My approach to delts is pretty easy: I hit them as hard as I can. I want to drive as much blood into my muscles as possible. I don't want to lose the pump!
In this delt homicide workout—shot at Big John's Fitness in Nampa, Idaho—I run through supersets, dropsets, and pyramid sets. I use a massive amount of volume, pull out the stops, and bring out all the tricks.
Sometimes I use 40 or 50 reps per set. All I do is work, hustle, and kill. Think you can keep up? You might need to hire a lawyer before you start this workout, because you're about to murder your delts!
DLB Shoulder Secrets
1. Start with Your Weakness
I have a huge chest day, so I hit my front delts while I'm doing presses and flyes. That's why I usually put front delts on the back burner for this workout. I like to start with the rear delts because they're the weakest parts of my shoulders. Any time you have a weakness, hit it when you have the most energy. A pack of bent-over flyes and face-pulls should do the trick!
2. Lateral Lean
I like to hit my muscles with a little variation, which is why I like to lean during my cable lateral raises. The lean gives you a little more range of motion so you can bring your arm higher. It delivers more contraction at the top and more tension at the bottom of each rep.
3. Row to Grow
I like to use a close grip with my upright rows because it really hits my traps. I haven't done a shrug in my life! I think I get my traps with uprights and lateral raises, which means I'm getting a little more out of the exercise. I also pull all the way to my chin instead of stopping at my chest.
4. Think Backward
I sit backward on the Hammer shoulder press because the position helps me hit my front delts a little more. I hit each arm separately so I can concentrate on one delt at a time.
5. Climb the Pyramid
For my dumbbell lateral raises, I like to use a double pyramid set of 15, 10, 15 reps. Use a lighter weight when you go for 15 reps, and then bump it up when you go for 10. Don't grab an insanely heavy dumbbell. Instead, use something that's about 70 percent of what you'd max out on. Come back down to the lighter weight when you go back to 15 reps.
Don't be afraid to do pause sets. You'll see me stop and go again in many of my sets. The whole point is to get to the numbers I want. I don't stop until I get there! So if you have to rest, and then pump out a few more, that's fine. Usually, on that last set, I can only get like 5 reps at a time.
6. Drop It
I call my last movement in this workout a triple dropset, but it uses two different exercises, so it's really a drop superset. This big set is great because you use various grips and hit your front delts in different ways!
First, grab the EZ-bar with an underhand grip. I like this grip because it isolates the front delts. Choose a weight that will smoke you by the time you get to 12 reps.
Then, when you've hit 12 reps with the EZ-bar, move immediately to a plate raise. I like to use a 45-pound plate, but use what you can so you fail at 10-12 reps. Then drop immediately to a 25-pound plate and rep until failure.