What Others Say About Deltoid Development
Arthur Saxon –
“I do not care how large an athlete’s arms are, just so the deltoids are strong and developed.’ He always impressed upon his brothers that the deltoids are the important muscles. Naturally, they heeded his advice for Arthur had proven so many times that he knew what he was talking about. Later, when his brothers who had upper arms which measured only a little over 15 inches, not large as the arms of strong men go, lifted such heavy weights, he explained to lifters who saw them in action that his brothers were capable of such feats because they had developed large and powerful deltoids.
Siegmund Klein –
“All exercises and feats of lifting where the weight is at shoulder height and lifted overhead will develop the shoulder muscles. Feats of lifting, difficult hand balancing, hand to hand balancing, and Roman Ring work all build magnificent deltoids. But few body culturists have the time, the inclination, the place, or the instructor to help them learn these difficult arts. So to obtain good deltoid development it is necessary for these home trainers, the men who have a room at home, to train, to practice movements which are not too difficult in limited quarters. After several years of experimenting, I have selected the exercise that I consider the best for the deltoids. Take a pair of dumbells. Hold them at the sides, knuckles out, slowly and steadily raise them about twelve inches past shoulder height. Lower just as steadily. This can be varied by raising them in the same manner to the front. I practice this exercise very diligently and I do it with twenty pound dumbells, fifteen repetitions, three times during each exercise period, that is at the beginning, in the middle and near the completion of my training program. I would advise you not to use any weight that you can not correctly handle at least fifteen times.
Earle Liederman –
“I have seen earnest workers spend ten minutes working their upper arm muscles, and not ten seconds at their deltoids, have seen men who would spend hours building up the muscles on the abdomen, stomach muscles they call them, and not ten seconds building the trapezius, a strong and useful muscle. It is my experience that all around strength and symmetry is gained by means of general exercises which use all the muscles in groups rather than by purely local exercises. The man who develops all of his muscles, and then specializes on the weak points of his body in time will have a powerful, symmetrical physique. A really strong man is strong all over, has no weak spots. One time I took a friend of mine to witness the training of a strong man. It was necessary for the athlete to shift a big pyramid of weight so that he could find a seat. And he shifted it a foot to one side with an almost imperceptible movement. Said my friend, ‘Say! How much does that weight?’ He was told 350 pounds, and then to me, ‘But he did not lean over or seem to use his arm very much. How did he do it?’ I replied, ‘After he took hold with his hands, he shrugged his right shoulder so as to lift the weights a hair’s breadth, and then he slid it along the bench. It isn’t hard to do if you have strong trapezius muscles.’ Further conversation proved that my friend did not even know what a trapezius muscle was. So I asked the strongman to stand with his back toward us and show the muscle that had done the major share of the lift. And then I had to still further explain that those muscles were not unnatural, that everybody had them but usually in an undeveloped state. That anyone could develop his trapezius muscles by doing so and so and that they were much stronger than the muscles of the arm.”
Like most old time strongmen, Louis Cyr, the strongest man who ever lived, practiced a great deal with dumbells. Although his records prove that he was super strong in all parts of his body, not the least of his great claim to fame resulted from his man exhibitions of shoulder strength. In the match with Richard Pennell, pioneer American strong man, the first man in the United States to officially lift 200 pounds overhead with one arm, it was thought that Pennell’s great skill in the overhead lifts would defeat Cyr, whose specialties were finger lifts, dead weight lifts, back lifts, harness lifts, barrel and stone lifts. When Pennell made his 200 pound one arm lift he stood back with a satisfied smile, then was dumbfounded to see Cyr pick up the weight just like it weighed 50 pounds and with hardly a perceptible bend, press it overhead. It was claimed that Cyr held out in front with one hand a bell weighing 135 pounds. It is hard to believe that this could have been done without considerable body lean, for it is too far above the records made by other strong men the world over. Later in life, when Cyr had retired from the stage, and was operating a cafe in his home town in
Clevio Massimo, one of the most muscular men in the world has ever seen while a soldier at
George F. Jowett spent many years training at heavy weight lifting, made and claimed many world and American records in lifting. He is something of an old timer, for he was at his best twenty years ago, he is a connecting link with the almost legendary old timers of an older era. He learned much from them, and constantly by spoken word and writing, urged all would be strong and well developed men to not exercise the muscles in one groove always, but to develop them from every possible angle so that as many as possible of the muscles of the body would be developed. He was particularly fond of straight arm dumbell exercising. He received splendid results from his training efforts and owes all of his great strength and development to the practice of movements such as are contained in this book. In addition to heavy lifting with barbell, and dumbells, he was a god tumbler, balancer, and one of the best at performing press ups, in the hand stand position, tiger bends and planches.
