The 6 Best Delt Building Exercises (YOU’RE NOT DOING!!)

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today, 6 exercises for your delts you’re probably
not doing. I promise, if you start mixing them in you’re
going to be surprised by the results that you see. You see, we get too stuck in a rut when it
comes to shoulder training. We press, we shoulder raise, and we shoulder
raise. Maybe you’re doing a little bit of reverse
shoulder raises, but that’s it. If we want to get our delts to work we actually
have more ways that we can scientifically incorporate movement the way our shoulders
actually want to move in the first place. So we can do that with these 6 exercises. First up is the crush grip shoulder press
out. Right here what we’re doing is, we’re actually
allowing our chest to contribute in a way that actually helps to take it out of the
action to allow the shoulders and the front delts, more specifically, to do the work. Because we add this isometric contraction,
we’re squeezing the dumbbell as hard as we possibly can, we’re activating the chest isometrically. So now when we press the arms out, away from
our body we’re going to preferentially make sure that the delts are doing all the work. Now, we could alter the angle here – which
is another reason why I love this exercise – to make it either more, or less difficult. If I press the dumbbell straight out I’m doing
more work, obviously, with my front delts there, as they are more subject to the force
of gravity on the way down, acting on our arms. If we press them up at a higher angle here,
I actually get the opportunity to make this a little bit easier because the moment arm,
of the arms themselves, is actually shorter. However, because we’re actually pressing more
upright now, it’s still working the shoulders. So you have a lot of things working for you
here to make this exercise one that’s going to effectively hit your delts. Especially if you haven’t tried it before. Sticking with the front delts, but now also
including the middle delts we have the dumbbell butterfly raise. What we’re doing here is, we’re actually allowing
the positioning of our shoulders to help control the activation, and transition from the front
delt, to the middle delt safely. You guys know how I feel about internal rotation
when it comes to shoulders. Especially as we go into elevation of the
arm. Well, we are elevation the arm here and we
are internally rotating the arm by going from an externally rotated position, back to neutral. So we are not actually into, or approaching
internal rotation of the arm at the top position, but we’re getting all the benefits of middle
delt activation by having an internal rotation going on at the shoulder. So you’ll see I start with the externally
rotated arms, underhand positioning here, and I raise the dumbbells up, and out to the
side. So we have the adduction that we know we need,
and it’s a little bit of that front work angling of the arms to get the front delt. As we transition to the side, by going from
the externally rotated position to a more neutral position we’re actually having the
act of internal rotation going on, which will fire up those middle delts. Try this, guys. I promise you, you’re going to feel the difference
and if you haven’t done your side lateral raises this way, you’re definitely going to
start mixing them in because you’ll feel what a big difference it makes. Next one, I want you to stand up, and pull
up your pants. I’m serious. Stand up, grab your pants like this, and pull
them straight up. What you should be feeling, other than one
hell of a wedgie, is one hell of a contraction here. Not just in your middle delt, but also in
your rear delt. Why that is, is because we’re getting the
benefit in this position here of having the abduction of the arm, in relation to the torso,
but also the extension of the arm, back, behind the torso to also fire up that hard to hit
rear delt. Now, we can do this with dumbbells in a weighted
form right here with a hip hugger. The benefit of this exercise is, because of
the shortened moment arm, because we don’t have to lift our arm straight out to the sides
as we would in a normal lateral raise, we can use heavier weights to hit this area. That’s one thing we don’t usually get the
opportunity to do, unless we’re pressing. So you want to take these weights, hold them
down at your sides – this is not an upright row, you guys know how I feel about that exercise
as well – this is an externally rotated hand position as we come up. We’re only stopping about the level of the
navel, or a little above. You will feel, again, an incredible contraction
whether or not you’re even using weights at all. If you’re just doing that whole pants-pulling
thing, you’re still going to feel it there as well. This is one you’re going to definitely want
