I promised I would give you more details about how to build these “beautiful” areas so let’s start with Deltoids.
We’ve got three deltoid heads. To make it easy, lets just call them front, side and rear deltoids. Then we don’t have keep juggling all those long names. Surprisingly the movement for building each of the three heads is very similar.
Use a down the rack (DTR) method. 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. Side and rear deltoids should get most of the direct work because the frontal deltoid head gets worked all the time.
Bench presses, dips etc. all work frontal deltoid. But almost nothing works the side and rear heads so you have to focus most of your attention on them.
Building The Side lateral Head
Of all the exercises for the body, the ones using dumbbells to build side lateral deltoids are the hardest to get right but … once you get the proper form, your delts will grow. I’m not kidding either. Francis Benfatto’s deltoids grew like crazy and his unique deltoid shape became the envy of his competitors once he learned this ingenious training technique.
You Need A Mirror For This One
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 form, right. 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 will build traps. Once the traps get stronger than the deltoids you can kiss a great set of delts goodbye because the traps 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. I assume some of this makes sense to you so I’m going to keep at it.
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 thumb ends of the dumbbells facing the mirror.
The following is a “two bob” process. Before you start to raise the dumbbells, “bob” down a little with the upper body to give your self a slight assist to help start raising the dumbbells.
Right at the top of the movement … bob the upper body again … to keep the traps out of the picture. Right at the top of the exercise, you should see the rear deltoids flex in the mirror. If you can’t see the rear deltoids flex, you are either standing up too straight … lifting the dumbbells with the thumb side of the dumbbells higher than the little finger side or you are not cheating a little on top. Any one of these errors will keep you from building the “beauty” in your deltoids. Remember, the dumbbells should go no higher than the shoulders.
It helps if you think of the dumbbells handles as full of water and right at the top of the exercise you just dump a little water out of the handle.
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.
I know it’s tough to get it just from these words but … the rewards are more than worth the effort.
The Key Is In The Forearms
I just thought of something. Use plenty of chalk on your hands. You 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.
I know it sounds strange. But you have to control the dumbbells with the forearms. If you are just swinging 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. If you do it just right, all the stress is transferred directly to the side deltoid head which adds that wonderful width to the shoulders while it’s building those jaw dropping cannon balls.
Using a Frontal Deltoid Exercise to build Side And Rear Deltoids Also
Remember, I said, bench presses, dips etc. all work frontal deltoid. But almost nothing works the side and rear heads so you have to focus most of your attention on them? Here’s how you can build side and rear deltoids even while you are building frontal deltoids.
Let me outline some of the equipment you need in order for this thing to work. You’re going to say, “Picky, Picky”. But when I try to do this in a gym that doesn’t have these little details it just doesn’t work.
So … let that be your guide.
The dumbbell rack needs to be just high enough that you can lean over, off balance into it. It should hit you about at the crotch line. Actually, this isn’t too critical. It could hit you anywhere around this area and it will still work. But you do have to lean off balance to get the movement right.
Grab a pair of dumbbells. A little light at the beginning so you can get the correct movement. Oh, before I forget. You should be facing a mirror as well. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height with the little finger higher than the thumb. This places all the stress on the deltoids rather than the triceps. Keep the dumbbells in this position throughout the movement.
Press the dumbbells overhead … not to “lock out position” but, just through a range of movement that is only the middle 3/5s of the exercise.
I don’t know how to tell you this but, you don’t actually press the dumbbells. You press the elbows. Sounds crazy but … let me explain. You see … your deltoids don’t give a hoot what is happening to either the dumbbells or your wrists but they do care what is happening to your elbows.
It’s the arc of the elbows that the shoulders are aware of. Press the elbows so that, if possible, they would touch up somewhere behind the back of your head. I’ve got to get you to see this clearly or you’re not going to build that beauty in the deltoids you want.
Let’s try again. The dumbbells start out with the palms facing the mirror … Not facing each other. You’ll be tempted to start having them face each other because it helps you get this part of the motion down easier but … don’t do it … because it makes the eccentric part of the exercise more difficult.
Okay let me repeat … press the elbows up and behind as high as you can … trying to keep the arc that would have the elbows touch together behind the head. Actually, neither the dumbbells nor the elbows go very high. It’s probably not even the middle 3/5s but more like the middle 2/5’s of the exercise.
Okay now for the lowering part of the press.
Once you get the elbows in the top position … Slowly lower the dumbbells, at the same time try to keep them as wide as possible. All the time keeping the little finger side of the dumbbell higher than the thumb side. Okay that’s it!
I’ve got to tell you more about lowering the dumbbells.
As you lower the dumbbells … Try to stretch out and get them as wide as possible. (Remember to keep the little finger side of the dumbbell higher than the thumb side). This places all stress right directly on the side deltoid head.
You will not believe the fire you are going to feel in your outer delts. In fact, it feels so good just writing about it … makes my mouth water. And it just so happens tonight is my deltoid night. I can’t wait.
Bent Over Dumbbell Raises
Okay, let’s finish off with Bent Over Dumbbell raises to the rear. This exercise is a lot easier to do than the other two, 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 will not cause shoulder inflammation.
In fact, you can do all of these 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 ugly joint pain sneaking into your workout.
Let me finish with bent over dumbbell raises to the rear. 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 so I recommend doing them with your head resting on the rack. (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 your hands on both of these exercises 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. This is another one you want to use DTR (heavy to light). 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.
That’s it for Pivot point # 1 Deltoids. See you next time for Pivot Point # 2.