Jay Cutler's Boulder Shoulders

Jack up the intensity of your delt training with Jay Cutler's double superset routine.


When you want something fresh, something unique, something guaranteed to pack on slabs of unadulterated muscle to your frame, call on Jay Cutler. His plan is for you to replace your current delt routine with this one for only four weeks. For most trainers, that’s four workouts, but if you’re a twice-a-week kind of guy, that would mean eight sessions. It’s intense, explosive and should be used as a boost out of any plateau you may be experiencing in your current routine. Sticking with a high-intensity routine like this without switching off for a period of equal time could lead to overall fatigue, if not injury.


Let’s go over the plan first, then we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of it. The entire shoulder workout consists of four exercises: seated lateral raises, seated front raisesseated dumbbell presses and standing dumbbell shrugs. There are no specific rear delt exercises included. You’ll be stressing your rear delts mightily with laterals and presses. Add dumbbell shrugs, and you’ve got a complete shoulder blast.

The exercises are divided into two supersets of three sets each. Two groups of two exercises multiplied by three sets equals 12 sets in all. It’s not a tremendous workload for the deltoids, but the intensity is not derived from volume, rather it’s from the speed at which the training is performed. Complete the entire workout in 15 minutes. That includes 30 seconds of rest between the paired exercises and one minute of rest between the two supersets.


Nothing Cutler does in his life, much less in his bodybuilding life, is haphazard. From the moment he decided to make a career out of bodybuilding, he was focused and diligent in his approach to the sport. So it goes for the double superset shoulder routine.

As to why he uses dumbbells rather than barbells, Cutler says, “I prefer doing dumbbell movements for shoulders, because I get a better range of motion than I do with a barbell.”

He goes on to explain the reasoning behind splitting the exercises into two groups, as opposed to lumping them all together into one giant set. “Lateral and front raises are similar in that they’re both what I consider to be isolation movements, whereas seated presses and shrugs are more in the category of compound movements,” he says. “You want to keep the two raises grouped together, because they both require lighter weights and are equally good for warming up the area. I’ve always been a big proponent of pre-exhausting the muscle. After completing the first superset, you’ve got the blood flowing and you’ll be ready for heavier compound movements.”

As for why each of the exercises, with the exception of shrugs, is performed seated, Cutler notes, “When you’re sitting, there’s less tendency to cheat. You can also angle your torso in the exact way that the exercise works best for you without having to worry about balance.”

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