Thursday, March 20, 2014

Athlete profile. ANDREW HUDSON: NEW IFBB PRO from south africa

Athlete profile
ANDREW HUDSON: NEW IFBB PRO from south africa
By veeraj goyaram

He may look familiar to the Bollywood movie aficionados among you as the massive dude who fought John Abraham in Race 2. His name is Andrew Hudson, South Africa's top super-heavyweight and he just realised his dream of turning professional with the IFBB. He won his pro card via a superheavyweight class win at this year's Arnold Amateur bodybuilding championships in Columbus, Ohio (USA). This news was received with great delight by the close-knit bodybuilding community of the wonderful rainbow nation which always saw in the 3o-year old gentle giant a worthy ambassador of bodybuilding. Everybody loves Andrew and I think one needs to be really retarded to hate the guy. He also joins two other South African bodybuilders, namely Marius Dohne and Hennie Kotze in the pro ranks. 
Add caption
I have been an Andrew Hudson fan since I moved to South Africa and picked up the March 2010 issue of Muscle Evolution which featured an article on him. Since then I have been following his career and progress via social media. I could relate to Andrew because to fund his international competition he had to, I quote from the same magazine, "work like a madman when I was a kid, simply so that I could afford food and supplements. At one stage I was prepping for the world championships while doing supplement sales promotions, all the deliveries for a supplement company, as well as in store and traffic light promotions for a promotions and marketing company. I also used to be a waiter at a restaurant in the limited time I had left. My car got stolen while I was trying to juggle all of my jobs, so I used to walk everywhere. It's when times get really tough that you learn about yourself, and it's times like that when you decide if you'll let them make and break you". 

Having just landed in South Africa, with R6000, two bag of clothes and a boatload of ambition, at that time that's how I learned about a job called supplement sales promotions. The next week I joined a popular local company and stayed with them ever since in that capacity. Promotions work is helping me fund a PhD in (Molecular) Exercise Science research at the University of Cape Town. That's one paragraph that made a very huge impact on my life in South Africa. 
Perfectly preserved: March/ April 2010 issue!
Below are the highlights of his international bodybuilding career:

Mr Universe - NABBA, Junior, 4th
World Championships - NABBA, Junior, 1st

Mr Universe - NABBA, Junior, 3rd

Mr Universe - NABBA, Tall, Did not place

World Amateur Championships - IFBB, HeavyWeight, 12th

World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Super-HeavyWeight, 11th

World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Super-HeavyWeight, 8th


Let's all wish Andrew the best in the pro ranks 

I let you enjoy some photos of the champ!

Photoshoot with Ben Myburgh
At the 2014 Arnold Amateurs
At the 2014 Arnold Amateurs
Before going onstage in South Africa
Onstage in South Africa

Race 2 as "Typhoon"

My Bio: I am a Mauritian originally from Roche Bois, Port Louis and now based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am busy with my postgraduate studies in molecular biology of exercise. My research, supervised by Prof. Edward Ojuka and Dr. Tertius Kohn, looks at the influence of nutrition and exercise in gene expression in muscle, research which is relevant and applicable to exercising individuals, sports persons and diabetic individuals. The knowledge that I share with you stems from my 18 years of experience in bodybuilding and 8 years (and counting) of university education in the field. I have also published work in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism (2012, 2014), International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2013) and co-authored two book chapters on exercise and diabetes. I also presented my research work at the 2012 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference (UK). I am grateful to each and everyone at the UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. "Knowledge without sharing is worth nothing"
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Exercise focus: Back hyperextensions and cable triceps extensions. By Veeraj Goyaram

exercise focus: BACK HYPEREXTENSIONS and cable triceps extensions
By Veeraj Goyaram

This exercise can be a great addition to a hardcore back routine. Even Dorian Yates could be seen performing weighted hyperextensions in his Blood & Guts video. Hyperextensions work the spinal erectors very well, a muscle which can add more strength to "bigger" exercises movements like squats, deadlifts, standing shoulder presses etc. There is debate on whether it can help develop the "christmas tree" muscles but, however, I have seen many people with great christmas trees performing hyperextensions as this taught them "back control" which can be interpreted as an ability to contract the back better in poses.
Dorian Yates performed weighted

Do not swing your body on the bench, keep the tension constant and maintain a deep peak contraction on the back at the top of the movement. Feel the lower back. Weights can be added once the technique has been mastered, in the form on a barbell plate, a dumbbell in front of your body or behind your neck. Don't take my word for anything, experiment yourself to see what's more comfortable and what works best for you.

