Shoulders are probably the most prominent muscles of the human body. If big and nicely shaped, they manifest the owner’s masculinity, health and strength. For this very reason, you may want to know more about a proper deltoid training.
A good shoulder workout
The deltoids are three-headed muscles, with the Anterior, Lateral, and Posterior head. Each head is responsible for a different type of movement and needs at least one dedicated exercise. Remember to always adjust the number of series and repetitions to your current strength workout plan.
As a shoulder training needs strong involvement of the triceps, shoulder exercisesare often combined with biceps exercises. An equally effective combination is the one of shoulder exercises and back exercises. Such a blend will give your muscles an impulse to develop comprehensively. When choosing shoulder exercises, you must not forget to recover properly. By doing this you will avoid overtraining one muscle group while leaving another one undertrained.
Best shoulder exercises
1. SEATED BACK BARBELL PRESS
Sit on a bench with a support. Tilt the support slightly backwards, to be able to push the barbell vertically upwards. Lift the barbell up over your head from in front of your head, as high as you can, and then bring it back as low as you can, to use the biggest possible movement amplitude. Do not lock your elbows. Remember to keep your elbows in front of your body at all times, as then your deltoids (the Anterior head) will work harder while the work performed by the triceps will be lighter. Adjust the grip width properly, making sure that your wrists make an extension of the forearms. You may want to use a belt in this exercise, to support your lumbar spine and minimise the risk of injury.
2. SEATED ARNOLD PRESSES
To do this exercise, you will need a pair of dumbbells. Sit on a bench positioned in the same way as in exercise one. Grab the dumbbells with your palms facing upwards and start with a position that looks like the contracted portion of a dumbbell curl. Your arms should be next to your torso, slightly raised (dumbbells at about chin level). Now raise the dumbbells and bring them close to each other. Make sure, however, that they do not touch. When doing this movement, rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward (180 degrees). Remember not to bring your elbows out to sides too quickly. Focus on the wrist rotation and pressing the dumbbells vertically upwards. This exercise involves the Anterior deltoid.
3. SEATED BARBELL PRESS BEHIND NECK
The exercise is analogical to the first one, only you need to keep your elbows pointed upwards. The bench support can be left in an upright position. Lower the barbell at least to the ear height. If possible, go even lower and make it touch your shoulders. With this exercise, you will develop the Anterior and Lateral heads of your deltoids. Remember to perform it carefully, with full control of the weight at each stage of the movement.
4. ALTERNATING DUMBBELL FRONT RAISE (SUPINATED, STANDING)
Stand with your legs closely together, and hips and the head slightly pushed forward. This will isolate your deltoids better, and you will not swing your body during the exercise. Lift the dumbbell to the front, with a slight bend on the elbow in the final phase, so that the back of the hand faces up. In this way you will better involve the Lateral and Posterior deltoid. Keep your elbow slightly bent when performing the movement. Continue to go up until your arm is slightly above the shoulders.
5. TWO HAND CABLE LATERAL RAISE
Stand between the two pulleys of a dual cable machine, slightly to the rear, so that your hands (and not your torso) are across from the pulleys. Grasp the left handle with your right hand, and right handle with your left hand, and extend your arms upwards and to the sides, as if you were doing dumbbell lateral raise.
6. INCLINE SIDE LYING DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE
Position the bench support at a 30-degree angle and lie down sideways on the bench. Make sure the angle between your shoulder and the rib line equals c.a. 90 degrees. Slightly bend the arm with the dumbbell and slowly bring it down, remembering that the dumbbell should be positioned perpendicularly to the ground and your rear shoulders should be contracted. Then, raise the weight dynamically, but do not exceed the shoulder line (right angle between the shoulder and the ground). With this exercise, you will develop the Posterior head of your deltoids.
7. BARBELL SHRUGS
With shrugs, or barbell shoulder raises, you will develop your trapezius muscles and their upper parts. Stand close to the bar and grab it with a pronated grip (you can use grip enhancers). Push your head slightly forward and dynamically raise your shoulders as high as possible; lower the barbell in a controlled movement, controlling the trapezius contraction. Remember not to tilt your head backwards, which is a common mistake, as by doing this you shorten the movement, making the muscles work lighter.