Nearly three decades since his iconic role, Jason Scott Lee is again in top shape.Read article
My chest has always been one of my signature muscle groups, superstriated and full. My shoulders, on the other hand, were not as boldly separated or as defined as I’d hoped. Normally, that wouldn’t present a problem, but gaining striations, as well as spherical mass in the shoulders, requires the conflicting principles of heavy weight and isolation.
My shoulder workout consists of five exercises, and I mix their order each workout. The first four, however, are always performed with dumbbells. Sometimes I stand, but most often, a seated position with back support allows me to direct more power into an isolated head. Dumbbells also give me freedom to modify the movement by raising my arms at angles other than the 180-degree fixed line of a barbell, further isolating power into a specific head. A barbell is not inferior — it’s absolutely necessary for overall shoulder width and mass — but nothing can match dumbbells to amass the bowling-ballf ullness that popped my deltoids out from the rest of my physique. I devote four sets to each of my exercises. The first exercise starts with a “warm-up” set of 15 reps, but it’s a heavy 15. Exercises thereafter pyramid up in weight from 12 reps down to eight, taking each set to failure.
Here, I present a detailed explanation of the five exercises. Have fun!
Sometimes, I do these with a single heavy dumbbell, gripping it with both hands in front of my body and raising it to eye level. That’s a real fullness builder for the proximal (inner) surface of the anterior delt heads.
Nothing is more devastating to the ego than a proper deltoid workout, because the weight you should be using is always a fraction of the weight you think you should be using. To put it another way, the weight you should be using is always the weight you don’t want to be seen using. Swallow your pride and use a weight that allows you to feel the muscle, not one that requires other muscles to assist in the lift.
My back remains straight, but since I go very heavy, I also concentrate on the position of my elbows. They descend no lower than shoulder level, so at the bottom of the movement, my upper arms are horizontal. The lower you bring heavy dumbbells, the more you risk rotator-cuff or rear-delt injuries. I always use forced reps for these. They push me beyond my limit. Any time you shoot for the impossible, the muscle fibers have to stretch beyond your own limited estimation of your potential. That’s how you grow.
This is the preeminent exercise for rear delts. Performed correctly, there’s none better; performed incorrectly, there’s none more worthless, so keep your head down and, again, think “dumbbell level, pinkie level,” with arms at 180 degrees, straight out at the sides. A partial repetition is worthless; you need to raise the dumbbells higher than your perceived biomechanical limits in order to fully contract your rear delts. Now, raise them even higher. Do not shrug or contract with your lats, and don’t swing or throw your arms upward.
With my individual deltoid heads shocked to threshold fatigue by four dumbbell exercises, I can now distribute the remaining mass-building resistance across the rest of my shoulder girdle, without worrying that it will be scavenged by my delts. This final barbell movement — going down to eight reps, with two or three of them forced — thickens and broadens my entire shoulder beam. As with dumbbells, I bring my elbows down only to shoulder level, so my upper arms are horizontal. – FLEX