Stronger Shoulders

Happy Thursday!

The week is all downhill from here!  For some reason, Thursday is always a highlight to my week – it seems to mark the end of the week in my mind. By Wednesday night, I’ve taught all my fitness classes for the week and can mentally relax on that front, we do our weekly grocery shopping after work on Thursday(which is fun), and then Friday wraps it all up. Added bonus is that this week actually felt like a shorter week – I hate when holiday weeks don’t seem short at all.

However, the short week has made it hard to stay on top of things (this is becoming so common, I might never get organized again). One of the things that gets pushed to the bottom of the list is my blog. In the big scheme of things, it has to come last behind work, work, work, training, and meal prep… oh, and sleep.

In an effort to get some more material out, I realized I NEVER touch on training or workouts anymore.  There’s no real reason for this, other than the fact that I never really think about it. Let’s end that today. One of the body parts I’ve changed the most are my shoulders.  I went from having none to them almost over-powering my upper body. They’re one of the things people notice and comment on the most – and they’re also one of the things I wanted to build because they instantly make a female look athletic and strong.

Building up my shoulders has been a focus for the last 2 years - by making them wider, it gives the illusion of a smaller waist, creating the X frame shape the judges look for in physique.

Building up my shoulders has been a focus for the last 2 years – by making them wider, it gives the illusion of a smaller waist, creating the X frame shape the judges look for in physique.

There’s no real secret – it was a lot of work over the last 2 years to build them. But, there are a few exercises that MUST be included in your plan if you want to create some width and depth to your delts. I guess there’s one small “secret” too…

Delts for Days

Upper body warm-up (using light dumbbells, do high reps of side lateral raises, front raises, overhead press, bicep curls, bent over rear delts, and tricep extensions – all in a row, no rest between them. I aim for 15 reps per exercise, 2 or 3 sets with rest between sets).

  • Seated overhead press (dumbbells) 4 x 10
  • Side lateral raises (dumbbells) 4 x 10
  • Rear delts (pec dec) 3 x 15
  • Smith machine seated press 4 x 10 (last set drop weight)
  • Upright rows (EZ bar on cables) superset with front raises (seated with dumbbells) 4 x 15
  • Side lateral raises (pin-loaded machine) 4 x 10-15 with the last 2 sets as drop sets to failure

My secret? A lot of side lateral raises! Another secret, I’ll throw in some bonus side laterals at the end of chest day, too. The blood flow is already in your upper body, but your shoulders aren’t exhausted. I find them to be really strong at that point, so I can lift even heavier. I’ll throw in some drop sets with really high rep for a burn-out effect to really break the muscle fibres down.

Left - Sept 2013 after competing in five shows in the bikini category. Right - June 2014 preparing for my first show as a women's physique competitor

Left – Sept 2013 after competing in five shows in the bikini category.
Right – June 2014 preparing for my first show as a women’s physique competitor

There you go, my “secrets” to building some awesome delts – hard work, consistently.  I’ve been training in this style for 2.5 years straight. You can’t be off and on again with a plan and expect to see results, it’s all about consistency! Happy training!

IFSig

 

Please note – this training plan works for me, but might not be right for you. Always use caution before starting a new training plan. I also alternate different exercises over the course of a few weeks to keep it interesting. There are many ways to target the same muscle, and variety is key.

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
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