What are Broad Shoulders? Building That Masculine Shape

by Josh | Last Updated:  October 19, 2020
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When I was in the gym a few days ago I found myself battling one of my greatest challenges only a day after leg day, the shoulders, and that burn was intense.

After enduring the dreadful burn after my workout, I decided to do some research and find out what these broad shoulders really are and how to build them because, like many men out there, I also want to have broad shoulders.

So, what is considered broad shoulders? It is considered that a shoulder width of just over one and a half times your waist size is ideal to make your upper body stand out and display a more defined physique. Broad shoulders are a pillar in masculine physique definition.

Broad shoulders also indicate a powerful presence, a sign of strength and confidence in his posture, and an indicator of the abundance of testosterone.

Furthermore, the shoulders have more androgen receptors around the shoulder girdle which allows them to build more muscle, and in doing so, the shoulders become more toned up along with the proper exercises.

This means the broad shoulders built by proper exercise are symbols of a strong body, another major reason broad shoulders are so coveted by men.

It is also mutually agreed between men and women that broad shoulders increase one’s attractive appeal, and this effect is enhanced when the ratio of the broad shoulders is wider than that of the waist.

In addition to the attractive appeal, having broad shoulders also indicates good health in a man when they are wider than the waist. This is because men are prone to store most of their fat in the stomach than in other parts of the body.

In working towards achieving this pillar of male body physique, many men out there focus solely on upper body workouts to increase the size and width of their shoulders.

However, that factor alone is not enough to build the masculine shape that is ultimately emphasized with the broad shoulders. 

Muscular man stands with his back and spread his arms to the side - what is considered broad shoulders
Muscular man stands with his back and spread his arms to the side

Building The Masculine Shape

In working towards building that masculine shape, men must keep in mind that having broad shoulders is only one of the key elements towards creating a more masculine look.

It is not enough to only focus on the shoulders in order to have a masculine shape. More has to be done in order to have a more defined look on the body if that is the goal you’re looking to achieve. 

Here are a few things to help you understand what’s needed to build a more masculine physique:

Being able to understand these factors is going to help you greatly in achieving your desired physique more easily than by trying a million things without obtaining any substantial results.

This is also important because beyond the benefits of projecting power and strength, there’s the benefit of having high levels of testosterone.

Studies have shown that men with wider shoulders have shown that people with wide shoulders are usually identified to have high testosterone levels. Especially when the shoulders are enhanced by constant physical stress such as the kind that comes from lifting heavy weights at the gym.

This means that you’re going to have to put up with that burning pressure whenever you’re at the gym doing shoulder day. That is if you want to be seen as a man with high testosterone levels.

There’s More To Broad Shoulders Than Just Shoulders

Let’s recall that having bigger shoulders is correlated with upper body strength, and projects power. However, to be able to project the power of your upper body correctly you need to make sure the ratios on the rest of your body are also in line to help your shoulders stand out. Things to consider are the following.

How lean is your waist or how much fat are you actually retaining because you have to remember that men store most of their fat in their stomachs. That being said, if you want your shoulders to stand out, you’re going to have to make sure your waist is lean enough to make it happen.

Eating the right foods to help your metabolism do its job in cutting down fat is always a staple when building physique. If you’re having a hard determining whether or not you have a lean waist, just remember these words by the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger:

It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.”

How big your chest is in comparison to your waist. This is basically an indicator of just how much effort you’re putting into building your body’s shape through your exercises, and the foods and drinks you’re consuming.

As you may have guessed it, this works hand in hand with having a leaner waist, but you must also add the extra step of building muscle to increase the size and strength of your upper body. This means that you must find the right exercises and train accordingly to obtain the desired physical shape.

How your weight is proportionate to your height. This is important because there’s such a thing as carrying too much weight whether it’s muscle or fat.

It’s important that you check what your measurements currently are and where they potentially should be. If you want to know where you’re currently standing with your height and weight, then this chart below shall be very useful:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/682717624739621800/

Genetics Cannot Be Ignored When You’re Building Up Your Physique

As much as we like the idea of having the ability to override our body’s shape whenever we feel things are not going the way, we can’t beat nature. This is because there’s a part of our bodies that we cannot change with a workout regiment, and that’s our bone structure.

That’s right, we can’t change the shape of our bones, and that means that we have the work with the body structure that we are born with. However, what we can do is find out the type of body structure we have and create workout routines. 

Having the awareness about the type of body structure you have is going to give you a better idea as to the type of workout regimen you should follow.

