As advised by Arnold, whether it is 6 reps, or 10, perfect reps make perfect. Before you try to lift "heavy for less reps" make your shoulders STRONG. Increase your sets, with reps you can complete PERFECT. PERFECT reps, for PERFECT sets overall is your greatest benefit for building strength. Before you go for size, make these muscle groups STRONG by completing a target goal of overall reps. try and keep the reps no less than 8, per set.

lead the way.

Almost every upper body workout you do, utilizes shoulders in some capacity. Yet, shoulders themselves are often mismanaged. Shoulders are also delicate, so a good warm-up is necessary. If you are trying to build up a muscle group for strength, you want to involve and exhaust as many muscle fibers as possible. Workout after workout suggests that you complete 3 sets of 6 reps, 3 sets of 8 reps, or 3 sets of 10 reps. At best you are only completing 30 reps of that exercise, in total. Try looking at this as a math problem. What is better for building a specific muscle group? 3 sets for 8 reps, for a total of 24 reps? Or, 8 reps for 8 sets totaling 64 reps overall? I am not suggesting this model for all exercises. I am suggesting this model for those "Staple" muscle groups. The large muscle groups like delts, lats, chest, and even quads. Dedicate the time to that muscle group. With rest periods, you may spend 45 min just on your delts, on the smith press. That is OK. If you complete your sets back to back with too short of intervals, your reps per set will suffer. Give yourself a sufficient rest period between sets. For smaller muscle groups, there is more focus and isolation involving joints, and you will want to use lighter weights, for more reps, and less sets. Do not try and lift too heavy for isolation exercises.  
A common mistake made, is increasing weight too rapidly, with each set.  Do not increase more than 5 lbs for each set.

Smith Press - 8 sets, of 8 reps. I start with 225lbs, and increase 5lbs each set. Sure, for sets 2 and 3, it may not feel like you are accomplishing much. However, on the 8th set, I complete 8 reps of 260lbs, totaling 64 reps.  Everyones results will vary, but the point is, you will surprise yourself, and your overall achievement of reps will be motivating. If you are killing your weight and goals you have set, and are completing 10 sets of 10 reps, drop back down to 8 sets, of 8 reps, and increase your start weight. After a month or two of doing this, you can switch to a dumbbell press to change it up. It is always good to cycle your exercises. 

Below, are 3 shoulder routines, reps, and sets. The beginning of the workout should start with 30-60 seconds of arm circles as a warm-up. Always start your workout with the major muscle group that you are exercising, then move on to isolation exercises. At the start of each new exercise, do one set for 15 reps, with a weight that is about 70% less than your max.
There are a few exercises, and muscle groups that I believe are staples. These are exercises that are absolutely necessary for building STRONG muscle groups. Overhead smith machine press is a staple for building boulder shoulders. The other two shoulder workouts I list below, are essential for building a complete shoulder. 

Front Plate lifts

Complete 8 sets of 8 reps after the smith press. do a weight that is comfortable, and do not increase with each set. As you get stronger, you can try to integrate a superset with plate lifts, and smith press. If you do, try to match your sets and reps of plate lifts with your sets and reps of smith press.

Smith Machine Press

8 sets, 8 reps

10 sets, 8 reps

10 sets, 10 reps

12 sets, 10 reps

Finding your start weight is the hardest, and this may take a couple workouts to figure out. I usually feel warmed up, around my fourth set. your first four sets should be fairly easy. the last four sets should get much  harder
The clue that you chose the right weight, should be your burnout point. You should burn out on your last few reps, of your last few sets. If you complete all 8 sets of 8 reps, you can start a little heavier. Increase each set with no more than 5lbs. This means using 2.5lb plates. If I am not too proud, you shouldn't be!
Be sure to review proper form for the smith press, and stay disciplined!

Reverse Fly

I do the reverse fly with plates. You can do them with dumbbells if the weight increments will work for you. With isolated workouts like the reverse fly, pull-downs, or lateral raises, lower weight, and higher reps are great way to start. 5 sets, of 10 reps will be a good starting point. You can adjust from there. 

Ensure your grip is not too narrow, Keep your hands wide, and knuckles over the top of the bar as much as possible. Come down until you break the 90 degree at your elbows, and return to full extension. Just a piece of advice, if you are trying to lift heavy weight, and you are not using a form of chalk, you will never reach your full potential. Liquid chalk is best, it is cleaner, and easier to manage.

Overhead Smith Machine Press

Strength and fitness can be the difference between mission success, and failure. Fitness is not just something you do, it is a way of life. In the military, fitness is part of who we are. Always challenging each other to be stronger, and faster. It is best to work out using the buddy system! Having a battle buddy is great for motivation, and will allow you to push out those last couple of reps with confidence, maximizing results.

Frequently Asked Questions

What weight should I start with?

 Start with a weight that you can do comfortably, for about 4 or 5 sets. The last 3-4 sets should get increasingly difficult.

What is the correct form for smith press ?

 A good example can be found here, at If you have shoulder pain, or mobility problems, try not bring the bar as far down. Break the 90 degree at your elbow, then go back up. Pay attention to hand placement, and ensure your hands are not to close together. This designed for outer delts.

Should I incorporate dumbbells?

If you would like to do a dumbbell press also, complete it at the end of your workout. 

Build Strong Shoulders!!!