Four moves build delt density and immensity with joint integrity intact.
Women wear suits with shoulder pads to project an aura of authority in the workplace. Men wear shoulder pads in football games so they can knock opponents into next week. Which goes to show that shoulders have both symbolic and functional importance.
With the right workout your shoulders will need no artificial padding. They'll be sculpted into round "caps" and capable of handling any reasonable load that comes their way.
They'll also keep their structural and functional integrity, a real benefit because nothing derails upper body gains like a bum shoulder joint or two. The last thing you want is for those coconut delts of yours to crack.
The following workout will prod your delts into serious growth while keeping them healthy too.
Danger: Shoulder Work Ahead
So warm up, will ya? You should do that before every workout but especially before a shoulder workout. Take 10 minutes and walk on the treadmill to get the blood flowing and raise your body temperature. Don't work up a major sweat, but don't tiptoe, either.
While warming up, clear your head of any negative thoughts. Visualize your head sitting on top of boulders, because that's what you'll look like after the workout. Think about how it will feel to complete this training session, how pumped and big your shoulders will look in the mirror.
Now do rotator cuff exercises to ensure your shoulder joints and rotator cuffs are fully prepared to handle the poundage they're about to receive. Start out by doing 20 arm circles in both directions -- arms straight out to your sides, as if you're at the top of a lateral raise.
Next, grab very light dumbbells -- five-pounders will do. I suggest you do 20 external rotations for each shoulder, followed by 20 front raises. Then do 20 side raises, 20 shoulder circles and 20 rear raises.
After resting for a minute, you're ready to roll. The exercises are basic, but they work. The twist here is that you're going to do the four movements in GIANT SET style. That means you'll perform one set of each exercise consecutively before resting. You're going to hit the front, side and rear heads of the shoulders before finishing with traps. The entire deltoid area will feel so engorged with nutrient-rich blood that those coconuts will be ready to burst.
Let's get to it!
1) Seated Dumbbell Presses -- sit on an upright bench with a weight you can handle for 8-10 reps. The key to this movement is that you're going to pause at the bottom before performing the next rep. That takes away all the momentum, which means you'll have to work that much harder to get the weights up for the next rep. That means two things: You'll get stronger, and eventually your shoulders will need their own ZIP code.
2) Lateral Raises -- Find a weight you can handle for 10-12 reps, when you're doing three-second negatives. In other words, once you reach the top of the movement, count to three as you lower the weight: 1,001 . . . 1002 . . . 1,003 . . . then boom, it's go time for the next rep. One more point about side raises, as
they're also called: Once your arms rise above parallel to the floor, your traps assume control of the movement. Don't do that! In other words, don't go too high. If you do, those coconuts won't get completely cooked.
3) Bentover Lateral Raises -- Keep those same dumbbells and position yourself to do bentover, or rear, lateral raises. Your going to do the same thing here that you did with the side raises: At the top of the lifting portion of the exercise, squeeze for a good contraction, followed by a three-second negative. Feeling the burn at this point? Good. That's what it takes to be successful. Go for 12-15 reps here before moving on to the final exercise.
4) Dumbbell Shrugs -- Use the same weight you used for the dumbbell presses and start shrugging. Grip the weights with every ounce of strength you have left. If you need straps, use them. Squeeze at the top for a second before letting the weights down. Once the dumbbells are down, let them hang for a second so you get a good stretch in your traps. Keep going until you can't perform the next rep properly or you lose your grip. Once you're finished with shrugs, it's time to rest!
The Giant-Set Plan, Man
You should have only two pairs of dumbbells for this routine: one pair for the presses and shrugs and one pair for the two raises. You'll perform them all in a row before resting. Even then, rest periods are only two minutes for beginners and intermediate lifters. If you're advanced, take 90 seconds before doing the next giant set.
Beginners should do only two giant sets until they grow accustomed to training like this. Intermediate folks can do three rounds for an effective workout. For you iron veterans, go for four, really pushing yourself. Max effort here.
This routine shouldn't take you too long to complete. At the end you'll have effectively targeted every head of your deltoids as well as your traps. Giant sets for giant shoulders!
Enjoy Your Lifting!