The 500 Rep Shoulder Workout

Guaranteed Delt Gains

Is This Workout Right For Me?

The answer to that question depends on your answer to this question:

Can you overhead press your bodyweight?

  • If the answer is no: If you can't overhead press your own bodyweight, then you're weak... and you really need to get stronger first. If you're not there yet, then don't worry about attacking your shoulders from multiple angles with 500 reps. Go get strong, then come back to this.
  • If the answer is yes: Then this program will turn your "pretty good" delts into freaky-looking cannonballs.

500-Rep Program Overview

  1. Do this workout twice per week with a few days between each workout.
  2. The workout consists of 5 exercises performed in a specific order.
  3. Each exercise is performed for 100 total reps. On some movements, these reps will be broken up into several sets. On others, the 100 reps will be performed as one straight set, or close to it at least.
  4. After 6 weeks, take a few weeks off the program, then hit it again.

The Workout at a Glance

  1. Seated Behind The Neck Press (10 x 10)
  2. Lateral Raise Rack Run (25, 15, 10 and 10, 15, 25)
  3. Plate Raise (100 Straight Reps)
  4. Band Pull-Apart (100 Reps, Rest-Pause)
  5. Leaning Cable Upright Row (5 x 20)

1. Seated Behind The Neck Press

Seated Behind The Neck Press

Your goal here is to warm up, then perform 10 sets of 10 reps with only 60 seconds between each set.

Now, that's the goal, but as you already know if you've tried this type of volume training, hitting 10 sets of 10 reps on the mark probably won't happen. Doesn't matter, the volume will take care of the hypertrophy. But here are a few rough guidelines to get you close:

  • Start much lighter than needed and add weight as you go. Don't add weight too fast because fatigue will start setting in very quickly around set 6.
  • Work your way up to a very hard set of 10 reps somewhere around the 7th set.
  • Reduce the weight after that and keep trying to hit 10 reps.
  • Do at least 100 total reps. This means you may end up doing more than 10 sets.

Here's an example of what might happen:

  • Empty bar warm-up, 3 sets of 20
  • 95 x 10
  • 115 x 10
  • 135 x 10
  • 155 x 10
  • 175 x 10
  • 195 x 10
  • 205 x 10
  • 225 x 9 (fail trying 10)
  • 205 x 8 (fail trying 9)
  • 175 x 8 (fail trying 9)
  • 155 x 5 (fail trying 6) = 100 reps

So in this case it ends up at 11 sets. Do the last set to failure regardless of how many reps you get. So if you get to set 10 and have all 100 reps by rep 3, continue doing reps until you hit failure. So it might actually be 100+ reps.

Note: You can do these standing too. Just don't use your legs and turn it into a push press.

2. Lateral Raise Rack Run

Lateral Raise

Here's the rep scheme, which totals 100 reps:

25, 15, 10, Rest, 10, 15, 25

  1. Grab a fairly light pair of dumbbells and do 25 reps.
  2. Without rest, grab a slightly heavier pair and do 15 reps.
  3. Without rest, grab yet a heavier set and do 10 reps.
  4. If you get a bit sloppy on the last set, no problem. Just try to be smart in weight selection and understand that by the last set you're going to be slightly fatigued. Don't get so sloppy you look like that guy dancing at a rave that took way too much Ecstasy.
  5. Rest for 3 minutes.
  6. Now go back down in weight the same way you came up. Do 10 reps with the heaviest pair of dumbbells you used previously.
  7. With no rest, do 15 reps with the next lightest dumbbells.
  8. With no rest, do 25 reps with the very lightest dumbbells.

3. Plate Raise

Plate Raise

Do 100 straight reps.

Grab a plate. Not the 45. You won't make it. I like the 25, but for most, a 10 pound plate will work just fine, especially at this point in the workout.

Bring the weight all the way over your head, not just to eye level. This will bring the traps into play, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that because traps are awesome.

Don't bend at the arms too much. Use just a slight bend, maybe 5 degrees or so. This will keep it from turning it into primarily a trap and upper back movement. We're still talking delts here, but no complaints if the traps and rhomboids come out and play too.

4. Band Pull-Apart

Band Pull-Apart

Try to get all 100 reps unbroken, but if you need to pause and take a few breaths, that's fine. Just keep the breaks under 20 seconds.

Start the movement with scapular PROtraction. Your shoulders should be rolled forwards and not pulled back when you initiate each rep. When you initiate with scapular REtraction, the mid-back will hog all the tension and the rear delts will get far less.

So don't initiate the movement by pulling your shoulder blades back. Keep them pushed forwards almost like you're hump-backed. If you are naturally hump backed, I apologize for making fun of your inability to initiate with scapular retraction.

If you don't have access to a band, the rear delt machine will work. Just pick a weight that lets you hit the full 100 reps with as few breaks as possible.

5. Leaning Cable Upright Row

Cable Upright Row

Do 5 sets of 20 reps. Rest 3 minutes between sets.

Use a rope for this hybrid movement, which is part upright row, part face-pull. The entire shoulder complex is going to get hit here. Instead of standing upright, lean back a bit and use the weight stack as a counter balance. With the rope at the lowest point on the pulley, you'll then pull up to your face and chin area as you pull your hands apart.

You should feel this, well, nowhere. Your shoulders should be quite numb at this point and the only thing you should be feeling is the urge to leave the gym or take a swift shot to the crotch to distract you from the pain in your delts.