Additional tips:
"I dont have a hyperextension machine, i use Swiss ball to do it. On swiss ball there is not swing no jerking and also no knee and neck hyper extension. Those who have knee meniscal tear , should be very careful with the hyperextension bench ,it’s important to adjust the footplate so that the knee is not hyperextended."
Omar Patel, Bodybuilding Mauritius facebook page admin and strength & conditioning trainer

Triceps kneeling cable extensions

I have received many messages asking to share some of my “secrets” for triceps. The truth is that I don’t have any secrets but in my arsenal I have a few exercises and some old-school tactics that have produced good results for me and others I have suggested these to.

The Triceps kneeling cable extensions of Vince Gironda.

1. Kneeling and keeping forearms and head on the bench ensure that you don’t move your elbows above the head to cheat (as many people tend to do). Keep elbows close to the head, near the ears. Remember, elbows should not take off from the bench. I have seen on myself that when I take a narrow grip it hits my lateral head more. I have experienced using a wider grip and seen more emphasis on the triceps long head.

2. Get a full contraction and a full stretch. I like to maintain the peak contraction for 2-3 seconds. Ensure that the range of motion is big enough. Do not pile on the weights that will allow you to only move a few inches.

3. Use both ropes and bars. Feel free to experiment and add variety.

4. When you have mastered the technique you can do these standing.

Additional tips:
"I do a similar movement without weight. I put an E-Z curl bar on a rack, midway between waist and chest level. Then take a narrow grip and lean forward until your head is below your hands. Then just push off, extending your arms. It's my favorite finishing movement for triceps.". John Zanoya, veteran bodybuilder from Wisconsin, USA

My Bio: I am a Mauritian originally from Roche Bois, Port Louis and now based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am busy with my postgraduate studies in molecular biology of exercise. My research, supervised by Prof. Edward Ojuka and Dr. Tertius Kohn, looks at the influence of nutrition and exercise in gene expression in muscle, research which is relevant and applicable to exercising individuals, sports persons and diabetic individuals. The knowledge that I share with you stems from my 18 years of experience in bodybuilding and 8 years (and counting) of university education in the field. I have also published work in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism (2012, 2014), International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2013) and co-authored two book chapters on exercise and diabetes. I also presented my research work at the 2012 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference (UK). I am grateful to each and everyone at the UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. "Knowledge without sharing is worth nothing"
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Is Muscle Pump = Muscle Growth? By Veeraj Goyaram.

Exercise Science Update

Is Muscle Pump = Muscle Growth?
By Veeraj Goyaram
Cape Town, South Africa 12/3/14
"The greatest feeling you can get in a gym or the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump… It’s as satisfying to me as cuming is, you know, as having sex with a woman and cuming". Arnold Schwarzenegger
I used to believe that the muscle pump-muscle growth link was grossly exaggerated and that it was likely some sort of marketing gimmick by companies selling "muscle pump" preworkout supplements. However, I became interested in this link some time ago when I noted incredible pumps during my own experiments with 4XMass and TORQ techniques that eventually led to good muscle gains. Increasing scientific evidence supports the fact that the muscle pump during workouts can actually lead to muscle growth and several mechanisms have been hypothesized. This article is largely based on the excellent review by Schoenfeld and Contreras (2013) and will attempt to explain things in layman's terms.

I. What causes the muscle pump?
When muscles contract intensely the veins taking blood out of muscles are compressed. At the same time the arteries are still delivering blood to muscles. This leads to a reduced clearance of blood from working muscles and creates an increased concentration of intramuscular blood. As a result of this, fluid builds up in the interstitial spaces (spaces between muscle cells), causing plasma to move into the muscle. What results is "cellular swelling" or "muscle pump", a phenomenon that Arnold describes as equivalent to "having sex with a woman and cumming" (LOL).  Bodybuilding-type exercises that rely on moderate to higher repetitions and limited rest intervals magnify the pump. Furthermore, such exercises increases the concentration of metabolic byproducts that attract more fluid into muscle cells, thereby amplifying the pump. 

If you are not interested in the science of how muscle pump triggers growth you may skip directly to section III of this article. 

II. How does the pump trigger growth?
Cell swelling serves an important function and has been shown to increase protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown in a variety of cell types, not only muscle cells. Fast twitch muscle fibres, compared to their slow-twitch counterparts, are more prone to cell swelling because they have a high concentration of water transport channels called aquaporin-4 (AQP4) in their cell membranes. This allows plasma to move into the cells. 

