Shoulders Cable Lateral Raise Exercise
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“Broad shoulders make a man look virile, desirable and powerful,” notes body language expert Joe Navarro in ‌Psychology Today.‌ On the other hand, some women may lament broad shoulders because they can make clothing hard to fit and give their physique a masculine appearance. The appearance of broad shoulders depends on many things: genetic factors, body type, body shape, bone structure, muscle mass and even just what kinds of t-shirts or sweaters a person wears.

Men's Shoulders

Statue of David
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How can you tell if you have broad shoulders? Ideally, wide shoulders on a man are 1.618 times the size of his waist, as depicted by pictures of the quintessential male form through art and photographs -- think of the statue David or pictures of Olympians. You can easily use a tape measure to determine their own ratio. For example, a man with a 32-inch waist would need shoulders that measure 52 inches to fulfill this ideal. Men can increase shoulder width by building muscle, particularly in the upper body, and working to have good posture. There are many types of stretches, many yoga-based, which can stretch the back and help with posture. To build up the shoulder muscles for broader shoulders, lifting weights can be a great method. With shoulder and deltoid exercises such as pullups, dumbbell chest presses, lateral raises, overhead presses and many more exercises you can build up your shoulder area in no time.

If the gym isn’t for you, there are a few styling tips that you can follow to give yourself more of that desireable inverted triangle body shape. Layering can give you a bulkier, fuller look, especially when contrasted with a more slim fitting pair of pants for your lower body. Blazers also work well to accentuate the width of your shoulders.

Women's Shoulders

Strong woman on fitness workout
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To start with, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having broad or narrow shoulders, it’s all just a matter of what you personally find appealing. Women don't have an ideal ratio of waist to shoulder to aim for like male bodybuilders, but can get a general idea if their shoulders balance their overall physique. A woman can quickly identify whether or not her shoulders are broad by looking at the shape of her torso when her arms hang naturally. A woman whose torso resembles a V-shape -- wide at the top and narrow at the waist -- likely has broad shoulders, too. Broader shoulders contrasted to a sllimmer waist like this is a key factor of the coveted “hourglass figure.” Christopher Hopkins, author of "Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45," suggests cutting a string to measure the length of one yard and then tying a heavy washer or weighted object to one end. Hold the loose end of this string at your shoulder joint and let it hang down. If the string falls outside your hip line, your shoulders are considered broad. If the string falls inline with your hips, your shoulders are well balanced with the rest of your frame.