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Double-duty delts: a 10-week program for building two great big chips on your shoulders

Double-duty delts: a 10-week program for building two great big chips on your shoulders – Training

Question: What has three heads, are prone to injuries and most guys can’t get enough of them?

Answer #1: The Three Stooges

Answer #2: Deltoids

There’s something about shoulders. Everyone and their grandmother loves biceps and pecs — the showoff muscles that first draw us into weight rooms. Meanwhile, anyone with even basic knowledge of bodybuilding knows backs and thighs are the areas where you can really pack on the pounds. By comparison, deltoids are neither flashy nor fleshy, and yet there’s something uniquely appealing about growing them. Maybe it’s the status shoulders have held for millenniums as symbols of strength. Or perhaps it’s the sophisticated construction of the ball-and-socket joints and the surrounding muscles that make training them a rewarding challenge. And don’t forget thc area’s vulnerability to injury, which forces one to focus so intensely on proper form.

Our 10-week shoulder specialization program was designed to address all of these qualities. The Double-Duty Delts (DDD) program approaches each deltoid head as a separate and equal muscle and stresses that area with an intense and focused double-barreled attack. Proper form and in jury prevention are guiding principles. Double-Duty Delts represents the best, fastest and safest way to muscle up your shoulders and morph them into the kind of shirt-stretchers that can’t be ignored. One other thing: If you want to look like a bodybuilder, you absolutely have to have wide thick shoulders.

SECTION ONE

THE BASICS

THE MUSCLES The ball-and-socket joints in your shoulders allow your arms to move in a circular motion next to your body, a semicircular motion away from your body and through all the planes in between. Their mobility requires complex muscles to motor them through these myriad movements. This is why each deltoid is made up of three heads, each of which has a separate function. One key to shoulder training is to think of your front, side and rear deltoids as distinct (but small) muscles.

Front delts The anterior heads make up the front third of your deltoids and are responsible for moving your arms upward and forward. They also raise your arms up and over your head. Front delts are stressed by all shoulder presses and front raises, and they also assist in compound chest movements.

Side delts The medial heads make up the middle third of your deltoids and are responsible for moving your arms directly out to your sides. Visually, this area adds the most width to your shoulders. Side delts are stressed with the various forms of side laterals as well as upright rows performed with a shoulder-width grip or wider.

The posterior heads make up the back third of your deltoids and are responsible for moving your arms backward or upward and backward when held against your body. The various forms of rear laterals directly stress your rear delts. This area also assists in most upper-back movements. THE MISTAKES The DDD program was designed to address and avoid the four most common mistakes in shoulder training.

Most bodybuilders do a disproportionate amount of training for their front deltoids, primarily by loading up on overhead presses. Despite what is frequently claimed, overhead presses (even if done behind the neck) provide little work for your side or rear delts (they function only as stabilizers); it’s the front heads that do the brunt of the pressing. Note that your front delts also get work during chest presses and dips.

Along with overtraining front deltoids, many bodybuilders undertrain the other two heads. Performing only three or four sets of side laterals and three or four sets of rear laterals is generally not enough to stimulate growth in your crucial medial and posterior heads. They need a wider variety of work and a greater workload.

Compounding undertraining is the fact that many bodybuilders simply don’t know how to correctly focus a lateral movement to the targeted head. Think of each head as a distinct muscle and utilize a manageable weight with impeccable form in order to target the three heads.

Bodybuilders usually fail to isolate their delt heads because they either don’t know or don’t follow proper form. Incorrect technique not only shifts focus away from the deltoid heads, it’s also the primary cause of injuries.

SECTION TWO

THE MISSION

These are the principles you need to know before embarking on the DDD program.

PRIORITIZE Double-Duty Delts is an example of the Welder Muscle Priority Training Principle in action. Prioritize delts by training them alone In one workout so you are fresh. Based on the bodypart split (see chart), come to each delt workout after two days of rest and thus allow yourself the potential to start each delt session even fresher.

TWO TIMING Double-Duty Delts provides a separate and equal amount of work for each of the three deltoid heads. As the name suggests, there are two exercises for each of the three heads. These six lifts remain constant throughout the program, though the order of the lifts will change each workout.

SCHEDULE The program has a rotation of four workouts. Based on a five days on, two days off schedule (which we recommend), you will go through this rotation three times over the course of 12 weeks.

