Shoulders: Stand and Deliver


Push yourself past frustrating sticking points and add more power and muscle with this delt-expanding workout.

Thankfully for those of us who want thick, strong, powerful shoulders, there is no shortage of effective exercises to make that goal a reality. From a range of presses to the variety of raises to target each individual head of the deltoid — anterior, middle and posterior — to the upright row, you have plenty to choose from.

In addition to switching between barbells, dumbbells, cables and machines, and varying the angle of an exercise, another common way to change an exercise is to perform it standing or seated. Standing usually allows for the use of a little momentum in the form of a small knee bounce, just enough to get a weight past a sticking point, while seated exercises take that option out of the equation.

Now, you don’t want to “cheat” your way through all of your training sessions. That’s counterproductive to the nth degree. However, when used judiciously, a little cheat to finish the last few reps of a set can be just the assist needed to push past a plateau. Your muscles are forced to do just a little more work, prompting a positive response in the form of growth to be able to meet that new challenge next time.

The following workout is designed to take advantage of the benefits of standing and seated exercises. Interspersing both, you can incorporate some momentum (only when needed to overcome a sticking point as you tire), then follow up with some strict seated sets to fully fatigue the muscle.

Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Press 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Seated Dumbbell Press 3 12, 10, 8
Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 8-12
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 2 8-12
Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise 3 8-12
Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise 2 8-12
Standing Barbell Raise 3 8-12
Seated Alternating Dumbbell Raise 2 8-12
Barbell Shrug 4 10-15
Seated Dumbbell Shrug 3 10-15

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