It has been hypothesised that the increased intracellular pressure is perceived as a threat to the integrity of the cell and this initiates a cascade of anabolic reactions in order to reinforce the cell, probably involving the mTOR pathway (I am sure most of you are familiar with this term now), MAPK and increased amino acid transport. Another hypothesis is that cell swelling can also increase satellite cell activity. Satellite cells are cells which reside in close proximity with muscle cells (Fig ) and are activated when muscle is subjected to mechanical overload. Activated satellite cells then fuse with damaged muscle fibres and donate their nuclei (carrying genetic information) to increase the cell's ability to synthesise new proteins. It must be noted that Creatine Monohydrate has also been shown to increase satellite cell activity probably by means of its ability to draw water into muscle cells (Dangott et al., 2000). These mechanisms require further investigation.

It is also said that the muscle pump increases exchanges between blood and muscle of nutrients and waste products. It is not known whether this leads to muscle growth. The cell swelling hypothesis seems more plausible.
Satellite cells help regenerate muscle cells
III. Strategies to maximise the pump
The Schoenfeld and Contreras (2014) paper elegantly laid out training strategies to maximise muscle pumps, namely:

A. Varying set, rep and rest schemes: use several high repetition sets combined with short rest periods. E.g. 2–3 sets of 20 repetitions with 60 seconds of rest in between sets. Secondly, use of repeated medium repetition sets combined with short rest periods. An example would be 5–10 sets of 8–12 repetitions with 30 seconds of rest in between sets. Personally, programs like German Volume training and techniques like FST-7 are both useful strategies to increase the pump and reap the benefits. The 4xMass and TORQ systems 

B. Drop setting: performing a high-intensity set followed then decreasing the load by 25-50% and immediately continue with another set. In my personal opinion, you can take drop sets further and perform double and triple drop sets for an even more potent pump. I would begin a barbell curl set with 50kg for 6-8 reps, then drop to 40kg for 8 more reps, drop to 30kg and rep more to failure. Drop sets have many skeptics who believe that one must go heavy all the time and that it is counterproductive to use a lesser weight after a heavy set and rather "save the juice" for another heavy set and induce more micro-tears in muscle. However, the pump you can achieve with drop sets can do a lot by means of growth. Your joints also get a break, by the way!
Drop sets can help you achieve tremendous pump
C. Use exercises and strategies that allow constant tension: constant muscular tension increases occlusion of veins (vascular occlusion) and thus increases muscle pump. Good exercises for pump training are as follows:

Chest: cable crossovers, pec deck
Biceps: cable curls
Triceps: cable extensions
Back: various cable movements
Legs: leg extensions/ curls
Shoulders: cable laterals

Exercises can also be modified to allow greater constant muscular tension. You can focus on a portion of a repetition that maximally stresses the muscle. I like bottom partial presses for both shoulders and chest. Bottom partial shoulder presses are a favourite of the late Larry Scott. Sergio Oliva preferred bottom partial bench presses. Both are reliable techniques to subject the muscle being worked to greater muscular tension on a constant basis, thereby increasing the pump.
Larry Scott performing bottom partial reps.
He didn't go to full lock-out
Dangott B, Schultz E, and Mozdziak PE. Dietary creatine monohydrate supplementation increases satellite cell mitotic activity during compensatory hypertrophy. Int J Sports Med 21: 13–16, 2000.

Brad J. Schoenfeld and Bret Contreras. The Muscle Pump: Potential Mechanisms and Applications for Enhancing Hypertrophic Adaptations. Strength and Conditioning Journal (One on One column). COLUMN EDITOR: Paul Sorace, MS, RCEP, CSCS*D

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Friday, March 14, 2014


Old School Bodybuilding

Article courtesy of

(Mr. Anthony Ditillo)
Broad shoulders are something that can add s much to a person's physical appearance as any other part of the anatomy. Regardless of how the person is dressed, broad shoulders are hard to hide and will automatically, even if subconsciously, make an impression on any person who is interested in the physical aspects of the human body.

Throughout the years that I have acted as an instructor in health studios and the many years I have spent training myself, I can say that it is much easier for most people to talk about someone with broad shoulders than it is to build a set for themselves. I have also found that very few people really know exactly what to do to improve their shoulders, except for a few standard exercises.
The width of the shoulders is generally governed by the length of the clavicle bones. If you are fortunate to have exceptionally long clavicles, your shoulders will be broader than normal and the progress will be even more impressive. We cannot concern ourselves too much about how long or how short a person's clavicle bones are. A person can still improve his shoulder width by proper weight training and this is the reason for writing this book.

