Best Deltoid Exercises


Authored by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise 
Published on 08-26-2009

At this point in time, everybody should understand that the upper body is the benchmark in size and strength standards. What exactly consists of the upper body, though? Well, there’s the chest, biceps, triceps, trapezius, upper back, and shoulders. So where do the deltoids fit in?

Deltoid is actually the scientific name for the shoulders. It’s not the prettiest name in the world, but that’s what the exercise physiologists out there decided, so we have to work with it. There are actually multiple parts that make up the deltoids. To identify the best deltoid exercises, we must first establish these individual pieces. The anterior, or front, deltoids come into play primarily in pressing exercises, such as the overhead press and flat bench press. Next, the lateral, or middle, deltoids are responsible for lateral movement, such as dumbbell side raises. The posterior, or rear, deltoids are recruited when performing rowing movements. Each of these individual portions of the deltoid play a specific role in weight training. It is crucial that they remain balanced, otherwise injury is likely to occur.

Although there are a number of great movements that benefit this area, let’s take a look at some of the best deltoid exercises.

  • Anterior, or front, deltoids. As mentioned above, the anterior delts most often come into play during pressing exercises. There are a variety of pressing movements known in the exercise world, so which ones are the most important? That’s a tough question because they all have their place in a balanced training program. Taking a look at only the best anterior deltoid exercises – the overhead press separates itself from all of the others. The overhead press is a difficult compound movement that requires a number of muscle groups to work together. It is a very hard movement on the shoulders and should be performed only once or twice a week at varying intensities.
  • Lateral, or middle, deltoids. Now we’re talking about a much less utilized area of the deltoids. Lateral motion involves raising your arm straight up from your side. How often do you perform this action in everyday life? If you answer every single day, you’re probably kidding yourself. Because the middle delts are rarely incorporated into daily life, they must be worked harder in the gym in order to bring about overall shoulder balance. A couple of the best middle deltoid exercises are the upright row and lateral raise. Both of these movements are supplemental exercises and should be treated as such. Be careful when choosing intensity for these two exercises as the shoulders are easily overworked.
  • Posterior, or rear, deltoids. Contraction of the rear delts is more common in everyday life than contraction of the middle delts. Have you ever grabbed the back of your head with your hands and leaned back into a recliner? That initial movement requires the rear delts. Although almost any variation of row will bring the rear delts in, these exercises don’t often isolate them. Reverse flyes, however, do isolate the rear delts. Perform these on a cable machine for best results.

These are some of the best deltoid exercises you can turn to. Just remember that balance is one of the most important aspects of weight training. Without proper balance, injury will soon be looking you in the eye.


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