How to build deltoid muscles

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How to build shoulders (deltoid muscles)? Discover the best exercises and strength training in the gym for men and women.

How to build shoulders (deltoid muscles)?  Exercise & Training

 How to build shoulders (deltoid muscles)? Exercise & Training

The shoulders are almost the same as the calves, only in the upper body. This is a small but “stubborn” muscle group that spoils the whole picture if it is not sufficiently developed. Today we will tell you how to make your shoulders bulkier and stronger.

DELTS MUSCLE ANATOMY                                     

The shoulder consists of three bunches. An important part of the shoulder is the rotator cuff.

Need to load every bundle of deltoid muscles.

Many people forget about this and train only the front delta, performing bench presses while standing and standing. Due to this, you become more stooped, as the middle and back deltas are lagging behind in development.


There are two main mistakes that ruin the potential progress of shoulder training:

  • Wrong exercise selection

This applies to work in simulators and isolation movements. They are not worthless, but using only them, it will be difficult to achieve your goals.

  • Large volume of highly repetitive training

Many people think that training with heavy weights increases strength, not mass. This is not true. Natural athletes should first of all become stronger – volumes will come along with strength.

These two rules apply to all muscle groups, not just to the shoulders. If you want to gain muscle mass, you need to pay more attention to heavy basic exercises.

As for the shoulders, heavy dumbbell and barbell presses will be required, as well as supporting exercises for the middle and posterior head of the deltoid muscle.

Many may argue, as often massive and dry bodybuilders do multiple reps for the shoulders. But you must understand that using anabolic steroids changes the rules of the game. With the right selection of drugs, a set of muscle mass will occur right before your eyes. You probably often noticed that those who use steroids, shoulders, trapezes and pectoral muscles, especially the upper part, are unnaturally large. This is because these parts of the body contain a large number of androgen receptors that respond to various hormones, including anabolic hormones such as testosterone. Thus, at high dosages of steroids, the shoulders, trapeziums, and chest can quickly grow to monstrous sizes.

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But do not let this upset you. You can build powerful shoulders without using prohibited means. This will help you knowledge, hard work and patience.



Follow two basic rules:

  • Heavy basic exercises are the basis of growth

“Heavy” means in the range of repetitions from 4 to 7. For girls, a range of 8-10 repetitions is more suitable.

  • Adhere to the principle of progression of loads

Natural bodybuilding is simple: you don’t get stronger – you don’t get bigger. Muscle growth can be stimulated in several ways, but the most effective of them is the progression of loads.

You also need to consider the weekly amount of work (the total number of sets and reps per muscle group that you perform per week). If there are too few, you will gain less mass than you could potentially. If there are too many of them, you will not be able to fully recover from training and still build less muscle than you could. You need to find a middle ground, but the harder the workout, the fewer repetitions you can do.

The reasons are obvious: working with large weights requires more time to recover, and this is especially true for shoulder training, because they are actively involved in breast training. For example, if you try to do a heavy shoulder workout the day after your chest workout, the return will be less than if you took a break of a couple of days between them.

As for the weekly volume, it all depends on the intensity of the workouts.

If you train mainly with heavy weights (80–85% of your one-time maximum), then 60–70 reps should be performed every 5–7 days. This applies to every major muscle group, not just to the shoulders.


Try to google “shoulder training”, and your eyes will start to run up from diversity. You will find at least a hundred different exercises for hundreds of different goals. However, only a few of them are really necessary.

Military press for arms definition

Dumbbell or barbell bench press is the basis of effective shoulder training. These movements load all the bundles of the deltoid muscle, but especially the front and middle, as well as the rotator cuff of the shoulder. Also, they can safely work with large weights. Some people claim that the barbell press is more effective than the dumbbell bench press. However, one can hardly say with accuracy that the barbell press is better than the dumbbell bench press, or vice versa. Both require strength and flexibility of the upper body.

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There are two types of shoulder presses:

  1. Seated presses;
  2. Standing presses.

Studies show that standing presses are more effective, but again, it’s hard to say for sure. What is known for sure: the bench press is heavier than the bench press. In our case, “harder” is a synonym for the word “better”. But standing presses are more difficult, since most of the load falls on the abdominal muscles and lower back, strength, mobility and technique are needed to perform the exercise correctly. This makes the bench press an almost exercise for the whole body, not just for the shoulders.

