We’ve spent the past 3 weeks talking about shoulder routines, and today is the final installment!

overdeveloped deltoidsAs with the traps, you have to be careful of overdeveloping your delts because it can cause you to be a little out of balance.  The photo to the right shows a young kid who’s obviously working hard on his shoulders but needs to get his triceps and his traps caught up (my opinion)…

Last week we introduced two delt exercises and today here are two more.

Dumbbell Side Laterals

  1. Take one relatively light dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.
  2. Let the weight hang just in front of your body with the palms facing inward toward each other. Your elbows should be bent just slightly and the body should be leaning forward just a little bit.
  3. Use the strength in your shoulder muscles to pull the weights outward and upward in a semicircular motion until the weights reach the level of your shoulders.
  4. This exercise best focuses on the median deltoids when the wrist is rotated just slightly so that when the dumbbells are fully raised, the back end of the dumbbell is slightly higher than the front end.  Imagine you are holding a pitcher of water and want the pitcher to slowly empty.
  5. Squeeze your shoulders for a moment at the top.
  6. Lower the weight slowly, back to the starting position, but for extra burn don’t let them touch your thighs.
  7. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.

Check out the photos for side lateral movements.

Arnold Presses

This is a real power exercise, much better than standard dumbbell presses, because of a more full range of motion.

  1. Grip a dumbbell in each hand and sit on either an upright bench with a back rest or the end of a flat bench.  I prefer a flat bench, with no back, but Arnold recommends back support.  Of course, he was doing a lot more weight than I do…!
  2. As you sit down, allow the dumbbells to rest on your legs just above the knee. To bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders, give a slight kick upward with each knee to help move the weights one at a time so that you are holding each one just in front of and above your shoulders with your palms pointing toward you.
  3. Press the weights directly upward while rotating your wrists. This is the key to the Arnold Press. Your wrists should go from facing toward the wall behind you, to facing inward toward your head as the dumbbells pass your ears, to finally facing forward to the wall in front of you at the height of the movement.
  4. The weights do not touch at the top and your elbows do not lock at the end of the motion.
  5. Lower the weights back downward on each side to the starting position just above the shoulders.
  6. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.

For visual cues, go to our Arnold Press page.


There are a ton of other exercises for your shoulders, but I wanted to stop at the 8 we’ve covered:

  • Deadlifts
  • Cleans
  • Upright Rows
  • Shrugs
  • Military Press
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Laterals
  • Dumbbell Side Laterals
  • Arnold Presses

Other exercises include many on machines.  However, I’m not a fan of machines for shoulder movements.  Machines restrict your movement and so you don’t get as much out of it.  Plus it takes too long to get them set up for your personal dimensions and if you adjust the pins wrong, I find then can cause cramping.  Cable racks however, are great for shoulders.

Want more?  Check out http://leanlifters.com/2008/03/deltoid-shoulder-muscle/

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