Training

Six Shoulder Exercises for Monstrous Delts

Roelly Winklaar's regimen for building shoulders fit for a beast!

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HAMMER STRENGTH SHOULDER PRESS

Winklaar warms up with the Hammer Strength shoulder press. He starts with a few light sets, but rather than rush through them quickly, he slowly moves through 20 reps in order to get blood flowing into the muscles. Since the machine locks your body into place, avoid going all-out on this one, instead using it as a warmup for the front delts.

SEATED DUMBBELL PRESS

This is Winklaar’s go-to exercise for huge front delts. He advocates using dumbbells over a barbell for a couple reasons. If you have any shoulder impingement or rotator cuff issues, dumbbells are much easier on them because you can make micro shifts in position at the top and the bottom, and even as you press them into place. Most important, though, keeping a heavy set of dumbbells up and moving properly activates ancillary stabilizing muscles like the triceps, biceps, and traps—and even the abs, for balance making it much more than just a front-delt exercise. 

One of the challenges with going superheavy is cleaning the dumbbells up and into position. Winklaar gets assistance on one side. He recommends flipping one dumbbell up yourself from your knee, while a spotter hands you the other one. “Oftentimes, trying to flip up such heavy dumbbells can lead to back injury or a pull in the neck, and you also lose at least one rep by trying to maneuver them yourself,” Winklaar says. 

He always uses a spotter on these, and never throws them onto the ground when he’s done. He’s also certain to begin the movement with the dumbbell at about ear level and not below, which activates more triceps over shoulders. Everything is done in a controlled manner. And for a bigger challenge and variation, he’ll perform it with a neutral grip (palms facing each other), which activates different muscle fibers.

HOW TO DO IT: Make sure your back is flat against the pad and not arched when you sit down. Arching stresses the lower back, so you really need to engage your abs to sit up straight. For your heaviest sets, have a spotter hand you one dumbbell. If no spotter is available, place the dumbbell up on its end on a bench beside you, which makes it easier than flipping both up. The pressing motion should be slightly faster on the way up than on the way down. It should feel like you’re trying to push the dumbbells through the ceiling then slowly lowering them back into position.

 

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