START: Stand with your knees slightly bent and, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing each other, bend forward from the hips like a jackknife, keeping your back flat and your head up. Allow your arms to hang straight down from your shoulders and bend your elbows slightly.
MOVE: Slowly lift the dumbbells up and out to the sides of your body, pulling through the rear delts and rhomboids. Pause a moment at the top of the motion before slowly lowering the weights back down to the start. "Avoid the use of momentum by lifting the dumbbells slowly and deliberately, and imagining the distance between your shoulder blades getting smaller as you raise the weights," Craig recommends.
START: Stand with your knees slightly bent, your back straight and your focus forward. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your thighs with your palms facing your body. MOVE: Imagining that your shoulder is the only point in your body that is mobile, slowly lift one dumbbell in front of you, raising it to a level slightly above your delts. Pause for a moment at the peak contraction before slowly lowering the weight back to the start. Repeat with the other arm. "Try doing three reps with one arm, then three on the other," Craig suggests. "Alternate like that until you get 15-20 reps on each arm. That's one set, and one killer burn."
DUMBBELL SHRUG (pictured on page 51)
START: At the end of every shoulder workout, Craig invariably performs five sets of dumbbell shrugs to smack the muscle that sits between his delts — the traps. Stand comfortably upright, feet a little less than shoulder-width apart, and hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
MOVE: Slowly shrug your shoulders to lift the dumbbells. Be careful not to bend your elbows as you lift the weights. At the top, pause for a moment and contract hard through your traps and rhomboids before slowly lowering the weights back to the start.
MORE WORKOUTS TO TRY:
#20) As each focuses on one of the three delt heads, you can use #20, #21 and #22 in concert; rotate between the three every shoulder workout. #21) Here you hit middle delts first while you're fresh. The reverse pec-deck machine in this workout can be found in most gyms; it is a pec deck where you can adjust the handles, sit backward in the machine, extend your arms and perform what essentially looks like a reverse flye. If you don't have access to this machine, any variation of a bent-over dumbbell lateral will suffice.
#22) The front delt usually gets a lot of work during any shoulder or chest workout, but in combination with 20 and 21, this front-focused routine works well. #23) If you're noticeably weak in your presses, here's your chance to rectify the situation. Once you can handle more weight, you should find that muscle growth comes easier to your delts, even after you switch to another routine. #2^1) Using stability-building Swiss ball moves and isometric holds, this workout is a way to break out of your comfort zone and start growing again. #25) Once you have some shoulder bulk, carve those delts into cannonballs. #26) This is for those ready to take their efforts to the next level.
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The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.