There is a point of view that standing press in the long run will lead to greater shoulder growth, since you will be able to progress faster in working weights (since the core muscles and extensors of the spine are not involved so much, you do not need to especially monitor the balance).

The bench press allows you to more accurately load your shoulders. In addition, if you do heavy squats with a barbell and deadlift every week (and you should do this), most likely you do not need additional load on the lower back and core muscles, which is set by the barbell press while standing.

Heavy bench press while standing or sitting should be done every week. If you are comfortable doing the bench press, you can completely remove the bench press from your training program. Or vice versa. You can periodically vary the bench press while standing or sitting using a barbell or dumbbell.

Arnold Bench Press for deltoid workout

Arnold Bench Press for deltoid workout

Arnold Bench Press is a variation of the traditional dumbbell bench press with increased amplitude. Pretty hard but effective exercise.

Dumbbell shoulder workout – Dumbbell fly

Swinging dumbbells in front of you is an isolated exercise for developing the front bundles of deltoid muscles. This is a good help for the bench press, but this exercise does not replace heavy bench presses with a barbell or dumbbells sitting or standing. With just the swings, you cannot achieve the same results.

Shoulder Flys – Standing Dumbbell deltoid fly

Standing Dumbbell deltoid fly

This is a very important exercise, but often many people forget about it. It loads the middle deltas, which are precisely shaped by the volume and roundness of the shoulders that we want to achieve. Heavy presses alone are not enough to pump medium deltas.

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Back Delt Exercises – Incline Dumbbell fly

The back deltas are the weakest and smallest part of the shoulder, but they are needed for full development (especially when viewed from behind or from the side). With the tilt swings, you can work out the rear deltas perfectly in isolation.

Cable Shoulder Exercises – Lat Pull Down

The pull of the cable handle makes the rear deltas and rotator cuff stronger.

The Best Shoulder Workouts For Women And Men

The training in which there are exercises for the development of all three bundles of deltoid muscles will be effective.

Ideally, your workout should have at least one heavy basic exercise like a barbell or dumbbell press.

The training presented below is built on just such a principle, and it is great for both men and girls. However, men and girls should adhere to a different range of repetitions. Most girls are unlikely to pay special attention to basic exercises. It will be difficult for them to work with a weight close to maximum.

When they become stronger, it will be possible to include heavier work in the training program (and no – this will not make them pumped over!). However, if the girl has solid experience in strength training, she is recommended to adhere to the same recommendations as men. Do this workout every 5 to 7 days for the next 8 weeks, the result should satisfy you.

  • Military press standing or sitting

Warm-up, then 3 working sets:

-Men – 4 – 6 repetitions (85% of maximum),

-Women – 8 – 10 reps (70 – 75% of the maximum).

  • Dumbbell fly

3 working sets:

– for men – 4 to 6 repetitions (if this does not suit you, do 6 to 7 repetitions),

– for women – 8 to 10 repetitions.

  • Dumbbell chest fly

3 working sets:

– for men – 6 to 10 reps (75% of the maximum),

– for women – 8 to 10 repetitions.

  • Lat Pull Down

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps (for both men and women)

This is more complicated than it might seem at first glance. When you can easily work in this range of repetitions, increase the weight. For example, if you are doing 6 reps of an army bench press with a 60-pound barbell, in the next approach add 2.5 pounds on each side. If with 65 kilograms in the next set you only perform 4 repetitions, this will be your new working weight, which will need to be brought to 6 repetitions. 

If you do 3 or fewer repetitions, reduce the weight by 2.5 kilograms (to 62.5 kg) and see how many repetitions you get with it. If the situation has not changed, reduce the weight to the one with which you did 6 repetitions, and work until you can make two approaches of 6 repetitions. Then increase the weight.

Rest for 3 minutes between each set of 4 to 6 reps, 2 minutes between sets of 6 to 8 reps and 1 minute between sets of 8 to 10 reps. It may seem to some that this is a lot, but the duration of rest is very important during heavy strength training. At this time, the muscles regain their strength, so you can show the maximum result in each set.