TWEAK TO BECOME A FREAK: Delts Edition
Some unique exercises for scuplting cannonball shoulders!
By Eric “Merlin” Broser
When completely developed, there are few things more visually impressive on a bodybuilder’s physique than round, dense, powerful-looking delts! If you go to your local gym you will likely see many lifters show off a pair of big arms, or display thick, squared chests, but far more rarely do you witness a couple of massive “cannonballs” hanging off the clavicles. And perhaps, it is you who suffers from less than super-sized shoulders.
Whatever the case, I am here to provide some novel twists on basic deltoid exercises that may be the key to pushing your shoulder development from ordinary to extraordinary!
Movement: Cable Front Raise
Tweak: Perform while seated on an incline bench.
Execution: Set an incline bench to between 45 and 60 degrees and place it a few feet in front of a low cable. Attach a short straight bar, or rope, to the pulley. Grab the bar (or rope) and sit back on incline bench. (Note: You can vary the width of your hands on the bar from narrow to wide. When using the rope, grasp with a “hammer” grip). At the beginning of every rep, the arms should be completely straight with hands held a few inches above the thighs. Moving only at the shoulder joint, slowly raise to a point just over your head, making sure to hold this (fully contracted) position for 1-2 seconds before slowly lowering back to the starting position.
Result: This unique angle allows for max tension at both the beginning and contracted position of each rep, which is excellent for shocking the shoulders into growth.
Movement: Reverse Cable Flye
Tweak: Perform seated at an adjustable cable crossover station or seated chest cable flye machine. Use a palms down grip for even greater variation.
Execution: Sit sideways on the bench or in the machine and grasp the pulley with the working arm. Rather than holding an attachment/handle, simply grab the end of the cable so that your palm is facing the floor. The arm holding the pulley should be held at shoulder height (throughout the set) and across your torso so that your forearm is in front of your face. Keeping a slight bend at the elbow, slowly abduct the arm in a reverse flye motion until the rear/posterior deltoid is fully contracted. The only movement should be at the shoulder, with no twisting of the torso. Additionally, make sure not to pull back so far that you begin to engage the traps.
Result: Quite often the posterior delts lag behind the lateral and anterior heads, which give the shoulders and incomplete appearance. This movement strongly isolates the rear delt, and creates tension from the beginning to end of every rep. The fact that it is performed unilaterally only adds to its growth potential.
Movement: Single Arm Cable Side Lateral
Tweak: Perform lying sideways on an incline bench.
Execution: Set an incline bench to between 35 and 45 degrees and place a few feet in front of a low pulley (fixed with a “D” handle attatchment). Grab the handle and lay sideways on the bench (while finding a comfortable position for your legs and non-working arm). Begin with the arm straight, held a few inches above the side of your thigh. Slowly raise, keeping your arm in line with your torso, until the lateral deltoid is fully contracted. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds before slowly lowering back to the starting position.
Result: The unique angle of this movement will tap into new motor pool units and exhaust muscle fibers previously untouched by basic laterals. Additionally, the increased tension at both the beginning and completion of each rep will force the side delts to work harder than ever.
Movement: Seated Shoulder Press Machine
Tweak: Perform one arm at a time, with the palm facing the ear and torso adjusted.
Execution: Sit in a shoulder press machine that allows you to grip the handles so that your palm is facing inward. Slide your body over, making sure that your anterior (front) deltoid is directly underneath the handle/working hand. Press upward until just before reaching full lockout, keeping constant tension on the shoulder. Lower slowly, feeling the anterior deltoid work all the way to the bottom.
Result: When performed in this manner, this exercise will rather directly hit the front deltoid head, while keeping the lateral delt largely out of the movement. You will experience added growth to the front of the shoulder, increasing overall roundness, as well as added separation from the upper pecs.
Movement: Seated DB Side Lateral
Tweak: Perform while sitting on an incline bench.
Execution: Grab a pair of DB’s (I suggest about 2/3 the weight that you would use for standard side laterals) and sit down on an incline bench set to about 45 degrees. While keeping your arms just slightly bent, chest high and shoulders back, raise the DB’s out to your sides until your palms are facing directly toward the floor. Lower under control until the arms are again hanging at your sides.
Result: This unique angle will torch your laterals delts in a manner they are not used to, igniting a growth spurt (hopefully making you too wide to fit through most doorways!). And again, when basic movements are performed in slightly different planes of motion, you will stimulate muscle fibers that may have remained dormant beforehand.
Coach Eric Broser aka “Merlin”
-Team ALLMAX www.allmaxnutrition.com
-CEO B Built International www.broserbuilt.com
-Columnist for FLEX, Natural Muscle & Muscleandfitness.com
-Creator of the SPEC™, ESPX2™, FTX2™, PRRS™, FDFS™ and O-Bey-6™ Training Systems
-Watch “B Built By Broser” on Jay Cutler TV
-On IG as @coachericbroser