Focusing On Side Deltoids

The rotating Dumbbell press truly does hit all three deltoid heads. That’s what makes it so wonderful, but to target the king of all three deltoid heads (the side deltoid) you’ve got to focus on side deltoid raises and what I’m about to tell you is the very best method of doing it. It helps a lot if you have dumbbells with a certain design.

What Kind Of Dumbbells?

No-one makes dumbbells that can hold a candle to the ones made by Hoggan Health Equipment or Hampton Fitness. I won’t be able to go into a lot of details about what makes them so great but … without a doubt … the “Hour Glass” handle, the ideal diameter and length are their best features.

Surprisingly the movement for building each of the three heads is very similar but … the amount of special attention is quite different. For example, you will be giving the side and rear deltoids most of the direct work because the frontal deltoid gets worked while doing standing presses, bench presses, dips, etc. But the side and rear deltoid heads don’t get worked unless you focus attention on them.

You Need A Mirror For This One

“This is the standing side deltoid raise”.

Even the clothing is important on this exercise because it helps if you can see the deltoids in action so you know when you are doing it correctly.
That’s why you should do this exercise without a shirt or at least with a tank top while standing in front of a mirror. This is important … because you need to see the rear deltoids flex in the mirror at the top of the exercise. Seeing the movement in the mirror is the key to getting the correct form. Okay lets walk through it once.

Stand facing the mirror, grasp the dumbbells with the little finger side of the hand pressed hard against the inside plate of the dumbbell.

How To Keep Your Traps From Ruining Everything

Now the hard part. You’ve got to raise the dumbbells out to the side and just high enough to see the rear deltoids flex in the mirror without flexing the traps. If you flex the traps by lifting the shoulders rather than lifting the elbows you are going to build traps. Once the traps get stronger than the deltoids you can kiss a great set of dels goodbye because the traps will insist on doing all the work. Once this happens … they start to bully everything and the deltoids just set back and let them do it.

The best way to keep the traps from getting into the action is to cheat just a little at the top of the exercise. Let’s start over and go through it again with a little more detail.

Stand facing the mirror. Bend over slightly at the waist. Hold one dumbbell over the other with the thumbs ends of the dumbbells facing the mirror. Before you start to raise the dumbbells, “bob” down a little with the upper body to give a slight assist in helping to raise the dumbbells. Right at the top of the movement … “bob” the upper body again to keep the traps out of the picture. You should see the rear deltoids flex in the mirror. The dumbbells should go no higher than the shoulders.

It helps if you think of the dumbbell handles as full of water and right at the top of the exercise you just dump a little water out of the handle.

“This is the top of the standing side deltoid raise”.

Again, you need to be able to see the rear deltoids flex while watching them in the mirror. Be careful you don’t lift the shoulders. Just lift the arms. This is a fantastically effective exercise for building side deltoids … If you do it right.

Use plenty of chalk. You’ll want a very firm grip on the dumbbells because the key to using more weight on this exercise is the power you can transfer from the forearms to the deltoids. You have to control the dumbbells with the forearms. If you just swing them like pendulums you won’t get near the benefit. You have to control the dumbbell all the way up and all the way down. You want all the stress transferred directly to the side deltoid head which packs that beautiful size way out on the shoulders.

How to make Your Delts So Thick You can have A Picnic On Them

Bent Over Dumbbell Raises To The Rear … are a lot easier to learn than the either Db presses or side lateral raises, but you’re still trying to get that same “elbows back and the wrists forward movement. It’s this feature that forces the elbows to stay in the arc that builds huge delts.

In fact, you can do all three of the above dumbbell shoulder exercises with heavy weight without wiping out your shoulders. Whereas if you do presses with a barbell you’ll be lucky if you can do it for two weeks without some joint pain sneaking into your workout.

You can do this with your head resting on the dumbbell rack or you can just bend over at the waist until your upper body is parallel with the floor. It takes a lot more oxygen if you don’t rest your head on the rack however. (fold up a towel to cushion your head)

Again … grab the dumbbells with the little finger side of your hand smack up against the inside plate of the dumbbell. You need chalk on this exercise because you want to maintain a real firm grip on the dumbbell throughout the exercise. Don’t just swing it like a pendulum … maintain control throughout the exercise. If you’re bending over and watching yourself in the mirror you should be seeing your rear deltoids work like crazy.

Sets and Reps

Do 6 reps drop the weight 5 lbs and go immediately on to the next set until you have completed 6 sets of 6 reps on each of these exercises. Don’t rest between sets. Rest only between different exercises.


I believe this is the best deltoid routine you’ll find anywhere. I’ve a taught lot of guys and to a man they say. “This is the best shoulder routine I’ve ever done.”

You’ll be saying the same thing once you get the hang of it.

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