The shoulders are quite difficult muscles to develop. Some people say it's easy to build their chest and arms however they want, but it's less obvious when it comes to the deltoid. If you are looking for a good way to build a large deltoid muscle, you need to do exercises that isolate and specifically target that part of the body. You need to work it until exhaustion and adjust your training routine to strengthen your shoulders early in the week, when you are well rested.
Method 1 of 3: Do specific exercises
Step 1. Do dumbbell presses
The sitting or standing shoulder press is one of the most effective exercises for working the 3 parts of the deltoid muscle. You can do this with a barbell or dumbbells, but dumbbells are still the best way to isolate your shoulders.
- To do a dumbbell shoulder press (also called a military bench press), assume a stable sitting or standing position with the weights just above your chest height. Your hands should go slightly past your shoulders.
- In a slow, controlled motion, stretch your arms upward, straightening your elbows to lift the loads above your head. Then lower the loads, still in a slow, controlled motion.
- Start with 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions and then gradually increase the loads as you build muscle strength. The goal is to work the shoulders until exhaustion.
Step 2. Increase your range of motion with the Arnold press
The Arnold press requires full shoulder rotation, which will help you build strength with the full range of motion of your shoulders. Start with the dumbbells just above your chest height, with your palms facing your body.
- Lift the weights as you did with the shoulder press, but while raising your arms above your head, rotate the dumbbells. Halfway through, they should be parallel on either side of your body. At the very top of the movement, they will be in the same position as when you started, with the only difference that your palms will now be facing forward.
- Repeat the exercise in reverse to lower the loads in a slow, controlled motion. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps to start.
Step 3. Try the side raises with dumbbells
Lateral raises with dumbbells are commonly used to isolate and develop the deltoid muscle. You can do them while seated or standing, but like other press exercises, it is easier to do them sitting than standing.
- Start with your arms at the sides of your body. Then lift the weights up to or just above your shoulders before lowering them in a slow, controlled motion. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.
- Be careful not to increase the loads too quickly for this exercise. Although you can do this gradually over time, it is generally recommended to increase the repetitions before increasing the loads.
Step 4. Add rotator cuff rotations
To prevent shoulder injuries, you can strengthen the rotator cuff with rotations. This exercise should be performed with a cable machine and at the end of each session.
- To internally rotate, grasp the cable with the arm closest to the machine. Keep your elbow bent at 90 degrees then pull the cable towards your stomach.
- To externally rotate, grasp the cable with the arm furthest from the machine and then reverse, rotating your arm outward, away from your stomach.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions. The load should be heavy enough that your muscles are tired at the end of the exercise.
Step 5. Do spreads while lying on an incline bench
The bench spreads are a dumbbell exercise that works the deltoid muscle. Start by lying face down on an incline bench. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing inward and facing each other. Lift your arms forward until they are in front of you and perpendicular to the bench.
- While exhaling, lift the loads until your arms are extended out to either side of your body like wings. Contract your shoulder blades during the movement.
- While inhaling, slowly lower the loads back to the starting position. Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Step 6. Target your shoulders with the vertical pull
Grab a pair of overhand dumbbells, keeping your hands just a little less than your shoulder width apart, your elbows bent slightly, and your back straight. The dumbbells should rest on your upper thighs.
- Exhale and lift the dumbbells, pulling your elbows up and out until the loads are just under your chin. Your elbows should be higher than the rest of your arms. Stay a second in this position.
- Then inhale as you slowly lower the dumbbells back to your starting position. Start with 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Step 7. Focus on compound movements
Compound movements that target more than one joint generally work best over time. These are all chest and back exercises that involve the shoulders and elbows.
- Even if your goal is to develop the lateral bundle of the deltoid, it is equally important to work the other 2 parts of this muscle (the anterior bundle and the posterior bundle) as well as the supporting muscles in the arms, chest and chest. top of the back.
- The Arnold press is an example of a compound exercise because it uses 2 joints (elbows and shoulders). It works the shoulders, but also the supporting muscles in the arms and the upper back.
Step 8. Work your triceps
To develop the deltoid, you need to be able to work your muscles to the point of exhaustion. If your triceps aren't strong enough, they'll let go before your shoulders reach the point of muscle fatigue. This is why it is essential to develop the strength of the triceps to strengthen the shoulders. Forearm extensions with a dumbbell, bust bent forward, are the perfect exercise for working the triceps.
- Get on all fours on the floor or stand next to a weight bench with one knee on the bench and one foot on the ground. Keep your back as flat as possible and grip the load with your upper arm parallel to your body and your elbow bent 90 degrees.
- Push the load back by stretching your elbow until your entire arm is parallel to your body. Rotate your palms so that they are facing upwards, then return to your starting position in a slow, controlled motion. Start this exercise with 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Step 9. Use dumbbells instead of a barbell
When it comes to developing shoulders, dumbbells often work best. They are harder to control than bars and have a longer range of motion, which allows the entire muscle to be worked.
You can also alternate the 2 by doing the same exercises with dumbbells and then with a bar later in the week
Method 2 of 3: Design a workout routine
Step 1. Do not do more than 100 repetitions per session
You should not do all of the exercises listed here in one session, otherwise you risk injuring your shoulders. Instead, choose a few exercises and do not do more than 100 repetitions of all exercises per session.
Do not go too fast. Shoulder injuries often heal slowly and cause pain that can last for years
Step 2. Work your shoulders early in the week
If you want to build a large deltoid muscle, you should do the exercises that target your shoulders during the first session after your day off. This is when you are coolest and most rested.
If you are well rested, your training will have more impact when you work your shoulders to exhaustion. You will continue to work on them throughout the week as you engage them in other exercises
Step 3. Do shoulder presses twice a week
Since this specific movement is not reproduced in any other exercise, you can do shoulder presses twice a week. Give yourself a few days of rest between each session.
Step 4. Work the entire muscle group
While your goal is to primarily build the lateral deltoid bundle, you need to balance your shoulder development. This is why you should do exercises that work all 3 parts of the deltoid, as an imbalance can cause pain and injury.
- Before you start to build your shoulders, you need to learn the anatomy of that part of the body to know how the muscles work together.
- The lateral deltoid bundle is the specific part that you want to build muscle. It sits on the top of the shoulder. The anterior bundle is located at the front of the shoulder, near your chest, while the posterior bundle is located at the back.
Step 5. Pay attention to the feeling in your shoulders
When exercising your chest and back, you should pay attention to how you feel in your shoulders. Since the shoulders are strained during exercises that target these body parts, you can easily overwork them if you don't give them enough rest. If you feel they are really tired, reduce the intensity of your exercise to allow them to recover.
Method 3 of 3: Adopt the right posture
Step 1. Emphasize technique over load
No matter what exercises you do, you will build muscle faster by performing the right movements rather than stacking the weights. Over time, improperly performed exercises end up causing pain and injury.
- If you exercise indoors, have a trainer or experienced weightlifter judge your posture before you develop bad habits.
- Even if you plan to work out at home, you will still need a personal trainer or an experienced friend to judge your technique, especially if you are starting new exercises.
Step 2. Check your grip
If you are lifting a barbell rather than dumbbells, the location of your hands will determine which muscles are engaged.
- Maintain a wider grip on the bar with your hands slightly wider than your shoulder width apart.
- If your grip is narrow (hands closer together), you won't isolate the deltoid, as the muscles in your arms, upper back, and chest will do most of the work.
Step 3. Enlist the help of a spotter
As the loads get heavier, you are more likely to injure yourself if your muscles ever let go and you need to put the weight down. A spotter can help you in case of muscle fatigue during an exercise.