Limited delts are no accident. 3D shoulders take years of pressure, coupled with a tireless volume of isolation work. Try this brutal giant set to destroy your shoulder plateau.
Here is what to do
Complete in the order without a break between exercises:
- Lateral lifting
- Alternating front elevation
- Sitting bent over to the side
- Dumbbell upright row
- Seated dumbbell shoulder press
Choose a dumbbell weight that will allow you to do the five exercises in sequence with no rest between exercises. (The order allows different deltaheads, some resting while others working.) At the end of your workout, do 1
Longer rest periods are required for several sets. So take 2-5 minutes between the giant sets to attack each round with full intensity.
When you get tired, hip or leg propulsion will tempt you to gain momentum. Keep body English to a bare minimum to keep tension in your delts and make sure you are using the correct load on the giant set.
If you can raise your arms by the end of the set, walk a little harder on the next round. If at any point you had to cheat your form, the next round you will get easier. Just keep it strict.
Do you have technical questions? Here’s a deeper dive into each of these lifts.
1. Lateral lifting
Raise the dumbbells from your sides to shoulder level without rocking your hips. The ego lifting by these sets defeats the purpose of accumulating extreme mechanical tension and metabolic stress.
Make sure to keep your traps down as you lift the weights to maximize delt focus. Your upper traps help, and you can’t isolate them from exercise, but try to limit how much they take on.
2. Alternating front elevation
Lift each dumbbell from your side to between your shoulder or eye level and alternate arms. The hand position can be overhand, underhand or neutral, depending on personal preference or to avoid joint problems.
3. Sitting bent over to the side
Sit on a bench with your feet forward and your chest on your knees. Raise the dumbbells so that they are no longer touching under your legs at shoulder level and away from you. Slide your shoulder blades forward at the bottom and pull them back at the top. You should feel your posterior delts working, as well as your middle traps and rhomboids.
The angle of your movement can vary from slightly in front of or slightly behind your shoulders, as long as you feel like your rear delts are doing most of the work.
4th dumbbell upright row
Start with the dumbbells resting in front of your quads. Focus on raising them toward you with your palms. Raise with your shoulders but guide with your hands. Let your elbows follow your wrists.
Not everyone will tolerate this exercise, especially if it is held high and firmly under your chin. Therefore, let the dumbbells follow the path that is most comfortable for your shoulder joint while maintaining tension on your delts.
You can hold the dumbbells at the level of your upper chest and sweep them apart as you lift. You should feel tension throughout your shoulder and upper traps. If you can’t tolerate variations here, drop them off the set and make an extra giant set to turn up the volume.
5. Seated dumbbell shoulder press
After the previous exercises, you don’t need any heavy dumbbells. Find the best pressure angle for your shoulders and work your way through a range of motion that is below the shoulder cavity below, all the way to the locked elbows above. Control the weights throughout the movement. Your shoulders should be fried by the end.
Take whatever rest you need to attack the next set. Throw 2-3 rounds of this giant set into your shoulder workout every few weeks to break up your high volume routine.
Related: Stubborn Delts – The High Voltage Solution
Related: The V-Taper Workout