Article Submitted by Liam Tweed
Usually the average person who has never been concerned about bodybuilding is very impressed by huge shoulders. Maybe you have attained some very impressive measurements such as 18" arms and 28" thighs but unless you have developed a good set of wide shoulders even the average person can sense that there is something missing.
Some very lucky individuals have naturally wide looking shoulders. By naturally wide shoulders I mean someone who has never exercised, but has wide shoulders nonetheless. Aren't you envious? The natural width of the shoulders is constituted by the length of the clavicle bones. The longer the clavicle bones, the wider the shoulders. If we intend to increase our shoulder width beyond the natural width the clavicle bones create we must increase the size of our deltoid muscles. So, let us concern ourselves here with the muscles which cover the shoulder joints, the DELTOIDS.
The delts consist of three main segments.
I will refer to the front part as the Anterior segment, the side part as the Lateral segment, and the rear part as the Posterior segment. All exercises found in this article do stimulate the complete deltoid to some extent, however, in most cases one segment will receive more benefit than the others. In order to avoid any unnecessary confusion I shall list each exercise and describe the effects of each. I will also point out the segment which is mostly effected.
1) Military Press and Dumbbell Press:
These exercises are listed together because the movement is the same, so the effects are almost identical. Regardless of how much weight is used or how many repetitions are employed this exercise will primarily stimulate the anterior segment of the deltoid.
2) Press (From Forehead Level Off The Rack):
This (partial range of motion) exercise stimulates the deltoids incredibly. The weight is pushed from about forehead level to lockout position. A maximum amount of weight should be employed. This is one of the very best deltoid exercises in use today. I would say it effects all three segments approximately the same. This aspect makes it even more attractive. Maintain a very erect position. A wider than average grip is advisable.
3) Bench Press:
This exercise is used chiefly to develop the muscles of the chest and arms, but as usual it is impossible to do any pressing movements without effecting the deltoids in one way or another. In this case the anterior segments of the deltoids receive a thorough workout. Most better than average bench pressers will a superior anterior deltoid development. Please take note.
4) Cleaning Movement:
This is another exercise which affects the complete deltoid muscle. It would be very hard to isolate the effects of this particular exercise to any one of the three segments, therefore it serves as a very good all-around deltoid exercise not to mention the other benefits derived from this movement.
5) Dumbbell Laterals On Bench:
This exercise stimulates the anterior deltoid muscle much the same as the bench press except for the stretching movement involved. The higher (toward the head) the dumbbells are forced the more deltoid action you derive.
6) Standing Dumbbell Laterals:
This exercise stimulates the entire deltoid, but it mainly effects the lateral segment. This is a general favorite of bodybuilders throughout the world. The results which can be obtained from this exercise are limitless.
7) Forward Dumbbell Raise:
Again, as usual this exercise effects the entire deltoid, but in this case the anterior segment is the primary target. When this exercise is done slowly and concentrated one can obtain maximum contractions in the deltoids. It is a good exercise to obtain muscular separation of the deltoids.
Although this exercise stimulates many body parts the posterior deltoids receive a severe workout. Anyone who does a great abundance of chins will develop very superior posterior deltoids.
9) Bentover Rowing:
This type of rowing works the posterior segment of the deltoids, although it is considered a good lat exercise. Many men have used this exercise in order to get that big, w-i-d-e look and this exercise will do it.
10) Forward Incline Dumbbell Lateral:
Last but not least by any means is the forward incline lateral raise. It is a fabulous exercise for the posterior deltoid. I certainly recommend this exercise.
All of the 10 exercises listed are very well known and need little explanation. I am sure you employ most of them in your present routines. In fact there are many of you who do most of them in each exercise period. There is a possibility that you may be doing too many exercises which target the deltoids and the result is that you are overworking them. Don't do too many at any one training session!
True, the deltoids are a strong group of muscles but they are not of great mass and one must be careful not to overtrain them. The lifter puts great stress and strain on them while exercising many other body parts. Every time a lifter makes a lift he puts unusual stress on the deltoids in one way or another.
If you have noticed there are some lifters who do not have sufficient deltoid development to withstand the necessary stress and strain of lifting. These same individuals train like madmen on the Press in order to increase their pressing poundage. The main reason they cannot gain is because they continually overwork their deltoids. Some people can survive such punishment, but most cannot. If one keeps in mind that his deltoids are one of his MOST VULNERABLE BODY PARTS he will make much more progress in the long run.
Naturally it is necessary to train rather heavy in order to obtain superior deltoid development, but you must not handle too many heavy weights in a single workout because you will not recuperate before the next scheduled workout period.
Try to list several upper body exercises you can do when you have a "bum" shoulder. You will find that you are very limited. This proves just how important your deltoids really are. Many bodybuilders are so interested in getting big lats and pecs that they forget all about the deltoids.
To me there is nothing worse than a lifter with well-developed lats and pecs that are lacking equally developed deltoids. This type of development very unnatural and phony looking. Even in Mr. America competitions you can find this type of development, so as you can see it is not very unusual. This fact does not rectify the case. The only thing that could possibly remedy the situation would be proper training methods. Even more basic than that . . . COMMON SENSE.
If your deltoids are definitely lagging in development you should do something about it. Base all your upper body routine around your deltoids. Do your heavy pressing and cleaning movements first in your routine. Place your other body parts as secondary. All the exercises listed above are very good ones. Regardless of which exercises you choose, very favorable results can be obtained if you follow my simple suggestions.
I realize that there are other body parts to be considered during every workout, so in order to avoid overworking the delts try doing two (2) heavy exercises listed in this article. NO MORE. Do approximately 5 sets of 5 reps. You should choose at least one shaping exercise listed also. Approximately 3-4 sets of 8 reps. NO MORE. Remember, the heavy exercises encourage more growth than you may realize!
Otherwise continue in your usual manner. This simple change could make a day and night difference in your development and strength. I certainly wish you the very best.