Sculpt a Pair of Stunning Shoulders with this Routine

Apr 14 07:48 2009 Sandra Prior Print This Article

Take your shoulder training to the next dimension.

I've been training shoulders twice a week for about 18 months and have noticed some real improvement. I've always had broad shoulders from playing sports,Guest Posting but the twice-weekly workouts have helped develop and separate the muscles, giving me nice shape and definition.

Well-developed shoulders make a competitor stand out, so every time I train I make sure I hit my front, middle and rear deltoids with at least one exercise each. I want my shoulders to look great no matter which side of me is facing the judges.

I like to superset dumbbell front raises and lateral raises to really burn out my deltoids. Typically I do this superset during my competition prep to exhaust and carve detail into the muscles.

Sometimes I feel as though my front deltoids get neglected. I train chest only once every couple of weeks, so to keep a nice balance within the shoulder I try to isolate or target the front deltoids at least once per workout.

I change my shoulder routine every 3-4 weeks - to keep progressing. I do everything from overhead barbell presses to Smith machine presses to all different kinds of lateral raises - anything to shake things up and keep it interesting.

This shoulder workout is just one example of how I train deltoids. I do a wide variety of shoulder exercises to keep the muscles guessing. Don't get into a rut of always doing the same thing in the gym.

Bent Over Lateral Raise

Target: Rear deltoids

Start: Stand with your feet together and hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in. Bend from your hips with a flat back until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Allow your arms to hang straight down from your shoulders towards the floor. Bend your elbows slightly and tighten your abs.

Execution: Raise the weights out to your sides, leading the motion with your elbows. When your arms come parallel to the floor, slowly lower them back to the start.

Tip: A lot of people allow the dumbbells to track backward and end up using their back more than their rear deltoids. Keep those weights in your peripheral vision to maintain proper form.

Lateral Raise

Target: Middle deltoids

Start: Stand erect with your feet together and hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in. Bend your elbows slightly. 

Execution: Raise the weights out to your sides, maintaining the bend in your elbows and moving slowly to avoid using momentum. When the weights come to shoulder height, reverse the motion and slowly lower them back to the start position.

Tip: I like to do this move in addition to cable laterals because the dumbbells provide a different result.

Dumbbell Front Raise

Target: Front deltoids

Start: Stand erect with your feet together and hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing your body.

Execution: Raise both arms simultaneously in front of you, keeping them straight and your neck relaxed. Raise the weights to slightly above shoulder level, then slowly return to the start position, resisting the pull of gravity on the way down.

Tip: Keep your abs tight and avoid rocking backward when lifting the weights to the front. If you swing your arms or use your back during the move, you're lifting too heavy.

One Arm Cable Lateral Raise

Target: Middle deltoids

Start: Attach a D-handle to the low-pulley cable on a crossover machine. Grasp the handle in your left hand and stand about 2 feet away with your right side towards the stack, feet together. Bring your left hand in front of your left thigh and bend your elbow slightly. Place your right hand on your hip for balance.

Execution: Keeping your body steady, slowly raise the cable handle up and out to your side, your elbow locked in a slight bend, until it reaches just higher than shoulder level. Pause for a moment at the top, then slowly return to the start position.

Tip: Form is everything with this move. I use a light weight and go slowly - three seconds to lift, two to lower.

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press

Target: All heads, emphasis on front and middle heads

Start: Sit erect on a low-back seat or upright bench and hold a pair of dumbbells at ear level, wrists and elbows in line, palms facing forward.

Execution: Press the weights up, bringing them towards each other overhead until your arms reach full extension without locking out. Slowly lower the weights back to the start.

Tip: Don't bring your elbows too low. People tend to bounce the weights back up when they come too low, exposing themselves to injury. Keep your elbows close to a 90-degree angle in the bottom position.

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Sandra Prior
Sandra Prior

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at

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