If you want thick wide-ranging shoulders, get the most from
your Shoulder Flys by improving your form and execution with this shoulder fly master
While the Shoulder Press is the king of the Deltoids, the
Shoulder fly is the crown prince of the medial deltoid region and an integral
part of any muscle-building shoulder workout. In our Reverse Dumbbell Fly article, we showed you how to thicken out your rear-delts with the rear delt fly, aka dumbbell rear delt flys .
In this new article, we'll keep things simple by concentrating
on improving this expansive exercise. I will show you how to get the best
action by tweaking a few areas. Next, I
will share a few different variations with bands and a band/dumbbell combo so
no matter if you train at home with minimal equipment; you can still grow as
wide as a house.
I’m Psymon H., the 50-something-year-old war-horse, making
his name from improving physiques and growing natural muscle with minimal
First, Let's Talk About the "Shoulder Fly Muscles"
The Shoulder Fly Muscles aka - the Medial Deltoid starts at the acromion of the shoulder
blade and inserts on the upper arm bone called the Humerus. As the insertion
and the origin points are in line with each other, the medial deltoid doesn’t
have the same rotation role as the Anterior and Posterior deltoid. Its main
functions are securing the arm in place when lifting or carrying heavy loads as
well as shoulder abduction.
There are two ways of performing the Shoulder fly. The first
method is the way you see most people attempting the exercise. They start with
the dumbbells leaning against the thighs.
While this may seem the correct way
to start any shoulder fly movement, the first 15-degrees of the exercise isn't
initiated by the side delts.
When starting the shoulder fly with the dumbbells down by
the thighs, the Infraspinatus and Supraspinatus muscles of the rotator cuff instigates
the first portion of the movement.
Lift the dumbbells higher than shoulder
height and now the traps are involved. This only leaves a very small portion of
the movement for the medial deltoid heads to get involved.
Are Your Shoulder Fly Muscles Doing Most of The Work?
At first thought, this may seem a small and irrelevant matter. Who cares if the rotator cuff and trap muscles get involved?
As the shoulder fly is an isolation movement, other muscles must not come in and rob the medial deltoid head of much of the work. When this happens, the exercise quickly becomes less valuable to the medial deltoid head.
Unlike the rear deltoids that get a good amount of work during back movements as well as from rear delt exercises and presses, the medial deltoid head is an island all on its own. If this muscle is being robbed by other muscle groups every time you do a substandard shoulder fly, there are not many other exercises that directly involve the medial deltoid head.
The second problem that can arise from starting the exercise with the dumbbells resting on the thigh is that we can often start jerking front and back and using momentum.
When this happens, not only are we taking even more work away from the medial delts, but we get fooled into thinking that we're much stronger than we are.
Along with the heaving of heavier weights comes the likeliness of shoulder impingements and injuries. Once this happens, you're on the sidelines where muscle doesn’t get built.
In the following Shoulder Fly exercises and variations, I'm going to show you what I consider to be the best way to execute the movement to get more stimuli on the side delts. It may mean that you use less weight, but on the flip side, you build more muscle.
Cue 1: Stand with
feet shoulder-width apart with dumbbells in hand and palms facing each other.
Cue 2: Lift your
chest, tense your core, flare your lats and move the dumbbells away from your
thighs. Lean forward just a little to help transfer the majority of stress onto
your medial deltoid head.
Cue 3: Lift the dumbbells out at a 45-degree angle to
shoulder height. Hold briefly at the top before lowering the dumbbells back to
the start position.
The Health of Your Shoulders
For the health and fitness of your shoulders, always warm up, warm down and do regular mobility work. One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to shoulders and their general health is not to warm up adequately.
Be warned, the stress on the medial deltoid head is almost
too much to bear; and that's why you don't need a lot of weight to get the best
out of these exercises. This exercise is similar to the Face Forward
Lateral Raise. The addition of bands makes this a different prospect.
Items Needed: 2
Light resistance bands, two dumbbells, one power rack or 2 upright anchors, and
one incline bench set at a 75-degree angle. If you don’t have a power rack or
upright anchors, you can space two heavy dumbbells a little wider than
shoulder-width on the floor and loop your bands around both dumbbell handles.
Place another set of dumbbells on top to keep the banded dumbbells in place
during the exercise.
The Setup: Loop
one band around the base of each stand. Place the bench with its back facing
the bands a few feet away from the rack or anchors.
Cue 1: Grab the
left band and dumbbell with the palm of the right hand and do the same for the
right band/dumbbell with the left hand. Slide down on the bench with your chest
resting on the back pad.
Cue 2: Start with
the bands in front of the bench and raise them out to the side at a 45-degree
angle until they reach shoulder height. Hold briefly before returning the bands
to the start position.
Master True Dumbbell Lateral Raises
and the 7 Variations to Develop King-Kong Side Delts
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