Today we’re going to talk about 3 SHOULDER HACKS you can immediately implement into your training to help you pack on the gains in your delts!
Hack #1 – How To “Truly Isolate Your Delts”
Remember how we always talk about PACKING your shoulders when Bench Pressing? Well, when you're trying to isolate your delts with exercises like lateral raises, front raises or rear raises, you need to be doing the exact opposite.
This is because we pack our shoulders on PRESSING movements to take the shoulders OUT of the exercise as much as possible. So when training the delts, the last thing we want to do is place “less strain” on them.
For example, let’s take a look at the LATERAL RAISE. Having your shoulders packed will activate more of your upper traps but as soon as you unpack them, all the emphasis is placed on the middle delt where it should be.
Also, whether you’re performing a lateral raise, front raise or rear raise, you should feel like you’re moving your arms out and AWAY from your body, not just up and down.
This tip alone will take your shoulder training to an entire new level. In fact, it might even be a good idea for you to switch from dumbbells to cables to help you get the “feel” for lifting out and away.
This is because the cables will give you constant tension throughout the entire movement where as if you were using dumbbells you wouldn’t really feel much during the bottom portion.
Hack #2 – Focus on Rear Delt Development
Obviously this doesn’t mean you should be neglecting your front and middle delts. But in my experience, for most people, the rear delts are usually under-developed because they require more direct focus. This is because when you’re doing pressing movements like the bench press or shoulder press, you’re always hammering the front and middle delts pretty hard.
Now, I did do a Versus series in the past explaining how you get 25% more activation in the rear delts by performing a shoulder press standing versus seated. But that’s not going to be enough to cut it.
If you want your shoulders to look rounder and much fuller, especially from the side, you need to bring in direct rear delt focused exercises into your workout. Some of my favorites are Bent-Over Raises, Incline Bench Rear Flys, Face Pulls and Seated High Rows.
Incline Bench Rear Fly
Seated High Row
So, just pick two of these exercises and add 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps of each exercise to your shoulder day.
Hack #3 – Sneak More Shoulder Training In Your Workouts
Just like any other lacking muscle group, if your shoulders are a weak point for your physique, you should be training them at least twice a week.
For example, my current workout split has a specific day for shoulders, traps and ABS which is usually on Thursday.
So if I were to sneak more shoulder training into my routine, I would do it on Tuesday which is my back and biceps day.
The “pull” movements for training your back are going to activate your traps and deltoids already, so take advantage of the pre-exhaustion and bring in a dumbbell or barbell shoulder press as well as a few of the rear delt focused exercises mentioned earlier.
Remember, seeing more gains isn’t always about adding “more time” to every workout. It’s about being smart with your exercise selection throughout the entire week.