T Nation

Anterior Deltoid-Dominant Problems


How do I knowif I have anterior deltoid-dominant problems?

I want to do Ian King's 12 Weeks to Super Strength but he has a caution about people with this condition.

Please advice.

Thanks, Rene'


Test by doing the foward head/kyphosis wall test. Stand with your feet about 5 inches away from a wall and your back towards it. Put your head, neck, shoulder blades, butt, wrist and elbows against the wall with your arms directly out to the sides in a "T", elbows bent 90 degrees. If you can't put all of these against the wall at the same time you may have overly developed anterior delts and pectorals. If you can do this, but it is difficult, you may have a slight imbalance. Next you can raise your arms out in a "Y" shape to find further inflexibility in the pectoral anterior delts. The most common area to not touch the wall will be your wrists and elbows, if you have a problem. Neck and head would be the second most common area.


Forgot to add- weak upper spinal erectors and tight upper abdominals can aggrevate the condition.


"...elbows against the wall with your arms directly out to the sides in a "T", elbows bent 90 degrees."

How can my arms be directly out in a T and my elbows bent 90 degrees? If my elbows are bent 90 degrees and my palms are facing the front then I look like a Y not a T. If the palms need to be facing the wall then I can't do the test.

What are procedures to remedy the inbalance?

Thanks, Rene'


Sorry, just upper arms in a "T". Elbows still have to be bent 90 degrees. So basic the "field goal is good" stance. You need to do a lot of chest and anterior delt stretching. You can still work them just make stretching a priority. You also need to add mass to your upper back, mostly your traps, rhomboids, lower/mid traps, posterior delts, and increase isometric strength as well. These are the opposing muscle groups to the pectorals and anterior delts. They will pull your shoulders back.


I just did the 12 Weeks routine for the first time and I almost puked at the end.

My shoulders are significantly weak.

Can you suggest some good exercises for the muscles you mentioned?

Traps = shrugs
Other muscles you mentioned (from http://www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/215weak.html by Don Alessi)

Exaggerated, incline chest fly, pronated grip
Lower trap raises, arms 10 and 2 o'clock
Incline front raise or mid-trap raises
Prone position mid trap raises
Neck, lateral flexion

Or maybe The Big Back Stack or The Power Look (except that I can't do the Power Snatch since I don't have enough height in the basement).

Big Back Stack ==> http://www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/248big2.html
Power Look ==> http://www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/235pow2.html

I was also considering some of the issues that Alessi brings up in ==> http://www.t-mag.com/articles/178bicep2.html about rotators, etc.

Would I do these on Mondays and then the Ian King workout on Wednesday and Friday?

Any help to figuring this out is appreciated.

Thanks, Rene'


Big Back Stack would work but that is going to hit more than just those muscle groups I suggested. Wide grip seated or wide grip bent-over rows will get the mid traps and rhomboids. Seated row to the neck would be a good strength move for the rear delts that uses the traps a little as well. I do something I call center trap shrugs- I sit on the low cable row with a pull up bar and grip it as wide as possible. I then shrug (without elbow flexion) and push my rib cage foward as I do this. It should feel pretty much like a regular shrug but your shoulder blades should be adducting as if to pinch a golf ball in between. Stretch a lot on your pecs and delts before and after you lift. This may reduce some tension and at first your bench may go down a bit. But lengthening the muscle should increase your bench in the long run. For shoulders I suggest doing foward raises using a supinated grip while lying down on a bench. Let your arm fall back as far as possible (to the ground) for a good stretch. You might even do this as a stretch only if you are worried about injurying your shoulders (I suggest starting this way with really light weight). You could also do a weighted stretch in the incline press posistion for the crossover between the pec and anterior delt. This other move is very questionable so I suggest extreme care and either a spotter or the use of that shitty ass machine they call the "smith machine". Get ready to do a behind the neck press but instead of actually lifting just hold the bar while pushing your chest foward. Go really light on this as you could seriously damage your shoulders this way. If you adduct the shoulder blades and even hyper-extend the back a little, then hold, you will definately see some results. But again I caution, this move is a very advanced move used by experianced lifters. The back plank while isometrically contracting the mid traps will help quite a bit as well. You can even isometrically contract the traps driving your car or sitting around at work/ in class. Main thing is to keep youself aware of it at all times. Standing properly, no matter how fatigueing and uncomfortable, will eventually change your posture and correct the imbalance. Did you try the test yet? Make sure you aren't freaking out over nothing before you start all of this. Also, if you have access to a stimulator with tens you could benefit from it greatly. I've used it to force my traps/rhomboids into an extreme isometreic contraction (be careful).


I tried the test and could get everything except the base of my neck and wrists to touch (to get the wrists I have to to touch I have to bend my hands forward).

The other thing that concerns me about doing exercises without a really good underatnding is that I have bad posture and my neck has a "bend" strating at the base which means my head if a bit more forward than it should. I really don't want to make this worse.

Thanks for all your help.