By Shoshana Pritzker
A shapely set of delts can offset some of the most notorious body imbalances, such as a thick waist or heavy bottom. It’s all about the art of illusion. Toned and more defined shoulders will give the appearance of a smaller waist, balancing out any hint of a bigger butt and thighs.
But you can’t just pick up a few dumbbells, hit some shoulder presses and expect the shoulders of your dreams to grow overnight. You’ve got to train smart, train efficient, and train with a purpose. And with four basic exercises, a pair of dumbbells and a bench, you can complete four different workouts (one for each week of the month) that will have you on your way to shapely shoulders in no time!
Complete each of the following workouts once throughout the month. Week 1 = Workout 1, Week 2 = Workout 2, and so on.
Workout 1: The Mass Builder
What It’s For: The Mass Builder workout is aimed at building strength and muscle, by stimulating the slow-twitch muscle fibers with heavy weights, less reps and a longer rest period.
How It’s Done: Perform each exercise individually for 4 sets. Perform 6-8 reps for each exercise, with one to one and a half minutes rest between sets. You should reach muscle failure for each set at 6-8 reps; if you can do more reps, you should increase the weight of the dumbbells you are using.
1. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: 4 x 6-8 reps
2. Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises: 4 x 6-8 reps
3. Alternating Dumbbell Front Raises: 4 x 6-8 reps per arm
4. Dumbbell Seated Rear Delt Raises: 4 x 6-8 reps
Workout 2: The Super-Setter
What It’s For: The Super-Setter workout is just that – using supersets to exhaust the muscle, ultimately building and shredding at the same time! You’re not only maximizing your muscle’s capacity to build strength and size, but you’re also improving muscular endurance and using more fat as fuel to get through the set.
How It’s Done: Perform two exercises back-to-back, with no rest in between exercises. This workout may be ideal if you’re strapped for time. Perform each exercise for 5 sets at 10-12 reps. Rest 45 seconds to one minute between sets. You should reach muscular failure within 10-12 reps; if you can do more reps, you should increase the weight.
1. Superset: Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises with Alternating Front Dumbbell Raises: 5 x 10-12 reps per exercise.
2. Superset: Dumbbell Shoulder Presses with Dumbbell Seated Rear Delt Raises: 5 x 10-12 reps per exercise.
Workout 3: The Ultimate Shredder
What It’s For: The Ultimate Shredder workout is perfect for burning fat while still stimulating the delt muscles. It’ll have your shoulders burning, and the sweat dripping off your forehead. This workout is going to target both muscle fibers, maximizing muscular and cardiovascular endurance by eliminating rests between exercises, minimizing rests between sets, and ramping up the reps per exercise. It’s a doozy!
How It’s Done: Perform each exercise back-to-back, in order, with no rest between exercises (i.e., a giant set). Perform each exercise for 20 reps. Keep rests to one minute between giant sets.
5 revolutions of 20 reps per exercise.
• Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises
• Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
• Alternating Dumbbell Front Raises
• Dumbbell Seated Rear Delt Raises
Workout 4: The Delt Dominator!
What It’s For: The Delt Dominator is the final workout in this series, designed to confuse your delts, throwing them full force into an anabolic mode (muscle-building mode). Don’t get scared, you’re not going to blow up like a bodybuilder – that would just be impossible. This workout takes your four (4) basic exercises and focuses on max effort, paired with short rests.
How It’s Done: Perform each exercise individually for 6-8 sets. Each set should increase in reps while keeping the rest between sets to a minimum (10-30 seconds).
1. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: 6 x 10 reps (rest 30 seconds)
2. Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises: 6 x 12 reps (rest 30 seconds)
3. Alternating Front Dumbbell Raises: 6 x 15 reps per arm (rest 30 seconds)
4. Seated Dumbbell Rear Delt Raises: 8 x 15 reps (rest 10 seconds)
Dumbbell Shoulder Presses. Using a 90-degree bench and a pair of dumbbells, hold dumbbells at just above ear level (starting position) and press up toward the sky. Lower dumbbells back to starting position slowly, and repeat for reps.
Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises. Stand with feet together and knees slightly bent. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Raise dumbbells to shoulder level, using your delts to lift the weights. Slowly lower and repeat for reps. Remember that it is important to keep your back straight, shoulders back and chest out throughout the entire movement. Control the weight; do not swing.
Alternating Front Dumbbell Raises. Stand with feet together, knees slightly bent, back straight, chest out and shoulders back. Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your legs. Using your front delt muscles, raise one dumbbell up to shoulder level and slowly lower. Repeat with the other arm, alternating between arms for reps.
Seated Dumbbell Rear Delt Raises. Using a flat bench, sit on edge of bench. Bend over, resting your chest on your legs. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides in front of you with palms facing you. Keeping your elbows slightly bent and fixed, slowly raise the dumbbells behind you, focusing on your rear delts. Lower to starting position and repeat for reps.