Our film crew caught up with IFBB Pro and Team MuscleTech athlete Santi Aragon at the 2015 Olympia.
He spent his first offseason developing massive shoulders, so we asked how he trains. Santi shared a basic but effective shoulder workout that hits the front, side, and rear delts.
1. Seated Dumbbell Press Dropsets
Santi begins with a traditional seated dumbbell press. For each set, Santi adds a dropset with a different tempo. For these, he likes to explode up for a count of 1 and then bring the weight down slowly for a count of 1-2-3.
Shoot for 3 sets of 15 (before the dropsets), but know that you might only reach 10-12 reps on your later sets.
2. Incline Front Barbell Raises
Lifters tend to swing their bodies when trying to perform standing barbell front raises. To eliminate this unnecessary momentum, perform barbell raises on a 45-degree incline bench. This will keep your body stable.
Pause at the top of the motion to really engage the front delt. Aim for 15 reps of slightly lower weight at a slow, concentrated speed.
3. Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Start with 15 reps of traditional standing dumbbell lateral raises. Get a full range of motion and give a 1-second squeeze at the top.
Then move on to seated partials. You can do the partial in whatever portion of the movement works best for you. Santi focuses on just the bottom third of the motion. Hit 3 sets total of alternating standing raises and seated partials.
4. Dumbbell Bent Over Side Laterals
This variation on a side lateral focuses on the rear portion of the deltoid and is a great shoulder finisher. Sit on the very edge of a bench, lean forward, and lift the dumbbells with a focus on the rear delt. Again, squeeze and pause at the top of the movement.
The key here is to feel like there’s a string attached to your elbows. This will reduce momentum coming from your biceps and forearms and ensure that your shoulders are really working.