A lot of amazing things can happen when you combine shoulders, a barbell, two dumbbells, cable machine, a bit of motivation, a good dose of proper form, and about 30 minutes of your time. Such as greater pushing strength, a pronounced V-shape to your frame, and a set of boulders that any woman would be happy to cry on (happy tears, of course).
The secret to great deltoids lies in the six exercises you see above. They may seem like standard affair at first glance, but we’re about to share with you their true magic.
Barbell Overhead Press
This is your home for everything shoulders. The barbell press builds size, strength, balance, and should be done at both the beginning and end of your workout. We recommend somewhere around 3 to 4 sets and 8 to 10 reps.
And here is the secret: Use a barbell at the beginning of your session, and then finish with a machine guided press. The idea is to blast the shoulders once more after you have obliterated them to the point of not being able to maintain proper form – but not to worry, as the machine will ensure your form stays proper whether they (your weary shoulders) like it or not.
You also want to distance the chest and shoulders from each other by at least one day. If you don’t, you may not be giving your shoulders enough time to recuperate and grow – and that is pretty much the entire point to all that work.
To build an aspiring set of deltoids, you’re going to need to harness the powers from side laterals, seated laterals, bent-over laterals, and one-arm cable laterals. We recommend 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps each. These should be placed in the center of the workout, between those two previously mentioned barbell presses.
And here is the secret: The shoulder press builds mass and size, and laterals shape and place a “cap” on those boulders with a punctuation mark. There are three angles to your laterals, and only two of those need to be in your routine – the side and the rear lateral. This is because the front delts get worked all week long with your other training sessions, and rarely need extra attention.
Now, working the side and rear deltoids are another story. They need lots of work, which is why we are not just recommending the standard side dumbbell lateral, but also the seated version and one arm cable. You can also throw in a few sets of laterals during an off day (or on another body part day) to give them an extra kick if they’re lagging behind.
The upright row is famous for building big trapezius muscles, which is great, but we’re focused on the shoulders here, so let’s get your mind linked to the task at hand. Where you place your hands, and how you pull on the weight will depend on what muscles get worked and by how much.
And here is the secret: You’re arms are not positioned on strings, so resist the urge to do upright rows as if they were. The upright row is most effective on the deltoids when you allow your arms to pivot slightly away from your body on the way up and then back in towards the end of the movement.
Since everyone’s body is made a bit different you may need to practice with lighter weight until you find the perfect rotation that works the medial deltoids from the bottom of the movement all the way to the top. In general, the closer your hands are placed, the more emphasis is placed on the traps, and the wider, the more your deltoids are brought into play.
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of utilizing good form throughout these movements. While the occasional shoulder injury happens to a lot of people – you don’t want to be one of them if you can help it. Your shoulders are a key component to a lot of your most important lifts, including the squat, bench press, and Pendlay row, just to mention a few. What this means, is a shoulder injury won’t just sideline you from doing overhead presses, but just about everything else you want to do – ouch.
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