Devastating Deltoids!

There's nothing quite like wide, cannonball delts. What a visual impact they make! My eyes are always drawn to great shoulder development pretty much before anything else. Build your own!

There's nothing quite like wide, cannonball delts. What a visual impact they make! My eyes are always drawn to great shoulder development pretty much before anything else. What an impressive body part!

Complete shoulder development is essential for every bodybuilder, whether you're competing or not. They are a critical part of that much sought after V-taper, they enhance your physique from the back, really adding to the impressiveness of a well developed back.

Of course, the front delt is important for a balanced looking physique but is seldom underdeveloped, what with all the chest movements that bring the front delts into play.

Without going into a lot of technical stuff, suffice to say that the shoulders are complex enough to require a good understanding of their function and some definite thought on the routine you plan to use. Basically, the function of the shoulders is to rotate and lift the arm, to the front, side or rear. The two main movements for working the shoulders are lateral raises and overhead pressing movements.

"Complete shoulder development is essential for every bodybuilder, whether you're competing or not; they are a critical part of that much sought after V-taper."

The main thing you want to do when planning out a routine is pick exercises that work all three heads - front (anterior), side (medial) and rear ( posterior). Always pick a compound movement -in this case, a pressing movement first since these build the most mass, then pick isolation movements.

It's important to develop each head equally. Many bodybuilders have good front and maybe even good side development but lag in rear delt development, despite the fact this area is involved in many back exercises. If you compete, this makes your whole back look weak since the rear delts are so prominent in any back shot.

It's easy to just do some presses and maybe some side laterals, think you've worked the shoulders adequately and leave it at that. An approach like that won't do it. The following routine is good for complete, balanced development of all three shoulder heads.

The Routines

Routine 1
Superset


Many bodybuilders work traps as part of their delt routine, including exercises like shrugs and upright rows in their routine. So, to the above routine, add 3 working sets of one of these exercises, switching exercises around each time you train.

Routine 2
If you train at home and use adjustable dumbbells, do rest pause sets: complete one set of 6-8 reps, punt the dumbbells down, count to 3, pick them back up and do as many reps as you can, do this 3 times total.
In each exercise, you should hit positive failure in the suggested rep range. Unless you're warming up, always chose a weight that makes you work for the suggested number of reps, hitting positive failure. If you stop a set when you can do more, you're not working hard enough.


Of course, it's important to perform these exercises in a slow, controlled manner that allows you to feel the muscle being worked, you don't want to just heave the weight up and down, letting momentum do the work for you. Likewise, you should use a heavy weight, but one you can control.

I would suggest switching these routines up - do the first one week and the other the next week. Add shrugs to the first routine as your trap exercise, 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Include these routines as part of your chest and tricep day, or, as I do, do them alone on a separate day spread apart a few days from your chest and tricep routines. Since the delts are directly involved in chest and tricep work, this makes sense. This type of split is my standard split and is featured in most of my articles:

"30-35 minutes is ample time for a good workout provided you don't slack off. You have to train with intensity."

Workout 1: Legs
Workout 2: Chest, triceps
Workout 3: Back, biceps
Workout 4: Delts.

Abs are done every day and rest days are inserted as your schedule and recovery abilities dictate.

Being an older bodybuilder, I usually take 1-2 days between each workout. I think for many people, your daily schedule probably pretty much dictates when you can work out. Most of the routines I've been promoting are quick, you can be in and out in 30-35 minutes.

This is ample time for a good workout provided you don't slack off. You have to train with intensity. It's important to add weight often, even if it's just a little amount. The point is to progress - more weight, a few more reps, more intensity through things like drop sets or forced reps or rest pause reps.

Any of you that have been training a while know this, but new trainees don't really understand this concept.

Advanced Routine

If you're at a stage where you have good development and can analyze your physique, take a good look at your delts, any weak points should be trained first in your routine. Probably, your rear delt is going to lag behind the front and side. Or maybe you lack width. Here are some routines designed to help you bring up these areas:

Routine 3


If you can't do drop sets or down the rack sets, do your sets rest pause style instead - do your set until you can no longer complete a rep, put the weight down for a 8 count, pick it back up and knock out 3 - 4 reps, do this 3 or 4 times.

As always, my set ranges are suggestions, some people know themselves enough to know that these ranges are either to little or to much. Adjust accordingly. If you are not sure, stay with the suggested set totals.

Now get in there and hit those delts!

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