Following is Jowett’s favorite exercise. It played a major part in developing his most extraordinary deltoid and trapezius muscles. Stand with the feet about 18 inches apart, keeping the legs straight, bend forward, after taking a pair of dumbells in the hands. The back must be flat, the dumbells hanging in the hands at arm’s length under the body. Raise the arms to the side in a line level with the shoulders. Force down with the back as the arms are raised. Jowett would perform this for 15 or 20 repetitions with a pair of 45 pound dumbells, but 20 pounds will be sufficient for the average barbell man. Two variations of this exercise are possible: one in which, with the body in the same position, the arms are raised forward until they are in line with the back. As the arms raise, the hands should be spread apart to give room for the trapezius of he shoulders to move. Force down with the shoulders as the arms raise and do not be disappointed if you can not at first raise the arms so that they will be in line with the shoulders. As you continue the practice of this movement you will be able to raise the arms higher and higher as the deltoids and trapezius become increasingly strong. You can not use much weight in this movement, but if you perform it properly, you will feel a powerful movement of the shoulder muscles. You may vary this exercise by holding the bells at the shoulder as you bend over and from the bent over position thrust the arms out straight to the front, and pull back to the shoulders without raising from the bent over position. In two of these exercises the position of the hands from the start must be at the hang position. Each time the arms are raised they must be returned to the hang position, and the more you sag your shoulders in the hang position, the greater play will your deltoids obtain.
Carl Abs, in 1885, before the day of Sandow, Cyr and Saxon, was setting world’s records in lifting. His side press of 242 (before the bent press was known), his three repetition presses with 242, his two arm jerk with 331, his one arm military press of 110, his hold out in perfect form of 88 pounds and with a slight lean of 110 pounds, were world records.
“Dumbells allow a greater scope of movement than do the barbells. The more diverse the exercises for developing the shoulders are, the better rounded will be the resulting shoulder development. Yet dumbells do not provide something of the greatest importance, heavy resistance, that a barbell does. The barbell is the primary means to obtain greater strength, and superior development, including broader shoulders. Dumbells are secondary to the barbell and fill in the gaps left by this number one piece of body building equipment. Heavy exercise is what you need to build super shoulders.’ – Fred Hoffmeister.
“Without exception the weight lifters have broad, sloping shoulders, beautiful chiseled proportions that are a source of joy to the ambitious body builder to behold. There is no other athletic sport, no other exercise, no form of work, which develops the sloping muscles of the shoulder girdle, the trapezius, as does weight lifting and weight training in its various forms.” – Web Scharzberger
“Milo Steinborn’s measurements are not bigger than other strong men, weight 200 pounds, height 5-8, chest 48, waist 32, upper arm 16 ¼ but his deltoid muscles are simply marvelous and it is these muscles which make the tremendous sweep and power to his arm movements, enabling him to toss 200 pounds or more from the floor to single arm’s length above the head in one motion.” – Alan Calvert writing of Steinborn in 1921.
Steinborn was one of the three best one hand snatchers in the world, only Rondi of France and Vasseir of France being on a par with him (in 1921). His world’s record of 252 ½ pounds in the two hand snatch, his deep knee bend of 552 pounds, still a world’s record, show that he came by his wonderful shoulder development honestly, through years of hard training with specialization on weight lifting. As this is written, Steinborn is still the strongest man in wrestling, still exceeding all others in many feats of strength and skill.
