T Nation

Best way to build delts?

I wanted to get some feedback from the experience you guys have had with this. I’ve been working out for many years now (maybe 7 or 8 seriously). I’m 26, 5’11", 203, around 8 or 9% bodyfat right now, can bench 325 for 8, and can do dumbell shoulder presses with the 90’s for 10 reps. I’d say that my best developed body parts are pecs, lats, quads and tri’s. Although my shoulders have gotten much stronger over the years, they never seem to have that nice, round, “capped” look to them. I’ve been trying to add in some more lateral raises (and bent-over laterals), since I’m generally more of a basic, compound movement kind of a guy, but I thought I needed to try something different. I think the laterals have helped a little (and my form is quite strict), but not a lot. Do any of you have any favorite exercises, routines, strategies, etc. that have worked really well for your delts? Thanks in advance.

I know what has worked for me are “Arnold Presses”. I don’t know if you have ever heard of them but the lift actually works all three head to the deltoid and will give you massive shoulders. You can either search for it on the net or check it out in Arnold body building books.

I have found that using super-sets and tri-set of two and three different exercises has really carved out my delts in to three distinct heads. I also am a big believer in “cuban presses” and external rotation exercises. I never fully developed the three-dimensional look to my delts until I became serious about and prioritized posterior delt work. I hope this helps.

Try the Jerry Telle lateral raises described in the April 30, 1999 issue of Testosterone entitled Tellekinetics: A New Way to Train Shoulders. These should make your medial delts rather sore.

If you are thick from front to back then you’re gonna have a harder time building the shoulders. The shoulders have a large variability as far as their muscle fiber type and thus response to training. Some get nothing from heavy weight, compound movement type training…you sound like one of these individuals to me. You’ll probably respond best to supersets, drop sets, down the rack sets, pre-exhaustion, isometric stops and lots of strict time under tension training.

Do Ian Kings delt workout, it kicks ass. For chages of pace throw in some Scott Presses, Neider Presses and Lying One Arm Laterals after your DB or Military Presses. Good luck, outlaw.

There’s an excellent Poliquin delt workout in the T-Mag archives. You should be able to find it with a quick search (I think it was in a QOS article). Worked wonders for me.

The Ian King workout in the recent heavy metal is good. For mass, nothing comes close to seated behind the neck press coupled with an obsession to add 5-10 pounds each workout. For caps on delts, lateral raises but form must be 100% and its rare to see this done properly. Some say lead with the elbows … just make sure the movement is straight up ad down keeping pressure on delts. One arm leaning in holding a machine or leaning back lyig sideways on a bench can help establish the mind muscle connection.

I don’t have any mystical super duper triple giant set with drop combinations to offer, but do have an experience that I could relay. I use 10 sets of 5 reps, avoiding fatigue, avoding any other related movement. For instance, if I wanna blast my shoulders, overhead press, no other pressing motion on that day. Hit it 3x/week for 2 weeks. Got this from Pavel, modified from his bear routine. Found that my tri’s grew as well as my shoulders and my bench nor chest suffered at all. Bench went up. Still did my two sets of deads and chins. good luck. whatever you choose, let us know both what you chose and your results.

OK as a member of the scrawny shoulder club…(damn genetics) I will tell you that for the last 3 or 4 weeks I have had a set of 15 pound DBs on my dresser. Every morning I do one set to failure. Every evening when I am changing…one set to failure…every day. Now it has only been about a month, but I THINK I am seeing results…moreso right after a shoulder workout…I can start to see a cap on the outer head. I think it is more pronounced at that point due to the pump. I will let you know, because if I can grow some shoulders…ANYBODY can!! LOL! Good luck!

Honestly, even though i’m a beginner i still think anybody can benefit well from strict military presses. I really concentrate hard while doing these and i can even feel it hitting my neck a little too. I work shoulders more then once a week though.

Thanks for all your input. Behind the neck pressed are out for me (they put too much strain on my shoulder joints), but I’m going to consider everyone’s advice and map out a new shoulder program shortly. I’ll let you know. Thanks again.

Sounds like your pressing strength is fine, but you make no mention of pulling movements. My mid and rear delts started taking off after concentrating on high seated, machine rows, with wide grip. You need a machine with a chest pad so you can really concentrate on pulling hard. The exact opposing movement of flat bench press. When you can pull as much as you can press, your delts should be great. Good luck.