The level up series-Delts

Press, row, and raise your way to
broader shoulders with this back-tothe-basics shoulder smash

BUILDING DELTOIDS THAT POP OUT OF A TANK

top doesn’t require you to get cute or creative in the gym. The tried-and-true recipe of an overhead press, an upright row, and one or two lateral raise variations is still a surefire template for building wider, thicker shoulders. So why fix what’s not broken? The Level Up workout isn’t that much different from the Straight Up delt routine that we’ve previously featured. We’ve switched the overhead press from seated to standing to challenge your core more, subbed in a Smith machine for upright rows, added a double dropset, and finished things off with a rear/ side lateral superset—slightly different mechanisms, but the same basic movements to widen your V-taper.

SEATED DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: Stick with the same set of dumbbells you used for bentover laterals, since you’re doing the two moves back-to-back. Take each set to failure and don’t worry about how many reps you get—just make sure it burns on every set.

BENTOVER DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: Err on the lighter side for this exercise; a superheavy pair of dumbbells will do you no good here. Keep the movement strict, with zero momentum, and focus on squeezing the contraction in the rear delts at the top of each rep.

STANDING DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: Keep a slight bend in your knees throughout, and don’t arch your back at any point during the movement. Keep your core tight and your chest facing forward the entire set.

SMITH MACHINE WIDE-GRIP UPRIGHT ROW

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: We chose the Smith machine, as it’s more stable, which works for the drop sets you’ll be performing. We also recommend placing lighter plates on the bar, since they can be stripped more easily— e.g., three 10-pound plates on each side, or a 25 and two 10s. After reaching failure, take one plate off each side and rep out to failure. Repeat.

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STRAIGHT UP

EXERCISE SETS REPS
Seated Dumbbell
Overhead Press
4 15, 10,8, 6
Upright Row 4 15, 12,10, 8
Standing Dumbbell
Lateral Raise
(thumbs down)
3 10,8, 8
Dumbbell
“Delt Archers”
3 12, 10,10

As published in the April 2013 issue of M&F.

LEVEL UP

EXERCISE SETS REPS
Standing Dumbbell
Overhead Press
4 10, 8, 6, 6*
Smith Machine
Wide-grip
Upright Row
3 8-10**
Bentover Dumbbell
Lateral Raise
3 10-12
Seated Dumbbell
Lateral Raise
3 To failure

*Pyramid up in weight every set.  **Perform a double dropset after the final set.

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