Carl Richartz says the older he gets the better he gets. At the age os 70 he recently held himself in the flag position for thirty seconds. He was 61 before he first attempted this feat. He is one of three men in the nation who can do what is called the true iron lever. He was a good weight lifter when he was only 15 years of age. At the age of 32 he could put 273 pounds overhead with two hands and hold it there with one and he is only a lightweight.
Siegmund Klein considers his form of the two dumbells clean and press to be the “one best exercise.” He believes it is the key exercise practiced by the great pressers of years ago. When he teaches this lift to his pupils he instructs them as follows: “Pull the weight from the floor to the shoulders. From the shoulders press. Return to the shoulders. To the thighs. To the floor. Now repeat.” He suggests that this exercise is started with about twenty pounds in each hand, and believes that there are not a dozen athletes in this country who can perform this exercise correctly, ten repetitions using a pair of 75 pound dumbells. As Klein performs the exercise, the pressing is done with the bells turned parallel with the shoulders, knuckles back as in two arm pressing with a barbell. This is an excellent shoulder developer.
Arthur Saxon when he first came to this country was much surprised to find that there were no athletes here who could perform his feat of pulling two 150 pound kettlebells to the shoulder and then pressing them overhead,. First one, then the other.
“It is my belief that at least until the age of 50 not only through improved development of muscle, but as a result of widening the bony structure of the shoulders and upper chest the shoulders can be broadened. And after the half century mark is reached, muscular development is possible which will result in definitely wider shoulders, but most of all increased strength of these muscles. So regardless of your age, or the state of your development or lack of development, you need not despair of being in the broad shouldered class, broad enough to attract favorable attention wherever you go.” – Norman Miller.
“All of the muscles on the upper trunk, the pectorals, the deltoids and the muscles across the back and shoulders can quickly and easily be developed by what is called straight arm work, because when the arm is held straight all the muscles of the upper arm do is to keep the arm in alignment, and the arm is moved in various directions by the contraction of the muscles which have their origin and base on the bones of the upper trunk, and their attachments on the upper arm bone. The two arm pullover develops the back muscles because the arms are held straight as you lift the bell. In the ordinary shoulder exercise the arms are likewise held straight and the same thing is true of the lateral raise while lying in the supine position.” – Alan Calvert.
Eugen Sandow wrote: “When I was a mere youth I was slender and weak. I cast about for a way to develop my strength, I observed the methods that others had used, so followed the most successful of the continental training methods. Most of my body developing exercises have been practiced with heavy dumbells and to the use of these dumbells I feel that I owe the renown that I have obtained for my development.” Later in life, when Sandow had retired from stage work, he offered a training course with spring dumbells to his pupils over all the world. The bells weighed not more than five pounds, not enough to develop outstanding strength which results only from making heavy demands upon the body, from utilizing what is now termed in medical and physical education circles, “the overload principle.”
Mark H. Berry, formerly editor of the old Strength magazine and the author of a number of physical training books, had this to say about deltoid development: “The athlete, whether stripped or semi-stripped, will look his part only if the shoulders are properly developed. The principle muscle to be fully developed, if we are to acquire the limit of our physical possibilities, is the deltoid. Athletes of class in every branch of sport must have exceptional shoulders. No man can make a name for himself in the game of strength without very well developed and powerful deltoids. Good deltoids are simply one of the essentials in the make-up of a man of strength.The quickest and most dependable way to acquire strong and shapely deltoid muscles is to select a means to place a considerable amount of strain upon the shoulder muscles while forcing them to move throughout a considerable range. At first, no direct effort need be made to exercise the deltoids. All overhead pressing movements will suffice for some time. Usually the first exercises will be the two arm press in a few variations, both in front of and behind the neck, plus one or two movements with a bell in each hand. The next step will consist of special work for the deltoid alone, such as the one arm military press with variations. The alternate dumbell press is splendid. The crucifix should be included in shoulder developing. A good way to develop exceptional deltoids is to work them in conjunction with the legs and back. The majority of lifting movements incorporate this principle and of coarse we are referring to lifts where the weight is raised overhead. Herculean hand balancers use this principle, consequently to the last man they possess admirable deltoids. The all round barbell man who follows a routine of widely variegated exercises and lifts is certain to possess completely developed deltoids.
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