Instant Pump: 5 New Shoulder Supersets

How to Really Build Capped Delts

The pump makes a difference if you want big, rounded shoulders. Here’s how to amp it up and grow massive delts.

Big shoulders are the foundation of a V-tapered body and, when you’re lean, give you the ultimate aesthetic physique. These supersets will get you pumped without beating the snot out of your joints.

Superset 1: Alternating Overhead Press + Face Pull

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Alternating Overhead Press 3 8-10 1 min.
A2. Face Pull 3 12-15 1 min.

The alternating overhead press is basically a unilateral exercise. Single-arm lifts have four benefits:

  1. They expose muscular imbalances. Is one side weaker than the other?
  2. They train your core much harder, improving training efficiency.
  3. They help you build strength by training around a bilateral deficit.
  4. They improve motor unit recruitment and tap into previously untrained stabilizers.

The alternating overhead press allows you to press independently. As a bonus, you’ll smash your obliques simultaneously. With this “alternating” style, your shoulders stay under constant tension, increasing metabolic stress to deliver a wicked pump and muscle-building stimulus.

The face pull is an exceptional complement to the alternating press. It’ll train your rear delts, rhomboids, and external rotators ¬– three common weak points that limit shoulder and “yoke” development and open the door for injuries.

This superset is a great way to kick off your training, so get it in your workout early.

Superset 2: 75-Degree Incline Press + Chest-Supported Dumbbell Row

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. 75-Degree Incline Press 4 10,8,6,15 1 min.
A2. Chest-Supported Dumbbell Row 4 10,8,6,15 1 min.

This superset is another great option to use early in your workout.

The high incline press is an exceptional shoulder-builder that’ll also hit your upper pecs. Most lifters can’t lift overhead and maintain good mechanics, which might cause shoulder issues down the road. The simple switch is to move from an overhead press to a 75-degree incline. This way, you can still build strength and size but with better technique.

The chest-supported dumbbell row is a staple exercise to build a thick upper back and well-rounded shoulders. Set the incline bench anywhere from 45-75 degrees. Allow your shoulders to “round” over the sides of the bench before completing the row.

  • To hit upper back and rear delts harder: Flare your elbows to the side with a pronated grip.
  • To hit lats harder: Tuck your elbows more to your sides.

You can’t go wrong with either variation.

Superset 3: Arnold Press + Isodynamic Lateral Raise

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Arnold Press 3 8-10 1 min.
A2. Dumbbell Isodynamic Lateral Raise* 3 10 1 min.

* For the isodynamic lateral raise, hold the top position on the first rep for 15-20 seconds, then do the rest of the reps.

If you want to build cannonball delts, this is your superset. The Arnold press begins with dumbbells in front and palms facing you. As you press overhead, twist the dumbbells until your palms face away from you at the top.

This additional movement and time under tension brings the medial head of the delt into play, helping you build capped delts. Kicking off this superset with a heavy, compound exercise helps activate more muscle fibers, making the second exercise in this superset – the isodynamic lateral raise – even more impactful.

The isodynamic lateral raise kicks off with a pre-set isometric hold where you hold a position on a lateral raise for 15-20 seconds. After the isometric hold, do 10 reps with a controlled tempo. This brutal superset has time under tension to get your stubborn delts (and particularly the medial delts) to grow.

This combo works well as a secondary exercise within a workout.

Superset 4: Scapular Plane Lateral Raise + Rear Delt Raise + Front Raise

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Scapular-Plane Lateral Raise 3 12
A2. Rear Delt Raise 3 12
A3. Front Raise 3 12 1 min.

If you’re looking for a joint-friendly way to obliterate your shoulders at the end of a training session, you’ve found it. This three-way shoulder raise superset hits all three heads of your delts for faster growth.

The scapular plane lateral raise is a bit different than what you see most gym bros do. The scapular plane is roughly 30 degrees anterior to the mid-frontal plane. That just means the scapular plane lateral raise doesn’t go directly out to the side. It’s slightly in front of your body as well. This is a more direct line of pull with your delts and supraspinatus; it’s better for shoulder growth and health.

The rear delt raise helps add some meat to the backside of your shoulder. One common flaw is squeezing your shoulders together. This takes the load off of your rear delts and puts more stress on your traps and rhomboids. Think about keeping your shoulders protracted or rounded and pushing the weights as far out away from your body as you can.

The front raise will smoke the anterior head. This superset is essentially a mechanical drop set. You start with the variation where you struggle the most and move to the strongest shoulder heads.

Because of the lighter weight and metabolic stress, this superset goes best as a finisher.

Superset 5: Behind-the-Back Cable Lateral Raise + Mid-Thigh Cable Lateral Raise

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Behind-the-Back Cable Lateral Raise 3 12
A2. Mid-Thigh Cable Lateral Raise 3 12 1 min.

The behind-the-back lateral raise puts the medial head of your delts under greater stretch and, therefore, creates a greater contraction when completing the concentric/lifting motion of the rep.

The constant tension and longer range of motion make this a staple for stubborn shoulders. In the video, I’m using a cuff, which works wonders if you’re battling any wrist or elbow discomfort. Otherwise, a regular “D” handle is fine.

The second cable lateral raise begins at the mid-thigh level in front of the body. This variation keeps a ton of constant tension on the medial delt. When paired, these slightly different variations trigger some metabolic stress to get your stubborn shoulders growing again.

Because of the lighter weight and metabolic stress, this superset can also be used as a finisher.

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I’ve never tried this before, but even just putting my arms in the starting position I can feel how this would be very effective. The stretch feels great.

Thanks for this!

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