T Nation

Deltoids: How to Develop Them?

I’ve read most articles on developing them, but I can’t seem to get any. my anterior deltoids are ok, but lateral and posterior are pathetic…

how do i make the visible? :slight_smile:

thank you

Press, Push Press, Push Jerk…dumbell press, push press, ect. Done heavily.

Aside from reading articles, what have you DONE to develop them? And for how long?

christian just wrote an article on this less than a week ago…check it out

Yes, the CT article was wonderful. I plan to apply some of his methods in my next bulking phase. I would highly suggest reading it and apply it. Personally, I have used the push press and lateral raises and they are very effective. As for the posterior delts, rowing movements are good. I use the cable cage and sit on an upright bench in the middle of it and row with the tricep rope attachment up to my ear and spread the rope. It really hits the posterior delts well. Also consider slowing down the eccentric portion of many of the lifts because it may help increase the hypertrophy of that muscle. A lot of shoulder exercises are down very fast.

Hey Deuce: Is that a syracuse or virginia face-off I see under your name? Good to see some lax players or lax fans around here.


Don’t focus on isolation movements. Work compound movements like the push press, dumbbell incline press or even dips. I found my shoulder development improved considerably when I added heavy dips to my lifting regiment.

I found that the indirect approach works the best for me. Do you deadlift? Heavy deads have done more for my shoulders than any other exercise. Rows, chins, face pulls, and weighted dips have helped a lot too.

Are you guys paying attention? He HAS front delts. Sure, let him push press, who needs what you can’t see in a mirror.

Sham, barbell row. That’s it. It doesn’t have to heavy; do sets of 15 reps, quick on the up, hard pause and contraction at the top, slow on the down. Vary the grip. Four sets plus warmups.

The closest you’ll get to isolating the mid-delts (that aren’t lateral raises) are behind-the-neck military presses and barbell/cable machine upright rows. Drop the weight, up the volume, same technique as above. Don’t rush it or you’ll tear up a shoulder.


To really hit your shoulders fully you are going to need to do the isolation exercises that most people are anti. Lateral raises (lean aways especially) are very useful for the medials and bent overs raises are essential for the posterior delts. You can use cables for increased range of motion or do the bent overs with your head on a bench as this really stops you using your lower back to assist.

first of all, thank you for your replies!

this is what i do for lateral and rear deltoid heads (just to name them):

  1. upright rows
  2. rope pulls to face
  3. lateral raises (std. and lean away)
  4. deadlifts (someone was asking for this)
  5. military presses (front and back)

those are some of the things i do. i try to do them quite often, hitting them about 2-3 per week depending on my motivation.

my bodyfat % isn’t amongst the lowest, perhaps i should try reducing that as well…


Bent press is a great shoulder exercise!
if you want to build muscle, don’t cut down. You want see any shoulder improvement if you are on a calorie restricted diet.

Agree with KnightRT

For rear delts bent barbell rows.

Lean about 30% past perpendicular, knees slightly bent, butt out, chin up (i.e neutral back position).

Barbell just above your knees.

Bring the barbell to your torso. I like to bring the barbell to just below the sternum (i.e. a straight line up from the knees). Some like the belly button or lower abs. Should not really matter just what you feel good with.

Pause for a count (1, 2 whatever). For the rear delts this is the most important step as the rear delts only really contract at the top of the movement.

Lower the barbell back to your knees.

As for reps I use (depending on how I feel) between 3 heavy or up to 10 light.

For the rear delts the pause at the torso is the most important. You could even do singles with a 5 or 10 second isometric pause at the torso to fry the rear dealts. CT describes these in his power look article (in the warm up complex).

1)“Shoulders Overhaul”, CT, 06.23.04.
2)“The Power Look”, CT, No 235.
4)In general the row movements hit the rear deltoids.

I will reiterate since nobody seems to do these and shamrock doesn’t have them on his list.

Bent over raises with dumbbells and cables really hits the posterior delts. Brace your head on the back of a bench set on incline.

I find that rows involve too much of my traps and rhomboids as they are well developed from deads and oly lifting.