T Nation

Side delts 101


#1

I'm just looking for some tips and tricks from people who have been in the iron game for quite some time and have pretty awesome delt development, in terms of making it impossible to mess up side delt training (ie: hitting THEM and NOT front/rear delts or traps)

The info what I've gathered are as follows:

1) Biomechanically speaking, the side delt is put into the least efficient position when the humerus is pronated (ie: it works the hardest this way)

2) and the starting position of side raises should be behind your back, as that's the maximally stretched position of the side head

3) When doing the movement, you should raise it a LITTLE bit above shoulder level so as not to get the traps firing too much (if AT ALL)

4) DO NOT SHRUG THE SHOULDERS during the movement (try to think of reaching to the wall)

5) The strictest way to do the exercise and make it impossible to cheat with your traps is ON AN INCLINE BENCH set at 45 degrees or so

Does anyone else have some things to add to this?


#2

It is impossible to mess up side delt training when you know how to keep them flexed from the bottom and use them to raise the dumbbells to the top position in a side raise.

Everything else is immaterial.


#3

[quote]GetBigs wrote:

  1. Biomechanically speaking, the side delt is put into the least efficient position when the humerus is pronated (ie: it works the hardest this way)[/quote]

The humerus is not involved in pronation.

[quote]
2) and the starting position of side raises should be behind your back, as that’s the maximally stretched position of the side head [/quote]

Two problems here:
a) Starting a resistance movement in the “maximally stretched position” is not necessarily a good thing.
b) Subjecting the shoulder joint to a load when it is hyperadducted risks damage to the joint

I would be very cautious about initiating delt work in the position you’ve described.

[quote]
5) The strictest way to do the exercise and make it impossible to cheat with your traps is ON AN INCLINE BENCH set at 45 degrees or so [/quote]

In fact, the opposite is true. The first 15-30 degrees of abduction are performed by the supraspinatus muscle, not the deltoid. Therefore, incline-bench lateral raises are largely a supraspinatus exercise. Lean-aways (ie, the opposite of incline laterals) probably have a greater claim to the title ‘strictest medial delt exercise.’

Check out this article; it’s an oldie but a goodie:


#4

Can someone help?

I’ve tried all of the possible variations, seated, lying on an incline, behind my back, leaning away, etc…

But it’s always been the anterior delt that started firing and not the side.

When doing side raises, I always feel the front delt working, not the side delt… And I’ve no side delts whatsoever

WTF? I must be an idiot when it comes to this, but I can’t grasp how this could happen? I abduct the shoulder (raise it out to the sides) and I’ve also tried doing it from behind the back as I’ve read that could prevent the arm to be “kinda raised forward” during the movement, but no results in terms of side delt activation…

I also don’t even know where I’m supposed to feel the side delts, where it’s located, no MMC whatsoever

Can someone help? 200% serious


#5

This is why I told you not to do all those funky variations and learn how to FLEX your side delts.

You make the exercise work for you, not the other way around. This shit takes time and practice.

The side delt is right beside your front delt.


#6

[quote]dt79 wrote:
This is why I told you not to do all those funky variations and learn how to FLEX your side delts.

You make the exercise work for you, not the other way around. This shit takes time and practice.

The side delt is right beside your front delt. [/quote]

x2

OP- There’s no point in moving your muscles/joints through a certain range of motion if you can’t even fire/train the muscle. Do some single arm work and touch the muscle as you’re performing the movement to ensure it’s being used. Right now you need active feedback to engage the muscle and later on it’ll become automatic.


#7

[quote]dt79 wrote:
This is why I told you not to do all those funky variations and learn how to FLEX your side delts.

You make the exercise work for you, not the other way around. This shit takes time and practice.

The side delt is right beside your front delt. [/quote]
Okay gotcha

How to flex my side delts? Believe me, I want this shit more than ever because I’m 100% committed to my diet, but I can’t get over the fact that fucking side raises won’t get my side delts fire, even tho I do it in a way that makes sense from a biomechanical standpoint.

How do I flex my side delt? So far I’ve only been able to flex my front delt and probably my rear delt too, but side delt, no unfortunately, and this feeling fucking sucks

Thanks bro

@lift 206: Yeah, I’ve done that, but still no firing of the side delts :S


#8

[quote]GetBigs wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
This is why I told you not to do all those funky variations and learn how to FLEX your side delts.

You make the exercise work for you, not the other way around. This shit takes time and practice.

The side delt is right beside your front delt. [/quote]
Okay gotcha

How to flex my side delts? Believe me, I want this shit more than ever because I’m 100% committed to my diet, but I can’t get over the fact that fucking side raises won’t get my side delts fire, even tho I do it in a way that makes sense from a biomechanical standpoint.

How do I flex my side delt? So far I’ve only been able to flex my front delt and probably my rear delt too, but side delt, no unfortunately, and this feeling fucking sucks

Thanks bro

@lift 206: Yeah, I’ve done that, but still no firing of the side delts :S[/quote]
I already told you in the other thread. I swear sometimes I feel you kids look at all this like everything has a cheat code you can find online. It takes time and practice.


#9

It sounds like you are using your hands to move weights instead of your shoulder. Figure out how to get your hand to move out and to the side using only your shoulder. Once you can do this, add weight. Right now, I think holding weights is just distracting you.


#10

Making sense from a biomechanical standpoint doesn’t always make sense from a practical standpoint.

Grab a pair of heavy DB’s (double your 12 rep max for lateral raises) and stand with your feet together. Your hands should be pronated (palms down). Lean forward just enough that the DB’s don’t touch your legs. Now move them as far out to the sides as you can, and don’t let them touch when you return to the starting position. Focus on keeping your hands PRONATED! It helps to squeeze harder with the pinky finger.

Somewhere around the 20 rep mark, you’re going to start hating me. Around 30, you’re going to want to quit, but get those last five even if the weight’s only moving a half inch. STAY PRONATED AND DON’T LET THE 'BELLS TOUCH!

Now that the screaming is over, turn your attention to your delts. The part that feels like someone stuck a branding iron to it is the lateral head.


#11

BTW, it also helps to count up to 25, and then down from ten. I’m not really sure why.

And I do four sets of these. And then I do four sets lying on an incline bench for rear delts. Yes, I know how horribly it burns. Quit whining and keep moving.