4-Time Arnold champ Flex Wheeler talks delts.

April 12, 2011


Flex Wheeler never won the Olympia, but he is arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all-time who doesn’t own a Sandow. Consider his record in bodybuilding’s second most prestigious contest, the Arnold Classic. Flex holds the record for most Arnold Classic titles at four, and he was runnerup in his only other two Arnolds. Many consider the physique he displayed when he won the 1993 Arnold as a 27-year-old IFBB Pro League rookie the best ever seen on any stage. And so as we celebrate a new Arnold titlist, crowned on March 5, we look back to the ultimate Arnold champ. Here is one of the shoulder workouts that helped Flex Wheeler win those four Arnolds and some key advice from Flex on delt expansion.


“I prefer Smith machine presses to other kinds of presses, because the bar is fixed in a groove so you can focus just on the delts.”

“Wide-grip upright rows are a favorite of Charles Glass [Wheeler’s old trainer]. They’re done for the side delts. They especially target this area when you do side laterals before upright rows [to pre-exhaust side delts].”

“Rear delts are so important in a bodybuilding show. They often separate the top guys from all the other guys by giving depth to your rear and side shots. The key to rear laterals is getting a strong contraction on every rep.”


Smith machine shoulder presses 4 10-12
Barbell front raises 3 10-12
Seated side laterals 4 10-12
Wide-grip upright rows 3 10-12
Lying incline rear laterals 4 10-12
Machine rear laterals 3 10-12