Q: Broad shoulders get girls’ attention, but mine are narrow. And on top of that, my delts are flat. Should I do more presses to round them out? I notice in 3D Muscle Building that you have presses as more of a front-delt midrange exercise. Aren’t they good for side delts, too? BTW, I love 4X mass method and am using it almost exclusively.
A: Overhead presses primarily train the front-delt heads. Plus, they can impinge the shoulder capsule if performed incorrectly. That’s why we generally suggest doing them at the end of our delt routine. A good Positions-of-Flexion full-range shoulder hit, 4X style on every move, would be…
Midrange: DB upright rows, 4×10
Stretch: One-arm cable laterals, 3×10
Contracted: Standing laterals, 4×12
Front-delt midrange: Dumbbell presses, 3×10
In the 4X e-book, we have presses listed second, right after dumbbell upright rows. That’s okay for some trainees, but we’ve had problems with our shoulders in the past, so we opt for them at the back end. That means less weight to stress our joints…
Presses do train the side, or medial, head secondarily. They also train that head in the high-contracted position, which is important—something you don’t get with upright rows or laterals. And if you do your presses from about ear level up, you will get continuous tension on the front AND side heads of your shoulders, something also missing from most lateral raises unless you do them on a machine (with DBs, the resistance is zero at the bottom of the stroke)…
You can also try doing seated and standing laterals moving through just the top end—that is, from where the arms are just below parallel to the floor up to level with the top of the head. That keeps wicked tension on the medial head for serious sarcoplasmic expansion—more mass via energy fluid proliferation. That continuous tension is no doubt what you’re missing for new shoulder size…
Another exercise we like in place of DB upright rows is one we learned from famous Hollywood trainer Vince Gironda. It’s called a high upright row. You take a shoulder-width grip on a bar and row it up and out. Pull it up and out about a foot away from your face until the bar is at even with your forehead. You’ll get a major cramping in your side-delt heads, right where you want it for more width in
Remember, 4X is taking a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 35 seconds, then do it again. Continue for four sets, and on the fourth do as many as you can. If you get 10, add a little weight at your next workout. Believe us, you won’t need a lot of weight on 4X high rows—but you’ll see and feel a difference.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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