4 tips for boulder shoulders!

Add upper-body width with these delts-developing tips

If you want an athletic-looking v-shaped torso then you need to build bigger shoulders to create upper-body width (which has the added benefit of making your waist appear even smaller).

One of the best moves to build wider shoulders is the dumbbell lateral raise. The trouble is that it’s also one of the exercises most people just don’t know how to perform properly: common problems include using a too-heavy weight, where form goes out the window as massive momentum is required to swing the weights up and down, placing huge strain on the delicate shoulder joint. To sculpt the wider shoulders you want, follow these four tips instead.

1. Reduce the weight
We can’t say this enough: you don’t need to go heavy! The best approach is to start really light to fully master the correct movement pattern: building wide shoulders through lat raises is all about technique and maximising time under tension.

2. Switch off your traps 
Initiate each rep by moving you hands out to the sides by 5cm, then pause and hold this position. This “switches off” the powerful traps muscles of your upper back that can “muscle in” on the movement to the detriment of fully working your side delts, which is what you want to hit hard to maximise upper-body width.

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3. Lead with your elbows 
Keeping a slight bend in your elbows raise the dumbbells up and out to the sides until they reach shoulder height: you don’t need to lift them any higher than this. The movement up should be a smooth and controlled arc, where your elbows lead the movement and so are always the highest part of your arm (yes, your elbows should be higher than your hands).

4. Tilt your wrists 
As the dumbbells reach shoulder height rotate your wrists inwards so that your little finger points straight up to the ceiling to further isolate and work your side delts. If you can’t visualise that now think about the how your wrist moves when you pour water out from a jug – that’s the movement you need to do at the top of the rep. Hold this top position for a second then slowly lower the weights back down under full control.

Want a bigger chest too? Try these three tips next time you hit the bench press!

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