Checkout the silhouette of the ‘Arnold Classic’ physique and you will instantly notice the emphasis that is placed on the illustrious V-taper! To maximise the effect of your V-taper you need to increase the gulf between your shoulders to waistline ratio. To an extent your waistline is genetically predetermined by the width of your hips as are your clavicles, yet with your shoulders you can bring your deltoids out to create a greater illusion. Here is a storming routine to blast your stubborn deltoids and develop a set of cannonball shoulders, which will help emphasise your V-taper! Get ready to be capped!
Blood volumisation warm up
Warm up is part of the master plan? Really? Damn right! In general people will brush through their warm up sets too eagerly, but with shoulders it is particularly important. Not just because you are limiting the risk of injury, but because you are forcing blood into the area. Deltoids can be a very stubborn body part to really hit so you really need to drive as much nutrient rich blood into the muscle as possible.
Warm up with 4 very light sets with the following circuit –
20 reps of front raises into side laterals
20 reps of seated dumbbell press
Side lateral raises variation
Side lateral raises are the bread and butter exercise when it comes to hitting the outer head (lateral head) of your deltoids. Yet a lot of people won’t get the maximum benefit from this exercise because their form is wrong. Many people will perform it with their elbows at a 90 degree angle which is incorrect because your forearms will bear a lot of the load. Others will go too heavy and be forced to use excessive bodily movement to get the weight up. Sometimes it pays to go super heavy and use some momentum but not today.
This variation requires you to swallow your pride and keep form and optimum muscle contraction at the forefront of your thinking. If you usually use 15kg dumbbells to hit a quality set of 10-12 reps on side laterals drop the weight to 10kg for this. Perform the side lateral raise as you usually would, but at the top of the movement hold the weight for around 2 seconds on each repetition. Why? You are forcing the muscle to remain in a contracted state for longer which can potentially force it recruit different muscle fibres. As a result the muscle can develop faster and develop a more rounded look.
Perform 4 working sets of this with a repetition range of 12-15 per set to kick off your shoulder workout.
Seated military press (close grip)
The military press is one of the very best size building exercises for the deltoids. Taking a narrower grip will help target the lateral head as well as the front head (anterior head). To really milk the benefits of this exercise make sure you do NOT lockout at the top of the repetition. Doing so will transfer the stress on to the triceps, enabling the deltoids to catch a breath. Lower the weight down to chin height, any lower could potentially place unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint and connective tissues. Make sure you focus on contracting a really squeezing the deltoids as you do this, controlling the negative and using an explosive action on the way up!
Perform 4 working sets using a repetition range of 8-12 per set.
Upright barbell rows (close grip)
Remember this is all about giving the illusion of a tiny waist and wide shoulders so we are sticking with the close grip theme here. Upright rows are a classic movement when it comes to stimulating the lateral head. Again, like the first exercise try and pause for a short moment at the top of each repetition. Really focus on controlling the negative and drive up on the way up with your deltoids. Remember you are trying to make the lateral head pop out!
Perform 3 sets with a repetition range of 12-15 per set.
Rear cable flyes
To complete that rounded shape in your deltoids you really need to target your read head (posterior). This is probably the most overlooked body part among the gym community, don’t be one of the crowd! Cables are a great choice because they constantly keep tension on the target muscle. This works particularly well for the posterior deltoid. On the negative don’t bring your hands together because this takes some of the weight transfer away from the rear head, instead only allow your arms to come in until they are parallel with one another and then go again! This will really stimulate a burn in your rear deltoids.
Perform 5 sets with a repetition range of 12-15 per set.
That concludes the workout! Keeping the intensity up should really help you drive oxygenated blood into the muscle and keep it there. Always focus on keeping your form tight, ensuring the muscles are constantly under tension.