The key to covered deletion is to prioritize middle vertices.
Canadian natural bodybuilder and powerlifter Jeff Nippard uses science to build an aesthetically pleasing physique. Through his techniques, he learned how to cover his shoulders to create a three-dimensional appearance. Nippard shared the best exercises he performs for each deltoids — front, back, and side — to create 3D aesthetic.
On November 30, 2023, Nippard posted his training tutorial with exercise scientist Dr. Mike Israel on Nippard’s YouTube channel. Check it below:
[Related: The 4 Back Exercises Ryan Terry Trained to Win the 2023 Men’s Physique Olympia]
Front Delts: Motorized shoulder presses and EZ bar front raises
Starting at the front head of the shoulders, Nippard trained the shoulder press. Sitting while performing the exercise provides better stability, ensuring that most of the stress is on the shoulders. In addition, the added stability should enable lifters to press closer to mechanical failure without increasing the risk of injury. Dr. Israel paused at the bottom of his reps to increase the difficulty of the set while loading the delts into the lengthened position.
Nippard suggests unilateral compression to correct shoulder strength imbalances. Nippard typically aims to perform six to 10 reps per set focusing on the mind-muscle connection to effectively load the target muscles.
Israel’s front delt suggestion is to lift the front EZ bar with an underhand grip. Allows better range of motion without stress on joints. The cable machine will allow for a freer range as the arms can be positioned behind the body at the bottom. Maintaining a proud chest throughout the movement, especially during explosive positions, should pair well with a controlled eccentric for four to five seconds.
Side Delts: Side raises and Y-shaped cable raises
Moving to the often most underdeveloped deltoid head—the middle deltoid—Israel prefers a superior range of lateral motion for the lift. This lateral raise moves the dumbbells almost directly at the top of each rep. Keeping the palms down while moving through the entire range of motion activates the middle delts in their short position. Once in the 10-20 repetition range, the clinician required full control of the eccentric to achieve maximum muscle stimulation.
Nippard’s option for the side delt is to raise the cable in a Y-shape across the body. The arm crossing the body allows for tremendous extension in the lateral delta. Similar to Israel’s favorite exercise, extended range of motion is key to developing the middle deltas.
Rear delts: Reverse cable flies and reverse Pec decks
Keeping with the theme of extended range of motion, the duo performed a reverse cable fly. Aligning the movement with the athlete’s structure allows for better targeting of the delts. Dr. Israeli suggests alternating the hand that is placed on top at the bottom of the movement for each set to ensure muscle balance.
You won’t be able to use as much load as you would, but reducing the load while maximizing muscle engagement is really big.
Nippard loves the reverse set. Dr. Israel gave him the cue to bend his shoulders forward for two reasons. The first is to pre-stretch the posterior deltas at the beginning of the exercise. The second is a cue to extend the hands outward as if “painting the walls” with the palms during both the concentric and eccentric positions of each rep. This prevents the traps from overloading. Keeping the elbows locked helps bias the rear delt.
Anatomy of the deltoid
As Nippard explains, the front deltas take on a lot of volume during chest exercises. Dr. Israeli agreed and further stated that the posterior deltoid muscle gains significant load during back exercises. They agreed that the medial deltas should be the primary focus during shoulder training. Dr. Israeli expressed that the middle delta should include 70-90 percent of your shoulder exercise.
If you’ve ever seen someone with big shoulders…in almost every case, the lateral deltas are actually too big. It’s the side delts that really matter.
[Related: The 8 Exercises Dana Linn Bailey Uses for Shoulder Hypertrophy]
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Featured Image: @jeffnippard on Instagram
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