Arnold Schwarzenegger: Shoulder Workout

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Shoulder WorkoutWhat can be better than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself explaining how to put some size on your shoulders?

Nothing beats that and that is exactly what Arnold did in Round Out Your Delts, which was published in the February issue of M&F.

“Shoulders are one of those rare bodyparts that are often both overtrained and under-trained.

Allow me to explain: With delts playing a part in all chest pressing movements, it’s easy for them to be overtrained and so come up short when shoulders are worked.

The reason I say many people under-train delts is because they stick to the same old moves for shoulders – barbell or dumbbell overhead presses, dumbbell lateral raises, and maybe upright rows.

Before you get trapped in this sort of rut, start working the following moves into your shoulder routine:

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Shoulder Workout

Cable Lateral Raises: I rarely see people in the gym doing their laterals with cables; everyone seems to stick to dumbbells, probably just out of habit.

With cables, not only can you do just as many variations as with dumbbells but the constant tension (which you don’t get with dumbbells) puts greater stress on the lower part of the middle deltoid where it ties into the biceps and triceps.

Try to do at least one cable movement in every shoulder routine – for example, lateral raise, front raise, bent-over lateral raise or cable upright row. The first three can be done with one or both arms and either seated or standing.

Overhead Raises: Another thing I notice is that when people do lateral or front raises with dumbbells, they generally do the traditional version where you stop at shoulder level. Try switching it up sometimes by taking the weight all the way overhead.

Instead of stopping when your arms are parallel to the floor on the lateral raise, keep going so the dumbbells almost touch over your head; on front raises (best done with alternating arms), lift your arms all the way up to perpendicular to the floor.

This takes the shoulders through a greater range of motion, hitting more muscle fibers, and involves the traps. But don’t do this on all your sets of lateral raises or front raises since it will limit the amount of weight you can use.

Moving through this fuller range of motion can also be difficult for those with shoulder problems.

Arnold Presses: I’m not promoting my namesake lift here for the sake of self-gratuity – it really is a great move for both the front and middle deltoids.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height with your palms facing you and your elbows near your sides (as in the top position of dumbbell curls).

As you press the dumbbells, rotate your arms and hands so your palms face forward in the top position (just short of lockout). Reverse on the descent. It’s a tough exercise but also very effective.”

Shoulder Shocker Workout

Throw a wrench into your next deltoid workout with this routine of underutilized but effective shoulder exercises:

Arnold Press: 4 sets – 8 reps

Cable Upright Row: 4 sets – 8/10 reps

Cable Lateral Raise (two arms): 4 sets – 12/15 reps

-superset with-

Dumbbell Front Overhead Raise: 4 sets – 12/15 reps

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4 Responses to “Arnold Schwarzenegger: Shoulder Workout”

  1. Ryan Says:

    Larry Scott built some of the biggest shoulders in bodybuilding, being born with narrow bone structure up there. He didn’t have Arnold’s genetics either. He has always placed dumbbell raises over cable raises. However, I think he would also say dumbbell lateral raises are one of the most incorrectly performed exercises out there. I’ve certainly seen very few who do them correctly. Also, that Arnold Press he’s describing used to be called the Scott Press, just like the preacher curl is also called the Scott curl.


  2. Ryan Says:

    Also, what about posterior deltoid specialization?


  3. Ryan Says:

    My 3 “front-line” exercises are the dumbbell lateral raise for mid-deltoid, the Scott/Arnold Press for the front and middle, and rear lateral raises for the posterior shoulder. I also do lots of row movements which hit the posterior deltoid as well. My “back-up plan” exercises are wide grip upright rows, standard shoulder presses, and wide grip bent-over rows or its dumbbell equivalent.

    Currently, I’m focusing on sheer width, so I’m using Gironda’s 8-by-8 system with dumbbell lateral raises. The low weight enforced by this system aids me in keeping good form. I use regular rep schemes for the other exercises.

    My gut feeling is this workout was not designed to make a truly developed champion shoulder like Arnold competed with in the 70s. Arnold was trained by Gironda; he knows better. It looks like Arnold is aiming this at your average muscle mag reader, who doesn’t care about muscles that they can’t see in the mirror. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else at my gym do any posterior deltoid specialization.


  4. adee Says:

    Arnold is my favorite bodybuilder ever. I love him.


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