A dra­matic V-ta­per starts with your shoul­ders. Build wider and thicker delts with this twice-a-week plan of at­tack.

Muscle & Performance - - Build - BY MICHAEL BERG, NSCA-CPT

ou’ve prob­a­bly heard ath­letes talk about pri­or­i­tiz­ing chest, or train­ing to build im­pres­sive arms or fo­cus­ing on lag­ging legs. Those are all rea­son­able goals, of course. Yet, one body­part that doesn’t get nearly as much at­ten­tion as oth­ers — but could ar­guably make an out­sized dif­fer­ence to your over­all ap­pear­ance, whether you’re a man or a wo­man — are your del­toids.

That’s be­cause wider shoul­ders can make your waist look smaller in com­par­i­son, cre­at­ing the cov­eted V-ta­per even in those who lack the ge­netic gift of a broad clav­i­cle struc­ture. Viewed from the side, thicker delts can cap the up­per body and of­fer strik­ing con­trast to de�ined bi­ceps and tri­ceps.

If your delts need help, a smart ap­proach is two work­outs per week — say, Mon­days and Thurs­days — ded­i­cat­ing one work­out to width and the other to thick­ness. Here, we pro­vide the blue­print.

The width work­out be­gins with the Arnold press, a solid all-around shoul­der molder thanks to the twist of the wrist as you press the weight over­head. That is fol­lowed by the up­right row with an Ez-bar. This com­pound move­ment takes di­rect aim at the mid­dle delts, which are of­ten un­der­de­vel­oped in com­par­i­son to the more dom­i­nant an­te­rior (front) delts, which are re­spon­si­ble for you look­ing like a barn door.

Mov­ing on, the em­pha­sis re­mains on the mid­dle delts with the seated dumb­bell raise and the lean­ing dumb­bell lat­eral raise, in which you hold a pole or other sturdy ob­ject and lean away to cre­ate an an­gle, then lift a dumb­bell up to shoul­der level with your free hand. You �in­ish the work­out with a one-arm ca­ble lat­eral raise (to con­cen­trate on one mid­dle head at a time) or an iso­met­ric lat­eral hold, in which you el­e­vate the dumb­bells to the top po­si­tion of a stand­ing lat­eral raise and hold them there for as long as you can.

The sec­ond work­out aims to add depth to your shoul­der com­plex, start­ing again with a ma­jor strength-ori­ented move, the seated mil­i­tary press. Next is an ar­ray of ex­er­cises that tar­get each head of the delts, speci�ically break­ing down your mus­cle �ibers, which will re­build to be­come big­ger, thicker and stronger. For the high-in­cline dumb­bell press, you set an ad­justable bench just a cou­ple clicks away from up­right, a po­si­tion that hits the front delts hard.

You then do a rear-delt su­per­set: the re­verse pec-deck �lye and the seated bent-over dumb­bell raise. That’s fol­lowed by a raise vari­a­tion that en­gages the rear and mid­dle delts from a re­versed seated po­si­tion — your chest on an in­cline bench set to 60 de­grees or so. The last stop? Bat­tle rope al­ter­nat­ing waves, which will de­mol­ish what­ever’s left of your strength. A FI­NAL NOTE: De­ter­mine which of these work­outs to do �irst in the week by con­sid­er­ing which needs more at­ten­tion — your width or thick­ness. Lead with that and do the other work­out two or three days later. Ev­ery three months, re­assess your progress un­til your mis­sion is ac­com­plished. n

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