Like Hoss

Fouad “Hoss” Abiad knew he wanted to be a bodybuilder when he attended his first bodybuilding event, the 2000 Toronto Pro. The pro portion of the show was dominated by such bodybuilding legends as Markus Rühl (who won) and future Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson (runner-up), but it was the amateur part of the contest that stoked Abiad’s competitive fire. “A friend of mine, who I worked with at a bar, was competing,” remembers Abiad. “He was 220 or something like that, and I just thought it was crazy that he was up there, and I wanted to do it.”

A year later he did, winning his class and the overall at his first show, the Windsor Cup. Years later, this Windsor, Ontario, resident is a successful IFBB Pro League athlete who now stages the annual rendition of the first show he competed in and won. How’s that for coming full circle?

Abiad’s combination of shape, size, and shredded-to-ribbons condition has brought him a move up in the standings and his round, full deltoids have aided this progression.

Let’s follow Hoss through a typical delt workout to see how he continues to add size and shape to his already impressive shoulders.

Click NEXT PAGE to see Fouad Abiad‘s delt workout! >>


There are two shoulderFL05146_2014-2wtmrk routines Abiad likes to mix up over the weeks and months of training. The one outlined here involves two pressing movements, with isolation exercises following. Other times, Abiad will start with a pressing motion, segue to two or three isolation movements, then end with another press.

By the time he arrives at the gym ready to train his shoulders, Abiad has three to four meals in him. His body is in a nutritionally rich state, primed for the workout to come. If he trains delts and traps together (many times he for goes traps) the workout will last an hour and 10 minutes.  “As I’ve gotten older, I train more cautiously,” he says. “I can’t throw around the weight the way I used to, and I don’t need to. Every movement is pretty controlled.” Hoss is building his body, not his ego or his one-rep max. As a result, his deltoids have remained injury-free.


How much rest does Abiad take between sets? “There’s not a lot of sitting around,” he says. “I know a lot of guys feel the longer you wait between sets, the stronger you’ll be, but the other side to that is, the faster you train, the more of a pump you can get in the muscle. My partner goes, then I go. We’re not sitting around shooting the sh—t. I wear headphones, so we don’t even talk.”


At this point in his career, Abiad doesn’t train traps with shoulders as much as he used to. Nowadays he’ll couple the two in a workout maybe every other month.

“I don’t like to do shrugs withFL05147_2014-1wtmrk machines,” he says. “I don’t feel you can handle enough weight. My own idea is that your traps need to be seriously overloaded and that they can handle the weight because the range of motion is so limited.”

After they’ve done 4 sets of dumbbell shrugs, Abiad and his partner end their workout with a final 4 sets of barbell shrugs, lowering the reps each set as they add a plate. Sometimes they go as high as six 45-pound plates on each side of the Olympic barbell or “whatever we can do that day.”


“I don’t like to do a lot of free weights in one workout,” Abiad admits. “So whether I do these with dumbbells or at the cable station alternating arms depends on what my rear-delt exercise is going to be. If I’m going to do bentover dumbbell laterals next, then the standing laterals will be with a cable or a machine.”

Click NEXT PAGE to see the rest of Hoss’s delt workout! >>


 “I started doing this exercise only a month ago,” Abiad says, “and I love it.” He’d seen MMA fghters and guys in the gym doing it, and decided to try it out.

What he found was an effective way to isolate his front deltoids and stimulate his shoulders. Abiad will do four warmup sets with a 25-pound plate, a 45-pound plate, a 45- and a 25-pound plate, and two 45-pound plates before launching into his three heavy work sets. Depending on the day, he’ll continue to increase the weight and get 12, 10, and 8 reps, or 10, 8, and 6 reps if he’s feeling stronger.

Abiad prefers to do these standing, not seated. He’ll keep a slight bend in his knee, but says, “I try not to bounce with it. I try not to push off with my legs.”


“Lying frontFL05148_2014-1wtmrk raises using the cable station is one of my favorite front-delt exercises,” Abiad says. “Somehow I don’t get the same feel from this movement if I do it standing with dumbbells. Lying on the ground takes my back and traps out of it completely. The key is to not bend your elbows, which means you can’t go very heavy on these, but you shouldn’t be, anyway, because this is an isolation exercise and you really want to feel it in your front delts.”

Abiad admits he doesn’t incorporate these often, especially now that he’s doing his T-bar presses: “I might do a front-delt exercise only every third shoulder workout. If I do them they’ll come after laterals, and I’ll need to do only two sets because my front delts will be pretty exhausted by this point.”


“When you do two pressing movements back-to-back, your shoulders get really full,” explains the 2006 Canadian Nationals champ. “A lot of guys will do one pressing movement and a bunch of isolation movements. I realized that my delts grow faster when I do two pressing movements and scale back on the isolation exercises.”

Abiad hoss-training-splitprefers doing this exercise on a Smith machine and will press to the front or the rear. (Occasionally he’ll incorporate seated machine presses in lieu of these.) When asked how far he lowers the bar behind his head, he replies, “Some guys think it’s not effective unless the bar is coming down to your neck. But as long as my arms are parallel to the ground, with a 90-degree bend, I’m good and I’m feeling it in my delts. People might say it’s a short range of motion, but after doing T-bars—which is a full range of motion—that’s about as far as I need to move the weight to feel it in the muscle.”



“I feel my rear delts are lagging more than the other head, so I pay special attention to them,” says the Hoss. If he’s doing bentover laterals, Abiad likes to lie down face forward on an incline bench, similar to what he’ll occasionally do for his front dumbbell raises. “And if there’s any gas left in the tank, my training partner and I do some upright rows.” Upright rows with an EZ-bar, a barbell, or a cable—it doesn’t matter to the Hoss. Again, though, he’d never do these with dumbbells.

Click NEXT PAGE to see Fouad’s tips, diet, and full workout! >>


  • I don’t do dumbbell presses. I can’t get the dumbbells up. I have the same problem for chest. There’s no way I can hoist them from my knee to my shoulder, and I don’t feel right asking a training partner or some random dude in the gym to hand me the 130s or 140s.”


  • Once a month “I’ll throw in a third pressing movement,” Abiad says. “That means I’ll scale back even further on the isolation movements, maybe do only two sets of laterals and that’s it. I’ve always had kind of a tough time with isolation movements because my traps take over from my delts.”