Work on your arms and you get big arms. Work on your abs and you get a nice six-pack. Work on your shoulders, though, and your whole physique benefits. You’ll get width to build the top of your V-taper, add pop to your upper arms, and start looking like a superhero.
- Thought You Were Done Pressing? Do It Again!
Most lifters do overhead presses at the start of their shoulder routine, when their strength and energy levels are at their peak. However, for some stellar shoulders go a step beyond and follow up those initial presses with more sets later in the workout, after some dedicated lateral-head work. But, the second time, do them on a machine instead of with free weights.
Using barbells and dumbbells takes balance and coordination, both of which you have plenty of when you start your workout. As fatigue sets in you might still be able to do the reps, but can you keep the bar, or the dumbbells balanced? Can you maintain your form? Probably not.
The machines will provide the stability you’ll need at this point in a tough workout.
This technique of pressing twice gives you the best of both worlds: maximum strength and mass-building benefits, and a more isolated hit of your side deltoids.
- Hit Laterals Again on An Off Day
Getting in more than one full shoulder workout every 5-6 days is probably a bad idea. After all, you still work your front deltoids on chest day and your rear deltoids on back day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little bit of extra work on your medial delts during the week.
It really doesn’t matter which body part day you do your bonus laterals on. Just make sure you don’t do them 48 hours before or after your dedicated shoulder training day. It’ll only add a few minutes to your workout, and, in return, you might see some very notable improvements.
- Add A Twist to Upright Rows For More Medial Action
Lateral raises are a great way to work the medial deltoids—and so are upright rows. Use a barbell or dumbbells, but instead of pulling straight up, follow a movement plane that arcs up away from and then back into your body. Think of it as if you’re trying to pull the weight up and over your shoulders.
Use a wide, but not super wide, grip for this variation. You’ll know when you’ve found your sweet spot when you feel your side delts pumping and burning. If you feel it more in your traps, your hands are too close together.
- Lifting—Especially Lifting Heavy—Deserves Respect
Unless you wreck your shoulders, you never realize how much you use them to assist with and stabilize most other exercises.
That is why you need to respect your shoulder joints and the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage in and around them. Always warm up and do the rotator cuff strengthening exercises most people skip. And, most importantly, constantly pay attention to good form. Never give in to the urge to show off or do “stunt” lifts or test your 1RM regularly. The hypertrophy range of 8-12 reps per set is all most of us need for big, healthy shoulders.
Give lifting the respect it deserves and you’re one day closer to the kind of V-taper that turns heads.