We spend hours in the gym squatting, lunging and thrusting in order to attain the infamous, curvaceous hourglass body shape we see in fitness magazines.
The iconic historical shape requires symmetry and proportion, and many of us have failed to acknowledge the impact that proportionate, strong shoulders can have on our shape!
Shoulders or deltoids are the classic symbol of fitness and strength, enhancing the hour-glass figure shape while giving the appearance of a smaller waist and balancing out a thicker lower body.
The deltoid is comprised of three heads: anterior, lateral and rear; therefore, it is crucial to ensure to engage all three heads of the muscle during a workout. This will ensure you avoid muscular imbalances which could result in injury, and to ensure you develop rounded, strong shoulders from all angles.
This workout aims to engage all three heads of the muscle, to assist you tobuild your shoulder strength and as a result, develop some beautiful, sleek shoulders! This requires lifting heavy weight for lower repetitions than perhaps you are used to. A combination of compound exercises and isolated exercises will be performed to maximise the engagement of all three heads of the deltoid and develop a balanced physique.
Ensure you adhere to the following warm up exercises to prevent injury when you begin lifting heavier weights; shoulder joints are delicate, so it is best to get blood flowing to prepare your joints for heavier loads.
Arm Circles: Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 arm circles for each arm
DB Shoulder Press: Perform between 20-30 reps per arm, use a very light weight
Exercises 1: Seated Dumbbell Press
This exercise will be the most challenging of the entire workout. Ensure to really give you maximum effort, and to monitor your progress, record how much weight you lift and repeat this workout weekly!
Ensure you select a weight that enables you to meet the minimum required repitions, but that challenges you to meet the maximum required repetitions. If you are able to meet the maximum amount, increase the weight you are lifting. Ensure to keep the tension on the shoulders at all time, so do not straighten your arms completely at the top of the movement. Bring the weight down so your arms create a 90 degree angle at the completion of the movement.
Set 1: Warm up – 15 Reps
Set 2: Warm up – 12 Reps
Set 3: First working set. Increase your load and select a weight that will allow you to perform 10 Repetitions. The final reps should be difficult to complete.
Set 4: Second working set. Increase your load and select a weight that will allow you to perform 8 Repetitions. The final reps should be difficult to complete.
Set 5: Final working set. Increase your load and select a weight that will allow you to perform 6 Repetitions. The final reps should be difficult to complete.
Exercise 2: Lateral Raises (Drop Sets)
Keep a slight bend in the arm to avoid injuring your shoulder, but make sure the the force is coming from your shoulders, opposed to using your forearms. You should bring your arms upward until they are parallel with the ground, which signifies the top of the movement. A simple trick to engage your shoulders more is to lead with the elbow and point you pinky finger upward at the top of the movement.
A simple trick to engage your shoulders more is to lead with the elbow and point you pinky finger upward at the top of the movement.
Set 1: Warm up – select a weight that easily allows you to perform 20 Repetitions
Set 2: Warm up – 15 Reps
Set 3 – 5 (Drop Sets): Increasing the weight each set, perform between 8 -12 Reps. Immediately using 50% of weight perform 8 – 12 Reps (dropset).
The same rules apply: ensure you select a weight that enables you to meet the minimum required repetitions, but that challenges you to meet the maximum required repetitions. If you are able to meet the maximum amount, increase the weight you are lifting.
Exercise 3: Alternating DB Front Raises ss Plank
To perform Alternating DB Front Raises begin by holding a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip at waist height. Bring the weight in front of you with a slight bend in the arm. The movement finishes when your arm is parallel with the ground. Alternate each arm one at a time and complete the required repetitions for each arm.
Alternate each arm one at a time and complete the required repetitions for each arm. Immediately without rest, place the dumbbells on the ground and position yourself in an abdominal plank (superset).
When planking, place both palms on the ground directly under your shoulder, and position yourself up on your toes. Rock your body forward so that you are baring the weight of your body in your shoulders. Ensure you maintain a strong core to prevent injury to your lower back.
Warm Up: 15 Repetitions of Front Raises (each arm); superset with 30 second plank
Set 1: 12 Repetitions of Front Raises (each arm); superset with 40 second plank
Set 2: 10 Repetitions of Front Raises (each arm); superset with 50 second plank
Set 3: 8 Repetitions of Front Raises (each arm); superset with MAX EFFORT plank
Exercise 4: Cable Upright rows ss Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise
Using a straight bar attachment with the cable at the lowest setting near the ground, grab the bar with an overhand grip starting at the waist. Aim to bring your elbows toward the ceiling with each repetition.
Avoid using your traps or ‘shrugging’ during this movement, and ensure to squeeze your shoulders at the top of the movement, ending just under your chin.
After you have completed the required repetitions, detach the bar and decrease the weight to a very light load. Stand side on the the cable, and take hold of the cable with the arm furthest away from it. Perform the required number or lateral raises before switching to your other arm.
Set 1: Warm up – Perform 15 Upright Rows; superset with 15 Single Arm cable lateral raise.
Set 1: Perform 12 Upright rows; superset with 12 Single Arm cable lateral raise.
Set 2: Perform 10 Upright rows; superset with 10 Single Arm cable lateral raise.
Set 3: Perform 8 Upright rows; superset with AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) Single Arm cable lateral raise.
Exercise 5: Cable Face Pulls ss Bent Over Rear Delt Flye
These exercises are aimed to engage your rear delts, so really attempt to visualise behind your shoulders with the squeeze of each repetition. For the first exercise, use a rope attachment, and set the cable so it is just above eye level with you. Grip the ropes so that you thumbs and index finger are facing toward you (as if you were holding a burger!). Keep your arms parallel to the ground, and pull the ropes toward you at eye level (think back double bicep pose).
Once you have completed this exercise, move immediately into rear delt flyes. Use a light dumbell (3-4kg), and bend over at the waist so your torso is almost parallel to the ground. As opposed to bringing the weight outward, think of creating a ‘V’ shape, and raise your arms slightly closer in toward your body. This ensures you are engaging your rear delts to their full potential. Squeeze when at the top of the movement when your arms are approximately parallel to the ground.
Set 1: Warm up with 12 – 15 repetitions of both exercises
Set 2: First working set – Complete 12 repetitions of Upright Rows and perform AMRAP (as many repetitions as possible) for the flyes
Set 3: Second working set – Complete 10 repetitions of Upright Rows and perform AMRAP (as many repetitions as possible) for the flyes
Set 4: Final working set – Complete 8 repetitions of Upright Rows and perform AMRAP (as many repetitions as possible) for the flyes