ROTATION Each of the four DDD workouts follows a different sequence for attacking delts. Workout 1 trains delts in the order of front, side, rear. Workout 2 goes front, side, rear, front, side, rear. The order in workout 3 is rear, side, front. Workout 4 is a triset routine. The aim is to keep delts from adapting quickly to an expected workload. By ringing the changes, this program keeps delts guessing and growing.

DELT NOTES

TRAPS Most people do shrugs and upright rows in conjunction with or directly after training deltoids. In this specialized workout program, however, we want to focus the entire routine on delts. For that reason, train upper traps after back. In fact, functionally, the trapezius has more in common with the muscles of the upper back than with deltoids.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL Double-Duty Delts is an advanced program. Intermediate and beginning bodybuilders should consult section four, “Choose Your Workload,” for instructions on how to reduce the volume and intensity.

PROPER FORM Impeccable technique is a cornerstone of the DDD program, as it is required to isolate and properly stress each delt head, not only for optimum growth, but also to guard against injuries. Consult the exercise descriptions for detailed instruction on how to perform each lift correctly.

WARM-UPS Perform one or two warm-up sets of 12-15 reps of the first exercise for each deltoid head.

SECTION THREE

THE DDD PROGRAM

Double-Duty Delts consists of four workouts.

* For all workouts, warm up with 20 light reps of barbell presses.

* All working sets should be to failure, so select poundages in accordance with that precept.

* If you feel able to do forced reps, do them only during the last set of the exercise for each particular head and do only three reps at most.

* Forced reps are not practical for workout 4.

SECTION FOUR

CHOOSE YOUR WORKLOAD

Advanced trainers (those with more than two years of experience should perform these workouts in the exact manner prescribed, doing workout 1 on the first deltoids day, workout 2 on the second deltoids day, etc. When the four-workout rotation is completed, begin again with workout 1 in week 5 and so on.

Intermediate trainers (those with six to 24 months of experience) should perform only two sets of each exercise and perform only workouts 1, 2 and 3, forgoing workout 4 (trisets), which would probably be too intense. Go through a three-workout rotation four times over the course of 12 weeks.

Beginners (those with less than six months of training) should not attempt the DDD program. Perform the beginner’s workout (see chart) once per week.

SECTION FIVE

THE EXERCISES

1 SEATED MILITARY PRESSES

This lift is seemingly as simple as pushing a barbell overhead, and yet correct form is crucial to focus the stress on your front delts and avoid injuries.

* Perform these seated. If possible, adjust the seatback to a very slight angle (80-85 degrees). Some pressing stations have seatbacks permanently fixed at such an angle.

* Grip the barbell a few inches beyond shoulder width.

* Your hands should be slightly forward in relation to your elbows, and your elbows should come back a little as the weight is lowered (an angled seatback assists with this positioning).

* Never allow your elbows to move forward during the descent. Likewise, don’t let your hands roll backward and tug your forearms with them. Any such positioning will force your shoulders out of their strongest posture and greatly increase your odds of injury.

Lower the bar to chin level. Anything lower works mostly your upper chest.

Stop a few inches short of lockout. The lockout is achieved primarily with triceps strength.

As you tire on the final reps, you can shorten the movement even further, moving through only the midrange.

As with military presses, these work your anterior deltoids. Perform them strictly, alternating a rep with one arm with a rep with the other arm. Never let momentum rob your shoulders of work.

While standing, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Use dumbbells light enough that you can perform 10 strict reps.

With your palm facing down and your elbow slightly bent, raise the right dumbbell, bringing it both up and a little bit to the left, so it travels directly past (and out in front of) your face.

At the top position of each rep, the dumbbell should be approximately level with the top of your head.

The moment you’ve completed a rep with your right arm, begin the next with your left, repeating the same procedure in reverse (bringing the dumbbell up and slightly rightward). Alternate in this manner.

Trainers doing side laterals too often let momentum shift stress away from their medial deltoids. Use only manageable weights, which may be significantly less than the weights you’ve been cheating up.

Hold two dumbbells at the sides of your thighs. Begin each rep from this position, as opposed to letting the dumbbells pass in front of your pelvis. Starting from the sides will both make the movement stricter and easier for you to stay in the groove.

With your elbows slightly bent, raise the dumbbells directly outward in semicircular arcs.

As you reach the top of each rep, rotate your thumbs downward slightly.

Raise the dumbbells to shoulder level. Hold this position for one second before slowly lowering the dumbbells back to the sides of your thighs for another rep.

This popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger, isolates each medial head unilaterally and applies more pressure at the start of the movement and less at the end.

Lie on your right side on a bench or abdominal board set at a low angle, with your head near the high end. Brace yourself so your body doesn’t move.