This book is designed to help you improve your shoulders as quickly and completely as it is possibly known today. we have not left out any muscle group and have concerned ourselves with the small muscles as well as the large muscle groups of the shoulders.

I strongly suggest that you follow the courses outlined as they are written. Do not deviate from them, if at all possible. All of the courses are written exactly as we feel they should be done and are placed as they are for a particular reason. If you find that one exercise seems to bother your shoulders, I suggest you stop the exercise and supplement it with another that does not bother you.

Concentration while you are doing an exercise is extremely important and will speed the progress of the muscle. Be sure that you do not get in the habit of handling too much weight as to do the exercise improperly. Always train within your limits. Keep a positive attitude towards your workouts and think even more positively about the muscle group that you are trying to bring along a little faster and you will be sure to show remarkable improvement. Train hard and be consistent.

Training Advice
Shoulders can be developed. Even though one does not have the bone structure for broad shoulders, muscles can be developed to broaden and give the desired width to your shoulders. If you are fortunate enough to have the natural wide shoulders which every bodybuilder desires you can still improve them by working these exercises along with your regular training program. If you are going to specialize, do the schedules outlined at the beginning of your workout schedule, and then continue with the balance of your exercises, working your arms, chest, midsection and legs. It is possible to improve your shoulders and continue with your overall body workout.

To get the most from this type of program emphasize strict adherence to the instructions. Do not get sloppy on the execution of the exercises. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Use the prescribed series for at least a period of six weeks and then change and work on series 2-3-4-5. When you are in a balanced condition, work on any weak portion of the deltoids that you feel requires improvement.

It is best to start with the basic movements, then advance to the more difficult forms of shoulder or deltoid work. Bear in mind we are only interested in muscle, and nothing else.

Training Hints

Remember, you must analyze for yourself and decide which part of your deltoids need the most work, then reduce the sets on the strong or better-developed part. Add more sets for the weak part of the shoulders. There is a limit and when excessive sets are done the muscle does not grow, so there is a normal and reasonable amount of work to bring about the best results. To eliminate confusion follow this procedure. Do not add sets if the back part of your deltoid is weak and the side is not. Instead of doing five sets of an exercise for building the side portion of the deltoid, cut it down to two to three sets and work harder on the exercises which work and build the rear deltoid. Now, as stated before, overworking a muscle will tend to hold its growth back. It is a matter of the muscle never being able to fully recuperate and build in size and strength.

One must find the normal output for themselves. We have given you what we feel is the right number of sets and you can either increase or reduce the amount, whatever fits your particular physical makeup.

Training Programs

Follow each program for three days per week for a period of six weeks. The programs below are for individuals who have been training for a period of years. Beginners should do only one set of each exercise on Routine One. After completing the six week period, start Routine Two and do two sets of each exercise. Do not do more than three sets of each exercise until you have been working out for at least a year or more.

Work within your own limit.

Routine One

 1) Military Press  3 x 8-10.
This is the standard military press. Clean the weight to the chest, or take the weight from stands. Lock the legs and hips solidly. This will give you a solid platform from which to push. Keep the elbows in slightly under the bar, press the weight overhead, lock the arms out. When lowering the barbell to the chest, be sure it rests on the chest and is not held with the arms. If the chest is held high it will give a you a nice shelf on which to place the barbell and to push from. Inhale before the press and exhale when lowering the bar.

Military press

2) Upright Rowing 3 x 8-10
This is an excellent trapezius and deltoid exercise. Place hands on the barbell at roughly shoulder width. Keep the body erect and stationary and pull the weight to the top position at or above nipple height. Keep the barbell in close and pause momentarily at the top. Concentrate as you slowly lower the bar to starting position. Inhale up and exhale down.

3) Seated Dumbbell Press  3 x 8-10
Clean dumbbells to shoulders and sit on bench, placing one foot slightly ahead of the other to form a stable base. With the palms facing each other press the bells to arms' length overhead. Be sure to completely straighten the arms. Inhale before pressing overhead, exhale when lowering back to the shoulders.

4) Bentover Deltoid Raise 3 x 8
Lock the elbows and keep the arms straight. Bring the dumbbells to the top position and hold and contract the muscles. Do not swing the dumbbells up, keep the body rigid and strongly work the muscles of the deltoids and upper back. Be sure to bring the dumbbells straight out to the sides, inhaling up and exhaling down.

