3 Shoulder-Shredding Moves from @smith.julian 💥 These battle-tested moves will smash your shoulders from every angle and develop all 3 heads of the deltoids: front, side, and rear. Watch the video about and start delivering your delta for days 👊 #MHFit #fitness #JulianSmith #shoulders #shoulderworkout @willpowergym
If there's one area of the body that can have the biggest impact on your overall look, it's your shoulders. A wide, sculpted set of shoulders is a prerequisite to looking like a superhero and it makes your waist look smaller from every angle. Whether you're sporting a suit, henley tee, or a tank top, when those deltoids are developed people know you mean business.
When Hollywood actors land a career-changing role as an action hero or your favorite comic book character and they have to quickly transform their bodies for a role, they do two things. One, lose as much body fat as possible because being shredded makes your muscles look bigger than they actually are. Two, smash the shoulders from every angle with multiple moves that develop all 3 heads of the deltoids: front, side, and rear.
Here are 3 battle-tested shoulder exercises from top natural bodybuilder Julian "The Quad Guy" Smith that will deliver delts for days:
1. Dumbbell Arnold Press (or Rotational Shoulder Press)
According to Julian, "the overhead press, whether it be on a machine, with dumbbells, or a barbell, should be a staple in anyone's shoulder workout." But the Arnold Press, named after the Austrian Oak for popularising the movement, is arguably the king of shoulder exercises.
Why? Because the unique rotational action on the way up engages all 3 heads of your shoulders and strengthens your rotator cuff. Plus, it allows you to bring the weight low and in front of your chest to maximise the stretch on those shoulders.
Julian recommends 4 sets of 4 to 10 reps or 12 to 15 reps. If he's doing lower reps, he'll use a time-under-tension protocol like lowering for 3 to 4 seconds and pausing at the bottom. If he's doing higher reps, he'll use a quicker, more explosive tempo to get massive muscle pumps. Both options work so mix between them or incorporate both within the same session.
And don't forget this game-changing performance tip from Smith: "Focus on pressing with the elbow to achieve a stronger mind-muscle connection to the delts." It's the little things like this that can make the difference between a good set and great set of shoulders.
2. Hanging Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The great thing about overhead pressing, especially with the aforementioned Arnold press, is that it already works all 3 heads of your shoulders. But men tend to have overdeveloped front delts from all of those pushups and bench presses and lagging lateral and rear delts.
Now, the lateral delt is absolutely crucial to aesthetics. It's the shoulder muscle that adds width to your frame. And it's scientifically proven that broader shoulders will make you more sexually active in the community, which is a good thing if that's your goal. Since the lateral delt is best targeted with shoulder abduction or raising your arms directly to your sides, adding in some lateral raises is a great way to round out any shoulder workout.
Most guys use too heavy of weights with lateral raises. One way to fix that is with the variation Julian shows in the video, where one hand holds onto a stable support structure so you can lean away and do lateral raises with the opposite arm. Not only does this allow for greater isolation of the lateral head but the unique angle allows for peak tension at the top of the movement when the muscle is fully contracted.
"This has been a staple in my shoulder training! I dont have very broad shoulders to begin with, so this really is a necessity to add width to my frame," says Smith. "I usually keep my sets around 4 to 6 and reps can range from 8 to 15 and 20 to 40. I love shocking the muscle with super high reps! Nothing compares."
Most fitness experts recommend that you only need to raise to the point where your arm is parallel to the floor. But Julian prefers to raise the weight well above his line of sight. He feels the increased range of motion allows for a better contraction. Play around with both options and see what works best for you.
3. Reverse Incline Bench Barbell Upright Row
The upright row is another great exercise for your shoulders that also hits the upper back so you can work on those Tom Hardy traps! But it tends to be out of the cards for most men with a history of shoulder impingement. And it's another move that the typical bro goes way to heavy with, using every bit of body English he can muster to bang out each rep.
Enter the reverse incline bench barbell upright row from our man Julian Smith. By supporting your chest on an incline bench, it prevents you from using momentum and allows for a lighter load to go a longer way. Plus, the unique pulling angle - it's kind of a tweener between a bent-over row and an upright row - is less stressful on the shoulders.
Julian recommends 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps. "I like raising the bar all the way up to my nose! The muscle contraction is off the charts with this increased range of motion," says Smith. Focus on pulling out and up with your elbows on each rep to get the most out of your middle delts.
Add any combination of these moves to your next delt day to put some mushroom caps on those shoulders!