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Copyright Anita Ramsey

This article was taken from Eclipse's magazine, BodyTalk. Click here if you would like a free copy.

I was looking at a workout from a amateur bodybuilder that was in another magazine, and after reading it twice I thought in amazement so wonder his arms are so small and his weights are not heavy, he trains his shoulders too much. He was doing chest and shoulders twice each, each week. I bet you're thinking that's ok? Sorry, if you know anything about physiology and muscle building the shoulders are involved in every movement that a bodybuilder performs, excluding legs of course. The shoulders are an important component when training chest, back, biceps and triceps. But, shoulders are effected in the squat to a certain degree as well. The bar is pulled behind your shoulder blades this can injure the shoulder girdle very easy, if you're not careful. Ask my husband he tore the rotator cuff doing heavy squats while getting ready for a powerlifting meet. And he is more flexible then I.

So, does that mean stop squatting? No, I'm not saying that. Every exercise has its dangers; heck the CPT exam my work wanted others and myself to take was pathetic. The instructions they had for each exercise were totally WRONG and DANGEROUS! Especially the bench and squat. But, yet, this organization and so many like them get idiots paying them for this certification (my work included) and then idiots, paying those PT's, to train them. I told my boss there is no way I'm instructing people the way this organization says too, they're very wrong, and I'm not getting into trouble for training someone improperly. I explained why and showed him the difference and his comment was "We should have investigated more." No kidding, I told him. Oops, sorry, wrong article. Back to shoulders. So, you want that "V" shape that wide shoulder pad look?

"Defining" the Workout

The shoulders define your "V" taper. There are three heads to the deltoid package, the front, medial and posterior or rear delt. The following is a program that not only packs the beef around your shoulder girdle it will also shape and strengthen them. These shoulder exercises are seated one arm Dumbbell Shoulder Presses, Side Lateral Raise, Bent Over Rear Lateral Raises and Face Pull Through. Here is a brief description with correct lifting technique for each.

The Seated One Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Presses. This exercise is designed to hit all three deltoid heads. Begin by holding the dumbbell behind the shoulder and then press straight up and over head. Finishing with the dumbbell slightly titled. You will be in a slight twist and should where a belt. Lower the Dumbbell behind the shoulder again and repeat. The execution of a rep should be smooth and controlled. Done properly this movement really brings out the shoulder head. Do 3-4 sets, 6-8 repetitions each arm.

The most common shoulder exercise performed in-correctly is Side Lateral Raises. To perform them right, stand with a pair of very light dumbbells in front of your thighs, now turn your thumbs slightly down, so your palms are facing your thighs. Slowly bring the dumbbells up to arms length thumbs pointing down as you raise them up. Bend your elbows 35 degrees tops - this alignment ensures that the resistance is placed directly to the side delts. Now, without changing the position you are in, lower the dumbbell and repeat. You should resemble a huge letter "T." The dumbbells and elbows should not elevate over or under your shoulders. Perform 4 sets of 10 reps.

Bent Over Rear Lateral Raises. Bend over and hold the dumbbells downward (arms are bowed slightly with elbows out). Raise the dumbbells upward and out as high as possible, squeezing your traps and posterior deltoid head. Return the dumbbells to the middle and repeat. Some individuals do these seated. I do. But this movement can be performed in three different positions. Seated, free standing bent over or single arm bending over with your free hand holding on to the dumbbell rack. Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Face Pull Through. Stand in front of a cable pushdown or pull down. You can do these with a straight bar but they are better suited to use a rope. Grasp the rope in each hand stand away from the machine giving yourself some slack raise the rope up and pull the rope back to your face with your elbows pulling towards your back squeezing your shoulder blades together and posterior delts. Do not let the weight stack pull you out of alignment. Keep your back straight throughout the movement, leaning back slightly to keep in a straight alignment. Do very high repetitions with this movement using moderate weight. Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Remember, over training your delts can destabilize your shoulder girdle and joints making you susceptible to injuries. Typically bodybuilders perform an exercise first to strengthen the muscle group and then isolate. With this routine you are immediately shaping and sculpting while strengthening. After only a few weeks on this program and you'll see your look and shape for defining shoulders appear much wider.

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