The routine I outline below is a real blitzer. It involves rapid, high intensity supersets with emphasis on muscle quality and definition. I might add that a lot of research, trial-and-error, and cheating went into its development. More details on the routine later on.
Let me now briefly consider things less tangible, such as the power of concentration. Unless you are totally involved in your training, gains will come slow. Being involved means total dedication and attention to what you are doing at the moment. You must concentrate on the movement of the exercise itself; you must feel the movement from start to finish, rep after rep, until the muscles yell out, "Enough!" Man is blessed with instinct, as is every animal -- but man doesn't listen to his instincts often enough (as animals do) . . . listen to your instincts and you will find the right course to take -- knowing how much is good, when to stop, etc.
Moreover, involvement means knowing that progress is in progress; that your pre-set goal is nearer and nearer with every rep you do. Given time and hard work combined with the support of your positive thinking you will achieve your goal. To indulge in negative thoughts is to surrender.
To become better you must be involved. Commit yourself completely to the cause when lifting. If you say it isn't practical to do so -- stop . . . go no further; you are defeated at the start. All your planning, doing, being should be positive.
Let's get back to the routine itself. It's simple, quick, and effective -- and if you get involved it'll work for you. It begins with a dynamic duo, a superset, for overall muscle density; continues with my own special brand of cap slapping laterals; and ends with Don Howorth's one-arm cramp champs for striations, veins, cuts, and neat things like that.
As far as the exact number of sets and reps -- that's up to you. Generally speaking, heavy weights and low reps effect muscle thickness, whereas light weights and eight reps yield muscle quality, shape, and definition. Examine your physique carefully, determine your needs, and tailor the routine to fit exactly. Sets and reps, for example, should be flexible . . . approximate them, don't count them. Now let's get to the exercises.
1) Upright Row to
2) Seated Barbell Press
3) Lying Side Arm Laterals (front and rear)
4) Standing One-Arm Lateral Cramp (side arm)
Explanation of Exercises
UPRIGHT ROWING is performed in the standard fashion, feet planted firmly shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and body angled forward from the waist. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands spaced about 6" apart. Pull the bar up along the body to the chin, forcing the elbows out. This directs effort to the caps, or lateral (side) deltoids. Concentrate effort on the delts and away from the traps. This will take some practice, trial and error.
Supersetted with the SEATED BARBELL PRESS, it proves to be a most compatible combination. This exercise is a standard movement with little variation suggested. For maximum effect, execute a series of half-rep burns at the top and bottom of the exercise. Keep a steady pace when performing this superset. Hesitation works against a good pump and deep-down burn.
LYING SIDE ARM LATERALS have been for a long time my favorite shoulder makers. Lying on your side with your free arm and legs positioned to stabilize the body, grasp a dumbbell in an overhead position. Lower slowly and deliberately to a position parallel and at a right angle to the body. Without releasing tension raise to starting position and cramp severely. Complete half your reps in this manner and you'll notice your rear and side deltoids exploding. The remaining reps are executed by dropping the dumbbell to a position parallel and behind the back. This variation attacks the front and side deltoids, leaving nothing to chance. Turn over and repeat for the other delt.
For the final touch -- STANDING ONE-ARM LATERAL CRAMPS, a la Don Howorth. Standing with one arm supported by a post, grasp a dumbbell in the free arm. Lean slightly away from the post, bend the knees a little, and raise the dumbbell in side arm lateral fashion. This is where your talent to feel the movement comes into play. How you hold the dumbbell, to what position you raise it, which muscles are actuated at the peak of the movement, etc., must be dictated by your own body. Try various techniques until you get it -- and your sensations will tell you when. Work both sides equally until your delts burn.
The routine works -- if you give it a fair shake. You'll find that in about 30 minutes you'll be able to bomb, blast, blitz, and utterly devastate the shoulders.