We asked Roelly Winklaar to take us through a normal delt routine and explain the rationale behind the exercises he chose. First, some basic anatomy: The deltoids are comprised of three parts: anterior (front), medial (middle), and posterior (rear). Winklaar works all three to achieve that full, round look onstage. He consistently performs six exercises, each of which hits a different head of the deltoids. It might surprise you that even though he increased the weight for this prep, he still kept the reps high. He doesn’t believe in “powerlifting style” training with low reps, so he never goes below 12. By keeping the volume high, he burns calories throughout his workout (thus, less cardio!).
He’s a stickler for form, however, never swinging the weight or cheating. He also avoids locking out at the top, in order to keep constant tension on the muscle and ward of injuries that would come with overloading the joint. “Time under tension is very important,” Winklaar says. “Locking out allows you to rest briefly. You should avoid resting the muscle at all costs during your set if you want the muscle to grow.” He keeps the same basic exercises, but may vary the grip on an exercise depending on how he’s feeling.
“Believe it or not, this is one of the exercises I see people doing incorrectly in almost any gym I visit,” Winklaar says. “I see guys circling their shoulders at the top, which is an injury waiting to happen.” Some people include these on back day, but Winklaar doesn’t think he can hit them as hard once he’s completed a heavy back workout that includes a killer set of deadlifts, so he adds them to his shoulder day. “There’s no better way to directly hit the traps than with shrugs,” he says. He alternates between barbell and dumbbell shrugs, noting that each has its benefits.
HOW TO DO IT: For dumbbell shrugs, start with your palms facing each other and the weights hanging at either side; try to hold them out about two inches from your body, keeping in mind that locking your elbows and hanging your arms straight down slightly relaxes the muscle and doesn’t activate the trap as much as possible. As you move the weight up, keep it in a straight up-and-down motion, never rotating forward or backward at the top. Hold at the top for a one-second count, then slowly lower back down. Winklaar notes that it’s also important not to hyperextend your elbows—another beginner’s mistake he often sees. Lower the weight only to where you started and no lower, or you risk injury to the elbow joint.
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