Routine Two

1) Standing Press Behind Neck 4 x 8-10
Stand with feet placed a comfortable distance apart. Use quite a wide grip, wider than shoulder width on the bar. Keep the elbows directly under the bar. Press the barbell overhead to lockout. Inhale as you press overhead and exhale as you lower to your shoulders. Maintain a solid foundation by keeping the legs straight and the hips flexed. Pause at the shoulder before pressing the barbell overhead. Make a full movement of the exercise by touching the barbell to the shoulders each time it is lowered and locking the elbows each time it is pressed overhead.

2) Bentover Barbell Row 4 x 8
Use a wide grip on the bar and a wide foot spacing. you can bend the knees or keep the legs straight. The important thing is to bend forward at the waist and maintain a straight back. Keep the arms straight, pull he barbell up to the chest and make a definite pause. Lower the bar back to arms' length. Be sure to work the muscle both ways when pulling up and letting the weight down. Do your repetitions slowly and smoothly. Do not drop the shoulders or round the back. Inhale on the upward pull to the chest. By keeping the waist drawn in and the chest out, it will be easier to touch your chest with the bar and maintain a flat back position. Exhale when lowering the bar back to arms' length.

3) Seated Alternate Dumbbell Press 3 x 8
Clean dumbbells and sit down. Start with bells at shoulders. Press dumbbell in right hand to arms' length overhead, keeping dumbbell in left hand at the shoulder. Lower right dumbbell back to shoulder and press right dumbbell overhead. Maintain a rigid body position doing all the work with the shoulder and arm. Do not lean from side to side while pressing. Inhale up, exhale down.

4) Barbell Forward Raise 3 x 8-10
Use a shoulder width grip on barbell and stand with it at arms' length. Rest bar on thighs. Keeping elbows locked and arms straight, raise barbell over head. Slowly lower bar back to thighs, keeping arms straight. Inhale at starting position and exhale as bar is returned from overhead.

Routine Three

1) Wide Grip Upright Row 3 x 6-8
This is a more difficult type of upright rowing exercise. The deltoids are worked more and much concentration is required to perform it correctly. Start with the barbell at arms' length, resting on the thighs, but with a wider than shoulder-width hand spacing. Pull barbell up to a position at or above the nipples. Pause while contracting strongly, then lower to starting position. Inhale up, exhale down.

2) Seated Press Behind Neck 4 x 6-8
This is performed as the regular standing press behind neck, only in a seated position. Rest the bar on your shoulders between each rep and set yourself for the press.

3) Crucifix 3 x 6-8
To handle a substantial poundage, stand in a solid position and press two dumbbells to arms' length overhead. Slowly lower them with straight arms and locked elbows to the sides at shoulder height. Attempt to hold arms in position for a count of 5 to 10. The purpose of the crucifix is to use the deltoids as a support and this places a stress of a different nature upon the muscles. Inhale while pressing the dumbbells overhead and exhale as they are lowered.

4) Seated Alternate Dumbbell Raise 3 x 8
Sit with dumbbells held at arms' length at sides. With dumbbell in left hand in down position, raise dumbbell in right hand to arm's length overhead. Lower right arm to position hanging straight at side, raise the left arm. Inhale upward and exhale when lowering dumbbell.

5) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 2 x 8-10

Routine Four

1) One Arm Military Press 3 x 5-8
Using a dumbbell when pressing can allow you to get a lower position and fuller range of movement. Clean the bell to the shoulder. Keep the heels together and extend other arm for balance. Keep the body straight, press dumbbell to arm's length overhead. Work should be done entirely with shoulder and arm. Inhale and press overhead, exhale as you lower it to shoulder.

2) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 3 x 8-10

3) Seated Military Press 4 x 5-8
This exercise is done exactly as standing military press, only in a sitting position, and in a stricter fashion. First, clean the barbell to the shoulders, sit down, and place the feet in evenly. Do not stagger the position of the feet in this exercise. Keep the chest high and back straight and press the barbell to arms' length overhead. Do the press slowly and steadily, keeping tension on the muscles at all times, except when barbell is resting on chest. Breathe the same as the regular military press.

4) Alternate Standing Dumbbell Raise 3 x 8
Assume a solid stance with a dumbbell in each hand. Inhale and raise the right arm overhead and to the front, keeping arm straight. Exhale as you lower the bell back to starting position. Raise left arm, keeping position stationary. Do not lean forward or backwards. Do the work with deltoid muscle and work each arm, one repetition at a time.

5) Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 x 8
Sit erect with arms extended by the sides. Raise them to just above shoulder height. The angle of the raise should be between the position of the regular lateral raise and the forward raise. Inhale before raising the bells, exhale as they are lowered under control.

