Wide is Wonderful

Pressing Movements For Deltoids

You seldom recommend pressing movements for the deltoids (shoulders) yet I have noticed that a great number of Olympic lifters of the past who did presses had really great deltoids, and even present lifters who do jerks have huge shoulders.

Are you against pressing for shoulder development?

I must admit that I have not got results from pressing, and certainly prefer more isolation-type exercises such as lateral raise for deltoid development.

Larry Scott did use a type of pressing movement very successfully. He used dumbells but maintained a constant tension on the deltoids by not "locking out" at the top of the pressing movement.

This exercise became known as the Scott Press and later was adopted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and consequently the movement is also known as the Arnold Press.

You mention that Olympic lifters who jerk heavy weights tend to have large deltoids. Has it not occurred to you that they also clean the weight to the shoulders before jerking it? I have great respect for the wide grip upright row motion (a strict form of cleaning a barbell).

Use this exercise in your shoulder training routine and see those deltoids grow!

Effective Shoulder Movements

I noticed in your book "Unleashing the Wild Physique" which you wrote with MuscleMag’s editor Bob Kennedy, that you recommend shoulder exercises that I have never heard of, such as the dumbbell press and negative lateral movement, the high bench lateral raise, the dumbbell side swing, the dumbbell circle and the Scott press.

Are these really good shoulder movements or are you just trying to show us bodybuilders that you know more different movements than anyone else?

Vince, I badly need shoulder size, especially width. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I "borrowed" a complete weight set from a friend of mine and I am getting a bench from an Uncle next week, so I have the equipment I need.

Answer soon Vince - I can’t train until I hear from you on this.

Here we go again! First the guy insults me, almost calls me a liar; and then he asks for advice.

I can't really help too much without knowing what you look like, and what your present routine is.

Send me a picture of yourself (if you dare) and I'll put it in this column together with some direct advice on shoulder work, especially for you. Include also your height, weight and current routine.

Meanwhile go for four sets of eight reps in the high pullup with barbell and four sets of eight reps with the standing lateral raise.

I know it’s hard in these depressive times, but try and hold back on the rudeness when you next write to me.

The only good thing you've done is buy my book. Or did you "borrow" that too?

How To Fix Narrow Shoulders

Vince, I have narrow shoulders. I realize that I cannot widen my scapulae but what in your opinion is the best exercise to make my delts look wider?

To look wider you must work on the side head. Lateral raises strongly work the side head if the little finger is kept higher than the thumb as the bells are raised.

But I think the best shoulder broadener I know is the barbell upright row. To place emphasis on the side head, you must use a wide grip. Grasp the barbell with your hands 15 inches wide. Stand upright with the shoulders rounded, knees bent and the bar resting on the thighs. From this position, pull the bar up to the neck but be sure not to hunch your shoulders back. Keep them down or you will work traps. You must keep the shoulders rounded and the elbows forward.

Use a smooth, piston-like movement. Try 4 sets of the following reps: 10-8-6-15. Make sure you do not heave back at the top of the movement and concentrate on working delts, not traps.

The Secret To Big Delts

I need wide, thick shoulders.

Please give me the secrets. I must have shoulders by next spring or summer at the latest.

Can you believe it? This man is demanding shoulders. He’s even giving me a deadline!

My friend, wide delts are mainly a result of wide clavicles. The bones that form the "natural" width.

The amount of muscle you pack on is something that you have more control over.

Select a couple of quality shoulder exercises (I give four of 'em in my new course "Four Sides to a Muscle") and really go to town.

Do not use excessive weights, but concentrate on pushing the blood through the deltoids with quality reps and only 30 second rests between sets.


Rick WayneDrop sets and down-the-racks are ideal for blasting the deltoids. Down-the-racks were a favorite method of Larry Scott, probably the best small-boned bodybuilder to ever develop delts as massive as those of the big boys.

Deltoid exercises are particularly suited to down-the-rack training. To perform down-the-rack sets, simply warm up for a few sets and then go to the heaviest bells you can get six reps with. As soon as you fail, be it five, six or seven reps, immediately return those bells to the rack and grab the next lighter pair, which will probably be five pounds lighter.

Don't take any rest. Do as many reps as you can and then return those dumbells to the rack, again immediately grabbing the next lighter bells and so on.

You are here: Training Shoulders