The Nitty Gritty Of Building Demolition Delts!

Let's skip the small talk and start building cannonball shoulders. Delt training can be broken into two categories: presses and raises. For your educational enrichment we will break down both to their nuts and bolts.

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Your 3x t-shirt drapes across your torso like a king's robe. You look like an NFL linebacker in full pads. You appear to be smuggling two bowling balls under your ears. This is what it feels like to be a freak, to walk among the rank and file, your silhouette--eliciting awe with each approaching step.

This is just another day in the life of the Animal. This is how it feels to have monstrous delts--shoulders straight out of Frankenstein's lab.

To achieve the status of the growing grotesque takes a plan, some common sense and a whole sh!t load of hard work. Consistency, dedication and focus. But you knew all of that, and you've got what it takes and then some. Sh!t, that is how you got here in the first place. So let's skip the small talk and get down to the nitty gritty of building some cannonball shoulders.

Your delts assist in every kind of bench press and flye movement on chest day, not to mention helping out with heavy curls, rows and just about anything else that involves your upper body. They do, however, demand to be trained on their own and given their due respect.

John Berry - Shoulders Workout #1: Shoulder Workout
Date: 7/10/2006

Delt training can be broken into two categories: presses and raises. For your educational enrichment we will break down both to their nuts and bolts.

Lateral Raises

Of all isolation movements, the lateral raise may be the most integral to building a complete physique, as they directly blast the three heads of the deltoid, packing much needed meat onto one of a bodybuilder's most prized body parts.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Shoulder Anatomy.

Three different raising movements are necessary for complete development of the shoulder girdle, but they are not of equal importance. The most essential of all raises is the side lateral raise.

1. Side Lateral Raise:

    The side lateral raise, performed either with a dumbbell, cable attachment or on a machine is a must for creating "the look"--the illusion of extreme width.

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Side Lateral Raise.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    This exercise is so important, because it is the only movement in the bodybuilder's arsenal that directly hits the cherished and so often neglected medial head. This sort of raise responds to both high and low reps and can be performed optimally in both simultaneous and unilateral fashion.

    For an electrifying shock set, line up 4 sets of heavy dumbbells in order from heavy to light. Your heaviest pair should allow for 6 tough reps. The lightest under normal conditions you could use for a relatively easy 20. The middle 'bells should fall somewhere in between ball-busting and laughable.

    Starting with the big boys, bang out as many reps as possible, holding the 'bells in front of you with your elbows just slightly bent and then raising them out to your sides to just about ear level, lowering them slowly on the negative... Then immediately drop them and move on to the next lighter pair.

    Descend from heavy to light, taking each set to failure. Do this ritual of torture twice more and you won't be able to lift your arms from your sides. That should wake those slumbering side delts like an ice cold shower in December.

2. Rear Delt Lateral Raise:

    The next in line in order of bodybuilding significance is the rear delt lateral raise. This movement slaps muscle onto the posterior head of the deltoid and facilitates real-deal upper body thickness. Cats with poor rear delts disappear when they turn to their side.

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Rear Delt Lateral Raise.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player

    The strict execution of this movement is vital to its efficacy. Think of reversing the arc of a dumbbell flye--the opposite of hugging a big old tree. Bent forward, dumbbells hanging in front of you, raise them upward and outward, emphasizing the contraction in your rear delts at the top.

    To take this exercise to the next level, try lying face first on an incline bench- this will restrict your movement, making it impossible to cheat and making you capable of bombing your rear delts with even the lightest of weights.

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Incline Bench Rear Delt Lateral Raise.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    The ideal machine version of this movement is one of my absolute favorites: reverse pec deck flyes--an awesome variation on an old school gem. Try 4 sets ranging from 15 on your first down to a grueling 8 on your last set.

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Pec Deck.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

3. Front Raise:

    Last on the firing line is the front raise. Last simply because it focuses on the most used and abused portion of the deltoid. Your front delts get absolutely destroyed on chest day, simply because of how much they come into play when supporting the taxing tonnage hoisted handling the barbells and dumbbells of a serious pec session.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Front Raise.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    For this reason we place them last on shoulder day and only perform 3 sets. With 'bells hanging at your sides or a plate or light barbell at your waist, raise the weight straight in front of you, without twisting your hands--toy soldier style. These can be done one arm at a time or with both simultaneously. Perform three sets of 12, 10 and 8 respectively.

    print Click Here For A Printable Log Of This Shoulder Routine.

Animal Training Tip: Mix & Match

To add a little spice to your delt training and to cut the painful monotony of lateral raises, try grouping the three movements together into a vicious but well choreographed giant set. Grab a moderate pair of dumbbells and sit on the edge of a bench. Lean forward and perform 10 reps of bent lateral rear delt raises.

Without hesitation, sit upright and perform 10 reps of side raises. Finally complete 10 reps of seated simultaneous front raises. This sh!t will burn like kerosene over open flame. Go through this circuit three times, raising the weight just slightly on each. This will deep fry your delts and add a little bit of needed variety. Try it, it's a motherf_cker.

Damn, Animal. Who thought something so simple could be so brutal? We just took lateral raises and turned them into a run-for-the-puke-bucket session worthy of squat day. Your delts are throbbing from front to back, your traps are cramped and your neck is pulsating with blood. You're not actually going to do shoulder presses now... Are you?

The Best Shoulder Building Tips And Workouts! The Best Shoulder Building Tips And Workouts!
I've put together an explanation of shoulder anatomy, common injuries, and great tips & workouts from our forum members.
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