Old School Shoulder Smash

Dennis James & Toney Freeman talk shop on building round, capped delts


FLEX: Have certain heads of your deltoids grown faster/lagged behind others?

Dennis James: I never had an issue with my shoulders. They would grow even if I didn’t train them. I can train chest and my shoulders will get sore and pump up. When it comes to shoulders, chest, and arms I was really genetically gifted.

Toney Freeman: From the beginning I focused on the side delts. In the last few years I’ve brought my front and rear delts up to match.

FLEX: Let’s talk about shrugs.

Toney Freeman: I do shrugs with my back. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-back barbell shrugs. When I use dumbbells like in the pictures I’ll do 10 reps to the front, 10 to the side, and 10 behind my back.

Dennis James: I’d mix it up. Every couple of weeks I’d do shrugs at the end of my delt workout. My shrugs get worked when I train back, so I never felt the need to do them every shoulder workout. Sometimes I’d do upright rows for my traps and other days shrugs. When I did shrugs I mixed that up, too: dumbbells, barbells, machine. It depends on how I felt.

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