If you want to build wider shoulders fast you need to narrow your shoulder exercise selection and broaden the weight selection you use when performing them. In this video, I show you how a simple side lateral shoulder raise can do everything you need it to do to create extra width in your delts. You just need to be willing to perform the shoulder exercise with both heavy and light weights.
ANATOMY OF THE SHOULDER
First, let’s start with a little shoulder anatomy. The middle head of the delt is the one that is most visible when looked at from the front. It is the one that is going to create the most lateral width in the delts. That said, both the front delt and rear delt has overlap anatomically with the middle delt and doing exercises to improve them will only benefit the way your shoulders look from any angle.
SIDE LATERAL RAISE
That said, when it comes to building up the middle head of the delts your best exercise option is the side lateral raise with a dumbbell. First of all, it is a good idea to do these only one arm at a time instead of two arms at the same time. This will give you a better chance to concentrate on doing the exercise correctly and limiting the amount of muscle substitution that occurs when you do your lateral raises.
The second benefit here is that when you have to lift two dumbbells at once, you are asking that your core be able to stabilize the combined weight of the dumbbells. This is twice as hard than if you were to introduce just a single dumbbell at a time, thereby putting the focus more on the delts than on the core and helping you to get more from it.
When you are ready to perform the exercise you have two major options; both of which need to be performed if you want to maximally build up your shoulders. The first is to grab a light dumbbell and do the lateral raise with a focus more on muscle recruitment and metabolic overload. The light dumbbell should give you a chance to isolate the middle delt as much as possible and make it do the lion’s share of the work.
The increased workload will go a long way towards improving your muscle growth while helping you to establish a better mind muscle connection with a muscle that often times sorely lacks this. When performed with the lighter weights, you are able to crank out more repetitions and get a metabolic stress reaction. The accumulation of both lactic acid and hydrogen ions in the muscle (the things that cause your muscle to burn when you are performing the exercise) provides a chemical stimulus for growth that cannot and should not be ignored.
HEAVY WEIGHT – THE CHEAT LATERAL RAISE
That said, lifting light weights alone would rob you of a chance to provide muscle growth and width in the shoulders from an alternative stimulus – heavy weights and progressive overload. This is where the cheat lateral raise comes in. Here you want to swap out the light dumbbell for a heavy one. The initiation of the movement is less about isolated muscle contraction and more about getting more weight to the top of the exercise.
From here, you do your best to eccentrically contract the middle delts to slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. The acceleration of the weight on the concentric part of the lift takes advantage of another growth stimulus – compensatory acceleration – that helps to recruit more type II muscle fibers which are more capable of growing faster than slow twitch fibers.
SO WHICH IS BEST?
Either way, my best recommendation for getting wider shoulders fast is that you not only be sure that you lift both heavy and light weights when you perform you shoulder lateral raises but that you immediately start prioritizing whichever you aren’t doing enough of right now. For example, if you lift mostly heavy weights for your shoulders then introducing the lighter dumbbells is going to have a fast impact on the response you see from this exercise.
On the contrary, if you introduce heavy weights to a regimen that is mostly build around lifting lighter weights then you will be shocked at how quickly your shoulders respond to the cheat lateral raises. Just remember to not become attached too much to a single way of loading your shoulders and be sure to include both if you want to see the best results from your training.
If you want to build not only your best shoulders but every muscle in your body faster, then it is time you start putting science behind every workout and exercise you do. I’ve done that for you already in a step by step plan available at athleanx.com at the link below. Click there and grab the ATHLEAN-X Training System and start training like an athlete (and growing like one) today.
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Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.