Routine Five

1) Seated Press in Front and Behind Neck 4 x 8
This is one of the very best shoulder exercises. It must be done properly to obtain the full results. First, clean a barbell to your shoulders and sit down on a bench. Press to arms' length. Lower barbell to behind neck to the shoulders. Do not relax or rest at the shoulder, press the bar back to arms' length, lower it to the chest and repeat again. Keep the bar in motion throughout the exercise. This is a compound exercise and four presses to front and four to back are performed. Inhale up, exhale down.

2) Standing Lateral Raise 4 x 8
In a comfortable stance, start with dumbbells at arms' length, palms facing in toward the thighs. Slowly raise dumbbells to a position a little above shoulder height, pause and contract the deltoid, then lower back to starting position. Keep the arms straight and elbows locked throughout the execution of this exercise. Inhale when raising, exhale when lowering.

3) One Arm Rowing 4 x 8
Use a bench, placing one hand on the bench for support and spreading the feet wide. This will give you balance. Keep the back straight and extend the arm fully. Next, pull the dumbbell to the chest, keeping the elbow pointed outwards which will allow you to pull the bell higher and work the latissimus more fully. The dumbbell is pulled in a straight line. There is no rotating motion. Inhale on the upward pull and exhale when extending the arm to a straight position.

4) Bent Arm Lateral Raise 3 x 6-8
This is a standing version of the seated dumbbell lateral raise, exercise number 5 in routine 4.

5) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 2 x 8-10

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Incredible Deltoid Thickness. By Larry Scott

Incredible Deltoid Thickness
By Larry Scott
Article courtesy of
(Mr. Anthony Ditillo)

These routines are designed for those who are past the beginning stage and now have the knowledge, experience and understanding to recognize the vernacular of the terrain in which we will travel. I will not spend a lot of time on beginning concepts but will jump right into the real heart of advanced delt training.

Remember to listen to your body as it gives you feedback. You may find some of the sets and reps not quite to your satisfaction. If this is the case, feel free to change them whenever necessary. Don't change just because it's hard, however. Delt work is not easy.
Some Comments

The goal of most bodybuilders is to build shoulders of really massive proportions. They don't care how, just as long as those shoulders stun the average person with their barn-door width.

Unfortunately, this is just about all the average bodybuilder knows about the deltoids. Most are completely unaware of the three heads of the deltoid and how to develop each one. They are:

1.) The Anterior, or frontal head.
2.) The Lateral, or side deltoid.
3.) The Posterior, or rear deltoid.

The lateral is the most popular deltoid head, as it is the one that contributes the most to shoulder width. Steve Reeves was one of the leading proponents of developing this muscle, and it was really a sight to see him working them. He used to do Incline Seated Laterals until the area fairly burst with blood!

Although the lateral head of the deltoid is the most popular of the three, it is not the one worked the most - the anterior (front) head gets that honor. Sounds rather confusing doesn't it? Well, the answer lies in both the fact that Dips, Presses, and Bench Presses work the anterior head very strongly, and also the fact that most bodybuilders simply use improper form in doing their lateral deltoid work.

Finally, we come to the posterior (rear) deltoid. This poor fellow hardly gets any work at all. It's just left to fend for itself, growing through auxiliary exercises alone. If Nature was quick to do away with dis-used bodyparts, the posterior deltoid would soon atrophy into non-existence.

Yet this lowly muscle is extremely important in developing depth in the shoulder region, for without it the shoulder will appear flat from the side. It appears flat because that's just exactly what it is - flat.

We have a saying around Vince's Gym. "Sure, he looks good from the front but is he a surfboard?" You've all seen surfboards or pictures of them. They are wide and very, very flat. A "surfboard" bodybuilder is just the same -- wide but flat. They have no posterior deltoids at all. If you want this thin and round-shouldered appearance - OK. But if you want the well-rounded look of a champion, then posterior deltoid work is a real must.

The trouble encountered in deltoid work is complex and requires a real study of the movement of each individual head of the deltoid throughout an exercise motion. As mentioned before, the anterior deltoid is usually worked while the trainee is allegedly bombing his lateral deltoid head. The reason for this is the position of the elbows. It takes only a slight shift in their angle to transfer the stress of the exercise to the wrong deltoid head.

To help correct this, you should remove your training shirt and watch the movement of the muscle as you are working it. This is one time to really be a mirror athlete. Use that mirror to watch the three heads and make doubly sure you are properly working the muscle.