to add to your routine. I’m definitely favoring those middle delt
exercises because I think people struggle to find options outside of the side lateral
raise, but this is another one we can do here. It looks a little unorthodox, but if you’ve
been watching this channel for any length of time you’ve probably already tried it,
and with good results. This is the bodyweight side lateral raise. I debuted this one back in our ATHLEAN-0 Bodyweight
Only program. But what you’re doing here is taking advantage
of the concept of relative movement. If our arm is raising out to the side here,
as we do with some sort of a dumbbell side lateral raise, we can still do the same movement
if we take our arm and fix it in position, and then move our body away from it. In both instances we have abduction of the
arm, which we know is going to fire up that middle delt. So as I rotate my torso on this fixed arm
on the ground here, I’m getting that relative abduction of the arm in relation to the torso. That means delt activation. So you want to do this. Especially if you’re not in a position to
be doing any weights at all, and you need a bodyweight option, and you’re not just doing
handstand shoulder raises, or pike pushups; this is going to fill in great for you. Now we’re heading back to the rear delt because
you can simply not get enough rear delt work. Especially if all you’ve been doing is reverse
fly’s. That’s simply not going to hit the rear delt
as best as you possibly can. Now this underhand dumbbell variation is one
I actually broke out an entire video dedicated just to this, and I still think it’s being
underutilized. If you’ve been watching the channel though,
and doing what I’ve been telling you to do, you’ve probably already been using this with
great benefit. However, for those who haven’t, I have to
repeat it again. The key, when you’re trying to activate your
rear delt, is not going into this reverse fly motion here. What you really need to do is get into extension
of the arm back, behind the body. So you can see how much more I can get behind
the body than if I were to do this. I actually get stopped anatomically at this
position here. But if I can go into extension I can get the
upper arm further back, and if I add one other component to it – external rotation – I
can even go further. The degree of contraction that you can feel
is enormous. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need
to put a dumbbell in your hand. If you take your hand right now, stand up,
externally rotate, and pull up, and back you’ll feel that rear delt fire up like never before. So by virtue of actually adding a little dumbbell
to this equation, we can turn this into an exercise, mimic the position I’m showing you
right here, work both sides, and I promise you better rear delt gains than you’ve ever
gotten before. Last, but not least, we have to save the little
exercise, with the big bang. This is the swimmers. I know, at first glance, it probably looks
like a rehab exercise. The fact is, I really can’t use heavy weights
here. Maybe 5lbs, or at most 10lbs, but what really
matters is what is going on in the shoulders. There is a lot going on because by virtue
of the path of the dumbbells here, I’m managing to hit all three heads of the delt in one
move. As I raise my arms up, and out to the sides,
the middle delts are helping me do that, my arms swoop forward to the front, and then
eccentrically the front delts get loaded up again. Now, when I go back again, and reload – again,
it starts with rear delt activation. We have that extension going on in the arms
that we just talked about that is so important. Then we come up to the top, we move our arms
forward, and we repeat that. We’re hitting all three heads and it doesn’t
require heavy, heavy weights to feel this. What’s more of a requirement is the activation
and the contraction of the three heads of the delts, and you’re able to do it in one
shot with this exercise. So there you have it, guys. There are 6 new exercises for you to put into
your shoulder training arsenal to help you get better results. I’m not a big fan of just doing different,
to be different. If you’re going to do different you’d better
make sure you have an anatomical backup, a plan, or reason for why you’re doing what
you’re doing. Guys, we put the science back in strength
here every, single time we make a video for you, to make sure you know why you’re doing
what you’re doing. If you’re looking for a complete training
program head to We put the science back in all our workouts
as well, of course. You can get those over at In the meantime, if you liked the video leave
your comments below. Tell me what else you want me to cover and
I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days, and weeks ahead. All right, see you soon.

