Six Shoulder Exercises for Monstrous Delts

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



Building the perfect X-frame requires full, round side delts. Winklaar relies on an old standby, lateral raises, which isolate the medial head—but adds his own twist. 

The traditional method is to start at your waist and move up to shoulder height. But by turning the palms up and raising the weights from shoulder height overhead, you can further isolate the muscle, Roelly says. “By doing only traditional side laterals, you end up cheating toward the end by swinging the weight to shoulder height. Starting at shoulder height and moving overhead forces you to keep the muscle tense and work throughout the whole range of motion.” 

He first does traditional laterals for three sets, then overhead laterals for three sets.

HOW TO DO IT: Choose a weight you can handle without swinging it down. Start with your hands at your sides and, with your elbows slightly bent, slowly lift the dumbbells until your arms are parallel to the ground. One mistake to avoid is moving the dumbbells above shoulder height. “Any time you go beyond shoulder height on traditional side laterals, you’re relaxing the muscle,” says Winklaar. 

When you flip your hands around to do overhead laterals, begin with your elbows slightly bent and arms out to the side, then move overhead. You may need to choose a lighter weight when you first try these—they really make the shoulders burn!


These isolate the posterior (rear) delts better than any other movement, with the added beneft of working the rhomboids and traps, thus adding size not only to the delts but to the middle back. “You don’t need to go very heavy on these to feel the muscle burn, especially if you do them with perfect form,” says Winklaar.

HOW TO DO IT: Keep your back flat and, with a weight in each hand, palms facing each other, bend over almost to parallel, so the dumbbells are hanging down and your hands are in a neutral grip. In one smooth motion, lift till your arms are parallel with the foor, then slowly lower the weights in a controlled manner—it’s easy on these to shift the weights forward or backward, cheating yourself out of the purpose of the movement. When you fIrst start these, check your form in the mirror to make sure the weight is coming directly out to your sides. You can also do these seated if standing causes too much strain on your lower back. 


  • Hammer Strength Press | SETS: 2 (warmup) | REPS: 20 | REST: 30 sec
    • Hammer Strength Press | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12 | REST: 1 min
  • Seated Dumbbell Press | SETS: 1 (warmup) | REPS: 20 | REST: 30 sec
    • Seated Dumbbell Press | SETS: 1 (warmup) | REPS: 15 | REST: 1 min
    • Seated Dumbbell Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12 | REST: 2-3 min
  • Lateral Raise* | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12 | REST: 1 min
  • Overhead Lateral Raise* | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12 | REST: 1 min
  • Shrug | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10 | REST: 2-3 min
  • Benover Lateral Raise | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12 | REST: 1 min

* Rest 4-5 minutes between lateral raise and overehad lateral raise.

NOTE: Winklaar rests longer between sets of his heavy exercises and 5-6 minutes between each exercise.


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