One of the reasons why Arnold Schwarzenegger stood out among his peers were his massive delts, which he built with the help of his mind-numbing high-volume, high-frequency training approach. Where others would call it a day, The Oak went for more, so it’s no wonder why he went to become the world’s greatest bodybuilder. Today, although many bodybuilders are dreaming to achieve his status, only a few of them are willing to put in the required amount of effort. And anyone who wants pro-level gains has to make sure they’re prepared to commit to a pro-level training regime. You think you could handle it?
Here’s a peek into Schwarzenegger’s unique shoulder workout that you can use to boost your delt growth beyond the imaginable.
#1. Try the Arnold Press
This movement was Arnold’s most reliable technique for building mighty, bulging delts. The starting position is the finish position of a biceps curl – palms facing you, elbows fully flexed, dumbbells at shoulder height. From here, press the weights up while twisting your arms so that your palms face forward at the top. Finish the movement in the standard overhead press position. This press variant is widely praised for its ability to offer a greater recruitment of the front delts and lead to superior muscle building benefits in comparison with its more traditional counterpart.
#2. Spice up your dumbbell lateral raises
Back in the day, Schwarzenegger was famous for his tendency to experiment with novel muscle building techniques, always looking for a better way to work his muscles to the maximum. So for example, while performing dumbbell lateral raises, he found that a great way to isolate his middle delts was by rotating his palms back so that his pinkie fingers were higher than his thumbs on the way up. He also regularly raised his arms higher than parallel to the floor before lowering the weights in order to achieve optimal contraction.
#3. Use Drop Sets
Drop sets are a technique where you perform a set of a given exercise to failure and then reduce the weight and continue for more reps until you reach failure with the reduced poundage. To enable maximum hypertrophy, Schwarzenegger used dropsets for lateral raises, starting with a heavy weight to failure, then gradually dropping the weight in five-pound increments until he reached the bottom of the rack. This allowed him to recruit a greater amount of different muscle fibers and stimulate muscle growth that couldn’t be achieved by using the same weight for a same number of sets.
Another great technique he employed while training his delts were trisets comprised of overhead barbell presses, upright rows and lateral raises, in that exact order.
#4. Finish off with isometrics
An isometric contraction occurs when the muscle tenses and generates force without changing its length. One of the major benefits of isometric contractions is that they provide the body with an ability to activate nearly all the available motor units, which normally is very hard to do. Schwarzenegger recognized the potential of isometric training and applied it to many of his favorite exercises, such as lateral raises. He used it as a finisher to his regular set of lateral raises by picking up a heavier set of dumbbells and holding them out to his sides for as long as he could, focusing on the intense burn in his shoulders.
Use these 4 tips in your regular shoulder workout to see stimulate more muscle damage and reap greater gains fast!