Group 7: Shoulders
Contrary to popular belief, the barbell overhead press isn’t the most reliable way to build impressive deltoids. The deltoids are made up of three heads (anterior, mid, and posterior) and stimulating them through a pressing pattern hardly places a real focus on each of those heads. Collectively, the deltoids are abductors of the arm, and they have a role in external rotation as well. The traps are more responsible for the elevation of the shoulder blade, which is why a bodybuilding-style isolation exercise is fitting for really hitting the deltoids hard.
Lean Away Cable Lateral Raise
This movement takes advantage of force angles for optimal mechanical tension on each rep, and it keeps the deltoids as the prime mover. This movement is biased toward the mid deltoids, but since they’re the largest of the three heads, it’s a worthy contender for the best-bang-for-your-buck movement for the muscle group.
How to Do It:
Stretching the deltoids means placing the muscle fibers in the most elongated position. For this group, that means folding the arm across the torso diagonally. That’s the start position for this exercise. Set a cable on a low pulley and stand sideways to it. Hold the cable handle with the hand farthest from the pulley and stand close to the tower. Next, using your free hand, hold on to the tower itself, and lean your body away from the tower so that if you let go, you’d topple over.
From this position, perform lateral raises. Start with the hand at the opposite thigh and lift the hand diagonally upward so it finishes at shoulder level. Try not to shrug the shoulder, and focus on keeping the elbow slightly bent to the same degree on each rep. This one works for higher reps, so sets of 12 to 15 would be ideal. Following this movement with a classic dumbbell military press is a perfect formula for gains.
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