A two-part workout for winning delts
You walk out onto the pageant stage into the glare of the lights, fighting mascara-blurring blinks. The audience is lost in black on black void but you know the judges are down there somewhere just below you.
Let me repeat: just below you.
Invariably, the judges who score you highly or poorly in the swimsuit or fitness portion of a pageant will be seated with their eye level at your knees and thighs.
Are your knees and thighs sleek, long, pageant-winning perfection? If not, read on. If so, read on too.
It’s all about perspective
If your legs are less than perfect, you’d be smart to use some magician’s misdirection. Draw the judges’ eyes upward – gaining a better overall assessment – by showing them a serious set of shoulders.
Ever study perspective in art class? When the judges look up from their darkened lair, foreshortening makes your shoulders appear smaller than they are. But your waist and hips and thighs – many women’s constant struggle – are closer; perspective makes them look wider and bigger.
And women rarely give a thought to deltoid development, so many tend to have narrow, undeveloped, sloping shoulders. Not good for swim suit/fitness scores, not good for evening gown.
My rule is: “Your shoulders must be wider than your hips.” If they aren’t, you should work your shoulders heavy and hit all three heads of the deltoid muscles – front, medial and rear. And hit them with at least two different exercises on two days each week.
Three heads are better than one
You can efficiently shape three heads of your deltoids with just two different exercises using compound and antagonistic movements, two exercises that stress different or opposite areas of the shoulder.
With each of the two exercises, you’ll do three sets of repetitions. So, six shoulder sets per day.
If you’re Angela Bassett…
Or Jessica Biel or another lucky gal with a sculpted set of shoulders, you still need to work them. Two exercises, twice a week as above. But stay in the 5- to 7.5-pound range and go for 15-20 reps.
Shoulder Polishing Workout #1
Here is a two-part workout for your entire shoulder, and you can do it sitting down.
Tues/Thurs – 3 sets of Seated Dumbbell Presses
These strengthen and shape the front and middle delts, plus the triceps:
- Sit on an incline bench with the back at a 90-degree angle. Bring two dumbbells to shoulder level, palms turned forward. Your elbows should stay directly under the dumbbells.
- Slowly press the dumbbells up from your shoulders until your arms are straight above you. Reverse and slowly lower back to starting position. Repeat.
To build: 15 reps, 12 reps and 10 reps – going up in weight each time
To tone: 15 reps x 3 – same weight
Weight loss: 20 reps x 3 – same weight
TIP: Don’t cheat by rocking your body.
VARIATIONS: Rotate hands on the upward movement. Sit on a flat bench or an exercise ball to further stress stabilizing muscles. This is called an “Arnold” press – a favorite of Mr. Schwarzenegger.
3 sets of Seated Dumbbell Front Raises
This exercise develops the front deltoid muscle:
- Sit on an incline bench with the back raised to 90 degrees or on an exercise ball. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, touching the upper thighs, with palms turned to the front of your body.
- Raise both arms up until parallel to the floor. Hold, flexing the shoulder muscle. Return slowly to the position. Repeat.
REPS: Same as above.
TIP: Keep your elbows locked and arms close to your body. Don’t hold your breath.
VARIATIONS: Use alternating arms. Use a barbell instead of dumbbells.