This is to build our muscles into the ideal masculine shape you are looking to have, as well as avoiding time and energy on workouts that are not suitable to your body structure in the first place.

There are three types of body structures and they are known as the ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph. Over your life you may move through these different types, as you build fitness you will shift also.

Ectomorphs

The ectomorphs are the ones with the fast metabolism most people envy because they can eat just about anything without gaining weight.

However, that same trait puts them at a disadvantage when building muscle because they simply can’t do it as easily as the other two structure types.

But they are much taller, so that means they may perform better in sports like basketball, swimming, and even baseball.

Endomorphs

The endomorphs are the heavy type. These are the types who pretty much stack up their weight as far back junior year of high school.

They have the hardest time losing because their metabolism is much slower. However, building muscles for this particular type of body structure comes much easier, so it’s not like they have to worry about adding an extra set in their workout to gain another inch in size.

That comes much easier for them.

Mesomorphs

The mesomorphs are the types that are in between the ectomorphs and endomorphs. Their built is very athletic, and their body structure is often referred to as the rectangular body shape.

They have the advantage to gain muscle and fat in a way the ectomorphs wish they had for themselves and makes the endomorphs feel like they copy them. However, they cannot lose fat as easily as an ectomorph can, so it’s not like they have it made in the bodybuilding shade.

Remember that knowing the type of body structure is going to help you come up with the exercises that will bring the best aspects of your physique. Especially the broad shoulders.

 If you’re curious about what your body type may look like, here’s a chart to give you an idea:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AeaKIdpii3kprYiPZ1J43QzxKIz0TE-oHKQifGmME9IubUH-VHds64M/

Posture And Mobility Are Important For The Shoulders.

We are creatures of habit, so it is really easy to take on new habits in the blink of an eye without checking what we’re giving up first. This is very obvious in a sedentary lifestyle where most of the time we don’t need to leave the chair to complete most of our tasks.

Add to that we tend to lean into computer screens whenever we’re typing a project, or playing a video game. You know you do it.

It seems normal to take on these habits in this day and age, but when it comes to improving your physique, these habits actually work against you and only set you back on building yourself up to shape.

Especially when it comes to the upper body, since the goal is to have broad shoulders capable of projecting a more masculine look, it doesn’t help to have a slouching stance as your default posture.

That is only going in the way of your ideal physique, and you gotta step out of the sedentary comfort zone to get it done.

The best way to get this done is performing exercises that encourage your body to adopt a vertical stance. The more you practice, the more masculine your body will become.

That being said, here are some exercises for you to consider adding to your workout routine in order to improve your posture:

The Overhead Dumbbell Press

this is the exercise that shall test your posture and your upper body strength at the same time. Simply grab a pair of dumbbells with some moderate weight to them and lifting them over your head are going to show you just how strong you really are.

For the beginners, it is recommended you perform this exercise while sitting down on a chair. After building enough strength, you can do it while standing up.

The Pull Up

Though it is an exercise mainly for the back, the pull up is great correcting posture, and when done in proper form, it also puts a burn on the shoulders as well. Especially when you go for the widest grip you can do.

The One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Another exercise that mainly focuses on the back, but is perfect for posture correction as your target is to lift a dumbbell as vertically as you possibly can while you have a knee and a hand placed on a bench. 

The Overhead Press

This is where it gets real! The true test of your upper body strength comes when you perform this exercise standing up. It doesn’t matter if you’re using dumbbells or a barbell, what matters is that you’re perfectly balanced and standing vertically when lifting those weights straight up.

Once you give these exercises a try, it shall become much easier to build broader shoulders, and be one step closer towards achieving your ideal physique.

Is it important to build my lower body too? 

Yes, it is. While it may not be directly having an effect on your upper body growth, the lower body plays a crucial role in providing both balance, and posture during workouts. Especially, when performing heavy lifting. The stronger the lower body, the more likely you are to perform upper body workouts with ease.

Do I need to work on my biceps and triceps?

It isn’t crucial to work on your biceps to make your shoulders stand out. Also, most shoulder exercises require the use of the biceps in order to be performed. However, focusing on building them up is beneficial because they can complement the broad shoulder look with the proper ratios as well.

Final Thoughts on What is Considered Broad Shoulders

Your shoulders are going to be a set distance apart, now this can’t be changed without surgery as a cosmetic need. This doesn’t mean you can’t have broad shoulders but you need to work within perspective.

You want to work on building your muscles to be as large in your shoulder area as possible while working hard to drop mid section inches as this ratio will make your shoulders look gigantic.

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I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.