Other acceptable deltoid exercises

The preceding movements can be considered to be the most efficient shoulder-builders out there. However one doesn't have to limit himself to these exercises alone. Several other movements can be very effective too.

Exercise 82. Military press

Exercise 82. Military press

Key point(s): The military press remains a very effective deltoid exercise. The only reasons why it is not included in the "most effective list" are that tension is removed from the muscles (unloading) at the beginning of the concentric phase (because the bar rests on the clavicle) which is less effective than a loaded stretch position to recruit high-threshold motor units. This problem can be solved by not lowering the bar all the way down (bringing it down to chin level) but that will reduce the muscle stretch. Also note that the barbell doesn't allow for a movement pattern in an arc pattern like with dumbbells.

Exercise 83. Behind the neck press

Exercise 83. Behind the neck press

Key point(s): This movement is actually more effective than the military press when it comes to recruiting HTMUs because putting the bar behind your neck increases shoulder stretch. However the muscle unloading issue is still present. We can remedy the unloading issue by not putting the bar on the shoulders in the low position (only lowering it to ear level) but this will then reduce the deltoid stretch. This exercise is a bit more dangerous than the other shoulder movements.

Exercise 84. Seated or standing lateral raise

Exercise 84. Seated or standing lateral raise

Key point(s): The standing and seated variations of the lateral raise are slightly less effective than the incline version because you cannot get as important of a stretch at the low position. But when properly executed (back end of the dumbbell higher, no cheating) this exercise can be effective.

Exercise 85. Gironda dumbbell swing

Exercise 85. Gironda dumbbell swing

Key point(s): This exercise really doesn't answer the stretch demand of the hypertrophy stimulation process, but as a constant-tension exercise it can be a good addition to a shoulder program, as an assistance movement. The important point is to make the movement continuous: immediately as you reach the contracted position from one side (e.g. picture no.2) you initiate the swing to the other side, no stopping at the top or bottom positions.

Exercise 86. Standing dumbbell external rotation

Exercise 86. Standing dumbbell external rotation

Key point(s): While this is typically a rotator cuff exercise, it can also have a good effect on all three portions of the deltoid provided that the individual tries to stretch the deltoids in the low position by rotating these shoulders as much as possible.

Getting Started With Dumbbells

Getting Started With Dumbbells

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.

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