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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kevin Levrone's Deltoid Workout

Kevin Levrone – Runner up Mr Olympia 1992, 1995, 2000, 2002
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Kevin Levrone's Deltoid Workout

BARBELL PRESSES

138I alternate between front and behind-the-neck presses, depending on how I feel that particular day. The behind-the-neck version is often criticized for putting you in an unnatural position. I don’t agree with that. The angle is fine as long as you do the movement strictly and correctly. Both exercises hit the front and medial delt heads, though behind-the-neck presses tend to bring the medial delts into play in a big way.

Elements of Style: You can do behind-the-neck presses either with a free bar or on a Smith machine for added stability. Lift the barbell overhead and rest it on your shoulders behind your head, or lift it off of a bench-press rack. Press the bar straight up — hold for a count of one one-thousand — and lower it, keeping your elbows back and staying under control throughout.

With standard barbell military presses, which can be done either seated or standing, take a wider than shoulder-width grip on the bar. From shoulder height or at the level of the collarbone, press the bar overhead to full extension, hold for a count of one one-thousand, and return the bar to the starting position.

Do four sets total, 10-12 reps for the first two sets and six to eight reps on the next two. Select a weight that will let you reach failure on your final rep. Again, my plan calls for heavy weights on everything you do for shoulders. That’s been the secret to my success, and I want you to reap the same awesome benefits.

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DUMBBELL PRESSES

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I really like dumbbell presses because they give me a tremendous sense of control. I’m able to focus on form, and I can feel the resistance targeted right into the delts as I press upward. For a change of pace, I occasionally do these standing, but seated presses are stricter -- you can’t cheat!

Another advantage is that the support the seat provides to my mid-upper back and lumbar spine helps to add stability. That enables me to put all of my energy into the mind-muscle connection.

A common beginner’s mistake is trying to lift too much too soon. I want you to train heavy, but don’t get carried away with the ego-driven nonsense of grabbing dumbbells that are way too heavy for you. The execution of a rep should be smooth and controlled. You should be able to feel the muscles working, and if your elbows can’t stay in a fixed position, that’s a red flag: You’re using weights that are overloading your muscles.

Elements of Style: Begin with the dumbbells at shoulder height, your elbows out to the sides. Drive the weights up in a small arc until you hear them click at the top. Then lower them as you retrace the arc.

I never do partials; I believe in using a full range of motion, all the way up and all the way down, with a full stretch at the bottom and a complete contraction at the top.

Do four sets of eight to 12 reps, reaching failure on the last rep of each set.

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FRONT RAISES

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Arnold “The Austrian Oak” Schwarzenegger turned me on to this front-delt punisher. I get an intense pump and contraction by raising the dumbbell well above shoulder level. Many guys lift the weight up only to shoulder height, but that’s not going to get it done. Another thing you will hear from the so-called experts in the gym is that front raises put too much stress on the shoulder joint, especially if you also do a lot of heavy bench presses. That’s bull. I’ve never had any problems and I started doing these in 1988.

Elements of Style: The goal is to practice this exercise until moving one arm and then the other becomes a single fluid movement. Stand or sit with a dumbbell in each hand and lift your right arm over your head in a wide arc until you feel a very strong contraction in your right anterior delt. As you lower the dumbbell in your right hand, begin to raise the dumbbell in your left hand, and repeat this process, alternating arms.

Do four sets of 10-12 reps. By this time, your front delts should be pretty toasted.

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ONE-ARM CABLE SIDE LATERALS

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I flip-flop these medial-delt killing machines with dumbbell side laterals. Cables offer the benefit of a full muscular contraction throughout the movement, whereas dumbbells don’t kick into gear until you’re halfway through the exercise.

Elements of Style: Stand with one hand on your waist and the other arm grasping the handle of a low cable pulley. Try to stand slightly away from the pulley (this helps to maximize tension on the muscle) and pull the handle across your body until it is higher than your head. Retrace the arc back to the beginning, do the desired number of reps, and repeat with the other arm.

Perform four heavy sets of 12-15 reps. Select a weight that forces your medial delts to fail on the final rep of each set.

kevin levrone

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