral raises the stress is practically zero in the stretched position and maximal in the shortened position.

As a general principle I do think we can push an exercise like the dumbbell lateral raise closer to fatigue without worrying about overtraining.”

If you are using Jeff Nippard’s 5-day full body split and you want to specialize on your shoulders, then this workout may be just what you need.

Conclusion

Jeff Nippard usually performs two exercises for his shoulders in a given workout: the standing barbell overhead press and some type of shoulder isolation exercise.

He says the standing barbell overhead press is one of the best exercises you can do for overall shoulder development, as it lets you overload your shoulders with a heavy weight and apply the progressive overload principle.

He also likes to include various isolation exercises, especially for the side delts, as this muscle gives the shoulders the 3-D look when they are fully developed.

If you are stuck in a training rut, then go ahead and give Jeff Nippard’s shoulder workouts a shot. They may be just what you need to take your training to the next level.

“You must have a sincere and burning desire to achieve what you dream, dedicate yourself to making progress, and take control of your circumstances to change your body.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

 

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

What's going on! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, I'm the creator of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to take your training to the next level, then you've come to the right place... My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world!

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