There are many problems such as this in your deltoid training and in my exercise routines I've endeavored to solve as many of these problems as I possibly can. That is why I urge you to follow exactly as I explain all the exercise movements in the routines. Probably one of the reasons why deltoid work is so popular is the difficulty in obtaining good deltoids. It's the old law of supply and demand; the harder it is to get, the greater the value.


Down the Rack Bentover Laterals
Down the Rack Dumbbell Presses
Down the Rack Side Lateral Raises

I have used all four of these routines many times including combinations or each. I am currently, as of this writing, using Routine #2, but Routine #1 is probably my favorite. A person will go stale on any exercises, no matter how result-producing them might be for a time, and it's necessary to keep the routines in a state of flux to avoid poor return on effort expended.

I have started this routine out with Bentover Lateral Raises as this movement has the arm hanging from the shoulder socket in such a way as to cause the least trauma to the shoulder joint area. I find this approach keeps from injuring my shoulder which is much better than starting out with presses, as I did for so many years.

Look closely at how I have my head resting on the dumbbell rack via the padded towel. This takes all the strain off my lower back and allows me to really grind out the extra burn reps.

Warm Up
I would suggest starting with a light set of dumbbells and doing about 10 reps, then immediately increasing the weight by going to the next heavy set of dumbbells. Do this set of 10 reps, and repeat with a heavier set. Three sets should be adequate to warm up. If the shoulders are still stiff and cold, do a few more sets until the shoulder area is warm and you are beginning to feel the glow of a good beginning pump.

Exercise #1 - Bentover Lateral Raise
Sets and Reps: Start with the heaviest set of dumbbells you can handle for 8 reps. You can rest your head on the rack or just bend over. To get the best rhythm, let one dumbbell come in higher than the other. This will keep the dumbbells from banging together on the bottom of the movement. Start heavy and work down the rack in 10-lb. jumps with little or no rest between sets.

Do about 5-6 sets of 8 reps. I like a 5-lb. drop in dumbbells to keep me from using the light dumbbells which give a "false pump." Burns: After having completed each set of 8 reps, lift the dumbbells as you see me doing in the photo. It's very similar to the bentover rowing motion and will give you a terrific burn in the rear deltoid. Do about 4 burns after each 8-rep set.

Exercise #2 - Down the Rack Dumbbell Press, Standing
This is the real granddaddy of all deltoid movements. It has a few weak points, but in the proper situation, it's the real key to building good, thick deltoids.

The two areas one has to be careful about are as follows: The deltoids must be warmed up completely before using any heavy weight on this movement. It's easy to injure the deltoid or actually the joint area, and it takes months for a sore shoulder to heal completely. The second weakness of standing dumbbell presses is the tendency to build frontal or anterior deltoid out of proportion to the other deltoid heads. If these two negatives can be successfully overcome, you are in for a pleasant surprise on deltoids.

Be sure to warm up properly by working up the rack. First, to overcome the tendency to overwork frontal deltoids , we are going to employ a few tricks you may not have heard of. I know you will not be as strong, but remember, it's the side and rear deltoids we want to take care of. The frontal deltoid will take care of itself.

Stand about 4 inches away from the rack and lean off-balance into the rack. Now press the dumbbells so that you are trying to touch your elbows together somewhere up and behind your head. You, of course, can't actually accomplish this feat but it gives you a plane of movement I want you to concentrate on. The dumbbells are not pressed all the way up nor do they get lowered all the way down. A movement employing the middle 3/5 of the motion is correct.

You see, the top 1/5 is purely triceps and begins to cause one to lean back and thus we get lower back injuries. The bottom 1/5 is almost all traps and the deltoids actually rest. Yes, it's the middle 3/5 we are after to really stress the delts.
Sets and Reps: After having thoroughly warmed up, start with the heaviest set of dumbbells which you can use for 6 good reps. The first set should be tough. Continue on down the rack for about 6 sets. Try to minimize your rest whenever possible.

Exercise #3 - Side Lateral Raise
This is the one of the most difficult of all exercises to do correctly. Everyone tries to use too much weight at first and the frontal deltoid takes over and destroys the proper movement.

The legs are slightly bent. The dumbbells are held firmly with the little finger side of the hand against the plates. The dumbbells are raised to the side and just at the top of the movement, the shoulders drop a few inches and the dumbbells "drop a little water."
I further explain; let me suggest you imagine the dumbbells are full of water. At the beginning of the movement, the dumbbells are held so no water runs out the front end; but right at the top, a little water is dumped just as the shoulders dip.

Exercise #1 - Head Resting on Preacher Bench Bentover Lateral Raise
This is very similar to the Bentover Lateral Raise in Routine #1 but I use the Preacher Bench rather than the dumbbell rack because I can get a better movement on the dumbbells and the padding is more comfortable. Also I can adjust the Preacher Bench to whatever height I want but the rack is fixed.

