Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed
See Bill Pearl's booklet "Your Key to Broad Shoulder" here:
Did you ever notice how men who frown on weight training and always have a sarcastic outlook towards the sport are the first to purchase the suits and sport coats with the exaggerated shoulders? Of course, there is nothing more impressive than a pair of shoulders that takes up a whole seat on a bus - but not with the aid of five pounds of cotton!
And then, what about the summer, when you can't wear a coat? A person who owns a large pair of shoulders, minus the padding, is sure to look impressive year round.
Some people are blessed with naturally broad shoulders, but most bodybuilders who have reached the "top" in the game spend as much time developing trapezius, and especially deltoids, as they do on their arms and chest. This gives their physiques that finished look that all bodybuilding enthusiasts should set as their goal. Deltoids that are round and full will add inches to their owner's shoulders.
Many bodybuilding beginners make it a habit to work their arms, pecs, and lats, forgetting their shoulders, which are, or course, just as important. This is a sad mistake, because it is possible for these muscle groups, in time, to get much stronger in comparison to the deltoids and shoulders, as well as out of proportion in size. This makes it all the harder for the deltoids to develop when the trainee finally wakes up and discovers how badly they are lagging. For by now, the other muscle groups have taken over and are doing most of the work. Then the time that could be used developing the rest of the body has to be sacrificed for the specialization needed for the deltoids.
The "greats" such as John Grimek, Reg Park, and Steve Reeves all have exceptionally massive deltoids and have spent a great time developing them. John Grimek, before the Mr. America contest, stressed several times in his letters that I should work hard on deltoids, if nothing else. He said that deltoids that were big and full would help to exaggerate the smallness of the waist and tend to give a much more massive appearance. He is the one who made me conscious of the great part they play in an impressive physique. If a physique does not have too well developed arms and pectorals, deltoids that are nicely developed can do a lot to compensate for this.
The exercises that are listed in this article are the ones I have done time after time to develop my deltoids. I consider them some of the best there are for adding that championship look to your physique. I suggest that two or three of these exercises be added to your routines as you go along. Primarily, you must remember that one muscle group is as important as another.
The only time it is advisable to specialize on any one muscle group is when it is lagging behind. Don't make the mistake of using half of your workout periods for your chest or arms. Neither will be as impressive if you haven't the shoulders to support them. Always be conscious of your proportions and symmetry.
Here, then, are my deltoid exercises:
1) Upright Rowing:
These can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, or a floor pulley. All are effective and work the outside of the deltoids, giving them size. The exercise is started from a standing position with the hands fairly close together. As you commence to pull the weight up to a position under the chin, with your elbows out wide, you take a deep breath and hold it until the weight is again at arms' length. The poundage should be kept light enough so that the back is kept straight and very little cheating is done. 3 sets of 10 repetitions should be performed.
2) Press Behind Neck, Seated:
This is a tremendous exercise and throws most of the work on the deltoids and triceps. Doing them seated permits less back bend and cheating. Lighter weights will have to be used than if the exercise was done standing. A grip of 3 to 5 inches wider than the shoulders should be used. The breath is taken while the barbell is still on the shoulders and held until the weight has been locked out overhead and brought down smoothly. 3 sets of 10 are sufficient.
3) Press, Seated:
This exercise is done with a barbell and a grip about shoulder width. The breath is taken as the press begins and held until the weight is again at the starting position. Make sure the elbows are kept in and the arms are locked out overhead. By doing them seated, less bend in the back is allowed and more stress is put on the deltoids and triceps. 3 sets of 8-10 is best here.
4) One-Arm Military Press:
Seldom ever seen, this exercise is exceptional for shaping the deltoids and triceps. A dumbbell or barbell is used that is light enough to eliminate all cheating. The arm that is not being used should be held braced against the wall and locked out, supporting the body and keeping it stationary. Using the triceps and deltoids, you push the bar directly over your head and bring the weight down smoothly. You may find it a little awkward at first in balancing the barbell, but a couple of sets and you'll begin to feel more confident with it. The breathing is the same as on the above exercises, and 3 sets of 10 should be performed.
5) Dumbbell Side Laterals, Straight Arms, Standing:
A light pair of dumbbells is used in this exercise and the back should be kept straight throughout. The exercise starts with the dumbbells at arms' length at the sides, keeping the arms straight. The dumbbells are brought up to a point higher than the shoulders and lowered slowly to starting position. It is not necessary to raise the weights completely overhead. 3 sets of 15 are enough.
6) Supine Press:
Needing very little explanation due to its popularity, the supine press is generally done for pectoral development, but it is also very good for front deltoids and triceps. A medium-wide grip should be used and it should not be done for maximum poundage for our purposes here. While pushing the barbell to arms' length, keep your lower back firmly fixed on the bench, making the arms, pecs, and deltoids do all of the work. 3 sets of 8-10 are sufficient.
7) Bentover Rowing Motion:
Bent rows are very good for the upper back and rear deltoids. The exercise should be done here with a fairly wide grip on the bar, and the breath taken at the beginning of the pull and held until the weight is again hanging at arms' length. The body should be kept that way. If you find this hard to do, use something to rest your forehead on. Again, 3 sets of 10 should be done.
8) Handstand Dips:
For a real deltoid and triceps pump, this one is it! They are done on a pedestal especially made for the exercise, or, on the floor. If you are not able to keep your balance while standing on your hands, do them against the wall or have your training partner hold your legs. Lower your body as far as possible and keep your elbows in. Concentrate on working the deltoids and triceps as you lower and raise your body. Three sets and as many repetitions as possible should be done.
You will notice that all of the described exercises also bring the triceps into play, making them doubly effective. Include these exercises in your routines to come and you will notice your deltoids beginning to take new shape and your shoulders becoming more impressive.
Here is the routine I am following with these exercises at the present:
1) Side bend, 35, 50 each side
2) Situps on incline, 50
3) Close grip chins, 45, 3 x 8-10
4) Concentration curl, 45, 3 x 8-10
5) Press behind neck, 160-190, 3 x 10
6) Military press, 180-200, 3 x 8-10
7) One arm military press, 80-100, 2 x 8-10
8) Straight arm dumbbell laterals, 30's, 2 x 15
9) Barbell row, 200-250, 3 x 10
10) Dumbbell pullover, 100-120, 3 x 10
11) Supine press, 250-290, 3 x 8-10
12) Handstand dips, 3 x 7-10
14. Kneeling triceps pulley extension, 120, 3 x 7-8
15. Bend overs, 75, 10 reps
16. Leg press, 600-650, 2 x 8-10
17. Calves, 2 x 15-20.