On the surface your shoulder workouts seem pretty thorough right, you hit them hard! Yet, when you peel the surface layers away what are you left with, really? Most people will start with dumbbell shoulder press or a machine press. Then they may hit a few sets of side laterals, then front raises and then maybe some upright rows or shrugs. The thing is, the shoulders are a very complex muscle group with fibres running in all directions from the front of your shoulder joint to the back. With this said it is key that you keep your shoulder workouts very 3 dimensional!
Front, back and side to side
Although it sounds uncannily like some kind of cheesy disco dance this is in fact the approach required if building super capped delts is the goal. You need to attack the muscle fibres in your shoulders from all angles with variations in ranges of motion and time under tension.
Think outside of the box here, exercises like plate steering wheels are fantastic for hitting the delts from several angles all in one exercise.
Every muscle group in your body will have different percentages of type 1 and 2 fast twitch muscle fibres and slow twitch muscle fibres – welcome to the wonderful and sometimes depressing world of genetics! Generally speaking, the deltoids have a high percentage of slow twitch muscle fibres which means they are very responsive to higher repetition, high volume training. Blood volumisation can be very effective with shoulder training because of this small fact – with that said you need to start hitting the reps hard.
Shoulders respond really well to very intense training where the rest periods are kept to a minimum, there are lost of drop sets, giant sets and partial reps. This really helps stimulate the slow twitch muscle fibre mass within your shoulders by driving oxygenated blood into the area.
Try doing a giant set for every angle, front, back and the sides. Keep the rest periods to 60 seconds between each giant set and you will struggle to scratch your nose by the end of the workout!
To hit the heads of your deltoids effectively you need to keep form particularly tight. Swinging the dumbbells on side laterals for example puts very little weight transfer through the lateral deltoids. The same can be said for the all variations of the dumbbell raise, and if you are not doing this then no matter how hard you train the results will be poor. Really focus on tight form, forget the weight and combined with the above points your delts will look epic in no time!
Giant set 1 X 4
Front dumbbell raises, weight plate steering wheels, seated dumbbell press for 10-15 for each exercise
Giant set 2 X 4
Side lateral dumbbell raises triple drop set for 10-15 for each weight, then 20 partial side lateral raises
Giant set 3 X 4
Rear dumbbell raises, high cable rope pulleys, upright barbell rows for 10-15 for each exercise
This is a very fast and effective way to simply pull your deltoids apart and force your body to put them back together, but bigger this time!