100 thoughts on “The 6 Best Delt Building Exercises (YOU’RE NOT DOING!!)

  1. I took so much from Jeff already, thank you Jeff… I just thought how could I give back after total renessanse of new knowledge… so I gave a thumbs up ! 🙂

  2. Want to win an ATHLEAN-X program for free, no strings attached? Click the link below to find out how!

  3. Sometimes I wonder if this guy's theories are just mediocre bullshit but I do follow some of them.

    I really wanted big shoulders.
    I hit the gym and do the shoulder thing( traditional ones with weights and cables) almost 4-5 times a week. At least a little bit .
    And I've gained good mass at the shoulders now . It's been a month .

    The reality is some are just blessed with wide shoulders. Like the bone sticks out.
    They could be skinny af and have no real muscle but still the shoulders look wide and nice.
    I fall in the average size shoulder category.
    And if you work out all the body parts , your shoulders are gonna look small no matter what . You have to work extra on shoulders
    And it's very difficult to gain mass there cos its not something you'd gain naturally doing some regular things. You have to find weird exercises for it.
    Side lateral works best. And with cables.
    But the problem is you have to do it extremely carefully otherwise you work on your traps and in my personal opinion guys with huge traps look like dumb apes . That looks so ugly idk why people even work the traps.
    Besides huge traps would make even big shoulders look small.
    So I've been trying to find exercises that only target the side delt and none of the trap.
    Don't find much.
    God help u if u have narrow shoulders. You actually should stop gaining muscle on other stuff just so that your shoulders don't look tiny. U have to work extra extra. Sometimes it's over taxing.
    Some of the body builders with huge biceps nice and and huge quads look so funny and ugly with small shoulders. Because there's a limit to how much mass u can gain on the side delts. Anyways if someone has some good tips for middle delt or sides whatever it's called without engaging the traps or maybe the minimum, do reply. Thanks

  4. Reverse butterfly with different grip (hand position) really focuses in the rear delts. One of few exercises where i really feel a burn and an isolation of the muscle

  5. Finally shoulder workout gets a little more fun ! Those standard exercises are very boring.. . So thank you very much ! =)

  6. I've used so many of his tweaks to help my growth. Jeff is awesome. Cured my forearm tendonitis once I figured out my mistake.

  7. So i i got a question, i like using dumbbells but at the sametime i like to use the cable machines, an so for the rear delt workout that you were explaining about half way thru, the "pull up your pants" one, i was wondering if i stood directly in front of or a little at an angle an did that same exact motion would it be the same thing? Im only asking bc i know how you are with the rotator cuff, an playing football as a qb an doing MMA im a little nervous i might be a little more prone to shoulder injurys on doing the exercise wrong.

  8. Just tried that dumbbell butterfly raise last night. Couldn't use more than 20lbs.

    I am a believer!

    If you do it right, you REALLY begin to feel it as you lift them upwards and transition the position of the dumbbells at the mid-point into more of a press by the end.


  9. I cant even do 15 Weight for the 2:30 mark exercise. But my shoulders do look more defined than others. I am doing correctly but my traps are starting to get really sore. I notice with most shoulder exercises my traps get involved when I'm really trying to not involve them. I notice my left shoulder clicks a little when I come down and rotate back to start position for this one.

  10. NOT an exerciser, just looking to get mobility and a bit of strength. That said:

    Just sitting in the chair and trying the "Underhand rear delt raise" motion with no weight, I can feel the 'burn' after 10 reps. MAN, I need this!

  11. That's awesome! I call that third exercise the Wheelbarrows. Ever wonder why many of those country farm boys have huge rear delts? They've been hauling heavy wheelbarrows full of stuff since they were kids.

  12. Ain’t 4:55 working the rear-delt more? If you flip the screen he’s actually doing a one-handed facepull motion.

  13. Jeff, what do you think about the classical archery sports exercise "bowstring tension" with the resistance band? This exercise literally burns out the target shoulder blade muscles and rear delt.

  14. You mad genius!!! Just destroyed my rear delts working them heavy!! First time they have been sore without my traps along with them!

  15. Holy shit. The dumbbell butterfly raise destroyed my middle delts. I've never had doms after shoulder day – but I do now, for the first time.

  16. Just making up exercises for a video now. Only one that was half useful was the pants one. But even that was basically a shrug lol

  17. IF….i have not said THANK YOU verbally then please consider this my verbal and escribed ' tHANKS Bradda Man', from Maui. I'm get'in bigger cos o you, Cosin.
    Much love at 61 yrs old, J

  18. you are devilish, man. I'm sure you can find something useful for the shoulders even when washing dishes…

  19. I used to try Jeff‘s tricks to feel my mind-muscle connection and I have to admit that every time I feel my muscle burning and working even if I’m not using any weights or dumbbells. Keep Going Jeff 💪🏻🧠

  20. Incredibly awesome!!! Thank you so much for all the excellent material brother. I'm seeing muscles I've just not shown before because of your detailed unique material. Stimulus response bam!!! 🙂 Changing the game one lesson at a time. Class is in session. (-:

  21. So I watched this and what I heard was "make a workout out of these 6 exercises." My delts, are sore, for the first time in I dont know when.

  22. I watched all of your videos. I’m 40 yrs old. I have Nagging pains in my knees. Do you have corrective exercises that target the stabilizers muscles around the knee. Matter of fact can you do a video of corrective exercises series. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *