I have been working out religiously for over 12 years now and compliments I have garnered thus far with regards to my physique seem to be geared toward my deltoid development. Great delts? Tell me that I have super toned bum or washboard abs, but great delts? That is when it became obvious to me that shoulder development was vital in achieving a balanced and symmetrical body.
Conventionally, when women speak of getting in shape, we tend to focus on changing or minimising our trouble spots — jiggly thighs, bulging midsection, flabby backside or any other part of our anatomy we dislike. What most people do not realise is that by increasing the size of or emphasizing the shoulders, you can change the proportions of your physique. Well-rounded delts will make a thick waistline seem smaller, wide hips will appear smaller and ever a large bustline will seem more balanced. For those of you with slumped shoulders, proper and balanced training will help improve your posture.
Not so long ago, most women with broad shoulders were considered muscle-bound and masculine. However, take a good look around at the sculpted shoulders on some of today’s most popular divas and sportswomen, such as Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and Madonna, as well as professional tennis players Serena and Venus Williams. These high-profile public figures have all helped mould the new generation of shapely, sexy and fit bodies.
Today, we have collated and selected a few of the best exercises to target all three heads (anterior, middle and posterior) of the deltoid muscle. These four moves can be done in the comfort and convenience of your own home — all that you need to get started are dumbbells, a chair and 20 minutes of your time for about two times a week. For each exercise, select a weight with which you will be able to perform three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Now, ladies, let us all stand tall, pull your shoulders back and get to it!
Overhead Dumbbell Press
If you want popping delts, this is your go-to exercise the overhead dumbbell press targets your anterior and middle deltoids, giving them that round, bulging frame. To begin this exercise, sit at the end of a bench or chair. Keep your posture straight throughout the movement and your posture supported if possible. Grab a pair of dumbbells (if this is your first time performing this exercise, start off with a lighter load) and hold them up on both hands at ear level with your palms facing forward. Then, brace your core and push the weights overhead by straightening your arms but keeping your elbows soft — do not lock them in the finish position. lower the weights in a controlled motion back to the starting position before repeating the entire movement.
Here is a pro tip: You should not bang or clang the weights together at the top of the movement. Rather, depending on how heavy and big your weights, they should only graze or touch each other lightly. This will ensure that you always have maximum control over the dumbbells and maximum tension on your muscles.
Bent-Over Lateral Raise
Incorporating the bent-over lateral raise exercise into your workout routine effective hits your posterior deltoids and middle trapezius. First off, grab yourself a pair of dumbbells, find yourself a working bench, sit yourself down and bend forward at your hips so your chest is as close to your thighs as is comfortable. Hold the pair of dumbbells of your choice under your legs with your palms facing each other and your elbows slightly bent. Keep your head in a neutral position by looking and focusing at a spot on the floor that is approximately about 6 inches in front of you. This will be your starting position.
Next, brace your core and lift the weights out to your sides to shoulder level while keeping that slight bend in your elbows. Lower slowly before repeating the movement for at least ten repetitions. For maximum contraction in your posterior delts, focus on using only that muscle to move the weights. If you do not concentrate on using your posterior delts to move the resistance, your powerful mid-back muscles will come into play, and thereby, reducing the effectiveness of this exercise.
The upright row effectively targets your anterior, middle and posterior deltoids, as well as the upper trapezius. To begin with, hold a pair of dumbbells of moderate weight in front of you with your hands just inside shoulder-width apart and your palms facing your body. Next, pull the weights up while keeping them close to your body and leading with your elbows until your hands are just beneath your shoulders. in the finish position, your elbows should be higher than your wrists and above the level of your shoulders. Pause for a moment or two at the top of the movement before lowering the weights slowly and repeat.