Workout Routines

Shoulder Workout: Get Wide on the Sides

Follow this formula for building cannonball delts.

seated dumbbell lateral raise
Duration 1 day
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

When fully developed, there are few things more impressive on the bodybuilder’s physique than freakishly-rounded delts. Many trainees own a pair of big arms, or have nice, thick chests, but far more rarely do you witness a couple of “cannonballs” hanging off the clavicles. Some of the most dramatic physiques of our time are ones that show incredible side delt development.

Think about men like Kevin Levrone, Gary Strydom, Phil Heath and Dennis Wolf. As soon as any of these champions walk (or walked) out on stage and turn to the front, the dramatic proportions of their bodies are immediately evident, and much of this has to do with the width of their shoulders. One of the best aspects of developing exceptional lateral delts is the effect it can have on the overall look of one’s physique. The wider the shoulders are, the narrower the waist will appear. This helps to create the coveted “X”-frame…something that each of the pros mentioned above has in spades.

Being that the deltoid is a three-headed muscle, it is important to work each of these heads equally in order to bring about even and complete development. However, it is important to note that the rear (posterior) head gets plenty of stimulation from the rowing movements that are performed on back day, and that the front (anterior) head is hit hard any time you rep out on a press or flye for chest. All of the extra work that these two deltoid heads receive can often lead to the side (lateral) head falling behind.

So, if you have tried your share of standard side lateral raises and find that you are still fitting through most doorways far too easily, give the following routine a try.

The Workout

Exercise 1

Barbell Upright Row You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Upright Row thumbnail
3 sets
7-9 reps
-- rest
Use a thumbless grip on the bar; raise the bar no higher than mid chest level; stand straight throughout the set.

Exercise 2

Seated Incline Dumbbell Lateral Raise
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10-12 reps
-- rest
Set the bench at about a 60 degree angle; use weights that allow for very strict form; hold stretch at bottom for at least one second before initiating each rep.

Exercise 3

Smith Machine Overhead Press You'll need: Bench, Smith Machine How to
Smith Machine Overhead Press thumbnail
3 sets
13-15 reps
-- rest
Do not lower bar any further than below ears; keep elbows back to strongly engage lateral delts; press only 2/3 of the way to lockout.

Exercise 4

One-Arm Cable Lateral Raise You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment How to
One-Arm Cable Lateral Raise thumbnail
3 sets
16-20 reps
-- rest
Keep only a very slight bend in the elbow; try this movement both in front and behind torso; hold each rep at top for one second and squeeze intensely.