Sets and Reps: After warming up do 4-6 sets of decreasing weight sets with no rest between sets. Do about 10 reps per set. Remember, start with the heaviest set of dumbbells you can use.

Exercise #2 - Seated Dumbbell Press
I am using the Preacher Bench here as my back rest to keep the stress on the side lat deltoid head as much as possible. It's excellent for this purpose.

This movement is not as good as standing dumbbell presses because I can't lean forward into the rack. Consequently, the frontal deltoid head gets a little extra work on this movement. I can, however, press the dumbbells higher on this exercise and get a good deep burn because of the excellent support I have for the lower back. That's why I like to use this exercise periodically. 

Sets and Reps: Do 5-6 sets of 8 reps with 2-3 burns at the top of each set. Work down in weight minimizing your rest between sets when possible.

Exercise #3 - One Arm Side Lateral Raise
Normally, I would not recommend doing any movement which includes using only one arm at a time, but sometimes it's fun to throw out all the rules and do something that just feels different.

Try to really resist and hold the dumbbell from dropping. You won't be able to use much weight on this exercise, but it's great for building the side deltoid or, more succinctly, building wider shoulders.

Sets and Reps: Because one arm rests while the other works, you won't need to drop the weight from set to set. Just keep right on using the same weight for 4-5 sets of 10-12 reps. No rest at all between sets.

Exercise #1 - Bentover Lateral Raise and Robby Lift
Done exactly as illustrated in Routine #1, Exercise #1.
The Robby Lift is the same as burns. I picked up this idea from Robby Robinson.
Sets and Reps: 5-6 sets of 8 reps with 4 burns after each 8 rep set.

Exercise #2 - Down the Rack Dumbbell Press (Cycling)
Done just like the dumbbell presses in Routine #1 but with an interesting variation.
It seems the deltoids are masters of disguise as are many of the muscle groups. The deltoids, however, are most worthy of this title. As one starts down the rack, the shoulders protest and scream from all the pain. Even as the weights get lighter and lighter, the shoulders still continue their protest. Based on the pain, one would be convinced the deltoids are truly working at maximum capacity. It's not true. As you move down the rack to the lighter dumbbells, the shoulders are recuperating and could handle heavier weights, even though the light dumbbells are still causing pain.

CYCLING DOWN THE RACK rips the disguise off the deltoids and exposes their true ability.
Assume one started with 80-lb. dumbbells -- decreasing to 70's, then 65's, then 60's. Rather than dropping down to the 55's for the next set, jump back up to the 70's. You will be surprised at the power reserve you will find. Continue on down the rack in this fashion.
Let me give an example of a typical cycle down the rack:
Sets and Reps: Do 6 reps per set and cycle down over about 12 sets.

Exercise #3 - Pulley Side Lateral
Done just as shown. Fantastic for building the side deltoid. Remember, don't lean back. If anything, lean forward so the rear deltoid will help rather than the frontal delt.
Sets and Reps: Do about 6-7 sets of 10-12 reps.


This routine is a rather artsy program which is fun to remove the boredom of weight lifting. Although it's good for variation, it probably won't last as long between stales as the three previous routines.

Exercise #1 - Seated Press Behind Neck
Done in the standard fashion, excellent for building deltoid power and massive frontal delts.
Sets and Reps: Warm up first. Do 6-8 sets of 8 reps using as heavy a weight as possible.

Exercise #2 - Spider Bench Bentover Lateral Raise
A very restricted movement which builds rear deltoids and also fills in Teres Major, Rhomboids, and Trapezius. Because of the very strict movement, you won't be able to use much weight.
Sets and Reps: 4 sets of decreasing weight sets - no rest between sets. Do about 8 reps per set.

Exercise #3 - Incline Bench Side Lateral Raise
Here's one Steve Reeves thought was terrific. He certainly had the shoulders to prove it works. Really concentrate on the side deltoid head building and growing.
Sets and Reps: Do 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps per set.


You have four excellent routines to pick from. I personally have always loved shoulder work. Being somewhat narrow by nature, I have been required to work especially hard on my shoulders. These routines are products of many years of experimentation and they will make you grow.

If they seem a little too hard, back off on some of the sets and ease into the schedule as I have outlined. I think you will find some real pleasure in the results you get from these routines.

Don't forget your nutrition. Remember, you can't build a brick wall with just workmen. You must have bricks.

Enjoy your workout!