* Grab a dumbbell with your left hand and rest it on your upper left thigh. By necessity, the dumbbell used will be lighter than those used for standing side laterals.

* Keeping your left elbow slightly bent, raise the dumbbell in a semicircular arc until it is directly above your head. Then slowly lower it to your thigh.

* After completing 10-12 reps, switch to your left side to perform the same number of reps while holding the dumbbell in your right hand.

5 DUMBBELL REAR LATERALS

As with other shoulder lifts, trainers too often cheat up rear laterals in order to use more weight, robbing stress from their posterior deltoids. To minimize this, perform dumbbell rear laterals while lying facedown on a bench.

* Lie facedown on an incline bench. Hold two dumbbells and let your arms hang straight down toward the floor so the dumbbells are nearly touching beneath the bench.

* Keeping your elbows slightly bent, raise the dumbbells in a semicircular arc upward and outward. You can experiment with raising the dumbbells farther backward as well, as each angle works the rear delts in a slightly different manner.

* As you near the top of each rep, rotate your thumbs downward slightly.

* Raise your arms as high as possible (without pulling your chest off the bench). Hold at the top for one second before slowly lowering to the beginning position.

6 CABLE REAR LATERALS

This posterior deltoid exercise allows for a wider range of motion than dumbbell rear laterals, and it applies more pressure at the start of the movement.

* Stand between a pair of low pulleys at a cable crossover station. Reach with your right hand across your body and grab the left handle, and then reach with your left hand across your body to grab the right handle. Keeping your knees slightly bent, lean forward so your torso is parallel to the floor.

* With your elbows slightly bent, pull each handle simultaneously across your chest and then upward and directly outward in semicircular arcs.

* Raise your hands as high as possible. Hold this position for one second. Slowly lower the cables back to the arms-crossed position.

* Either each rep or each set, alternate which arm you cross in front of the other.

CLOSING THE DEAL WITH DELTS

Three heads may be better than one, but they make training more complicated. The key to balanced deltoids is treating each head as a separate and equal muscle. Double-Duty Delts serves up a twin bill for your front, side and rear deltoid heads and then switches the attack each workout. Blitz your shoulders with DDD and turn apple-sized delts into cantaloupes, baseballs into bowling balls and ho-hum muscles into sure-fire attention-grabbers. Go get ’em.

DOUBLE-DUTY DELTS BODYPART SPLIT

Day 1 Deltoids

Day 2 Thighs and calves

Day 3 Back and trapezius

Day 4 Chest and calves

Day 5 Arms

Day 6 Rest

Day 7 Rest

WORKOUT 1

(FRONT TO BACK, Weeks 1,5 and 9)

DELT AREA EXERCISE SETS REPS

Front Seated military presses 3 8-10

Dumbbell front raises 3 10-12

Side Dumbbell side laterals 3 8-10

Lying one-arm side laterals 3 10-12

Rear Dumbbell rear laterals 3 8-10

Cable rear laterals 3 10-12

WORKOUT 2

(SPLIT, FRONT TO BACK, Weeks 2, 6 and 10)

BELT AREA EXERCISE SETS REPS

Front Seated military presses 3 8-10

Side Dumbbell side laterals 3 8-10

Rear Dumbbell rear laterals 3 8-10

Front Dumbbell front raises 3 10-12

Side Lying one-arm side laterals 3 10-12

Rear Cable rear laterals 3 10-12

WORKOUT 3

(BACK TO FRONT, Weeks 3, 7 and 11)

DELT AREA EXERCISE SETS REPS

Rear Cable rear laterals 3 10-12

Dumbell rear laterals 3 8-10

Side Lying one-arm side laterals 3 10-12

Dumbbell side laterals 3 8-10

Front Dumbbell front raises 3 10-12

Seated military presses 3 8-10

WORKOUT 4

(TRISETS, Weeks 4, 8 and 12)

DELT AREA EXERCISE SETS REPS

Front Seated military presses triset with 3 8-10

Side Dumbbell side laterals triset with 3 8-10

Rear Dumbbell rear laterals 3 8-10

Front Dumbbell front raises triset with 3 10-12

Side Lying one-arm side laterals triset 3 10-12

with

Rear Cable rear laterals 3 10-12

BEGINNER’S WORKOUT *

EXERCISE SETS REPS

Seated military presses 3 8-10

Dumbbell side laterals 3 8-10

Dumbbell rear laterals 3 8-10

* Warm up with 20 light reps of barbell presses.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group