Photos by Ian Spanier
With so much attention paid to the "showtime" body parts like chest, arms, and abs, the deltoids often get lost in the shuffle. But if there’s one bodybuilder whose shoulders never get lost in the mix, it’s Steve Kuclo.
Known as the King Snake, Kuclo’s shoulders give him the classic American Hero image, and it’s not just for show: He’s a former firefighter and EMT. “Delts are a genetically gifted body part for me,” the Dallas resident says. “I’m wider than the average guy because of it, and it gives me a wider X-frame, so I’m fortunate in that regard.”
The deltoids are a group of three muscles (front, middle, and rear) that can be brought up with hard training and a little persistence. And we’re talking about doing not just more, and heavier, overhead presses to build size. According to Kuclo, raises can be just as effective at creating greater width, even though you’ll be training with much lighter weights compared with presses.
“I always tell people to do more lateral and rear delt raises, particularly the latter,” Kuclo says. “People often neglect the rear delts, but that’s a muscle that will really help create more width from a front-to-back perspective—like with side chest and side triceps poses. Even looking straight on, like with a front lat spread, good rear delts will help bring out more width.”
In the gym, Kuclo practices what he preaches, evidenced by the shoulder workout described on these pages. As you’ll see, much attention is paid to side and rear delt raises, including a brutal reverse pyramid drop set for standing laterals. Give it a try to bring up a weak pair of shoulders—or even to make a strong set of delts even stronger, as Kuclo does.
“Having a monster set of delts gives you that crazy wide visual that can take you over the top,” he says, obviously speaking from personal experience. “If you have width, you’ll look 20 pounds bigger in the same weight class.”
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