Lateral Delt-Focused Dumbbell Shoulder Presses

Building wider shoulders should be the primary goal of anybody who wants to develop a more aesthetically appealing physique.

Training for athletics and improved performance will get you a lot of the way towards building wider shoulders...adding in a few specialized movements to target specific goals like this will take you the rest of the way.

This is not a "foundation" movement (overall mass-building), even though it is a press. The arm position is very specific and it forces you to use lighter weights. This arm position more directly targets the lateral (side) delts, which give the appearance of wider shoulders, which in turn gives the appearance of a smaller waist.

You can do this one one dumbbell or with two dumbbells pressed together.

 



 

Take a baseball bat-type grip on the dumbbell then lift it up to upper chest level. Your upper arms should be horizontal and parallel to the ground at the start. You'll need to lean back just a bit to accommodate the dumbbell, so be sure to keep your core tight.

Here's what the start position looks like (I'm using a 65 lb dumbbell here):

How to Build Wider Shoulders with Lateral Delt Pressing

How to Build Wider Shoulders with Lateral Delt Pressing

As you can see, the dumbbell is held directly in front of your face, with the elbows out to the sides. This elbow position is what focuses the tension on the side delts.

Now press up until the dumbbell is overhead.

How to Build Wider Shoulders with Lateral Delt Pressing

How to Build Wider Shoulders with Lateral Delt Pressing

This hands-together position puts a great contraction on the delts. Lower back down to chin level then repeat.

When you're using a single dumbbell, you'll find that the hand that has more of the grip on the dumbbell will get more of the tension, so switch up hands either on the next set or halfway through the set.

You can also do this exercise with two dumbbells. I prefer to use the hex dumbbells so you can line up the flat faces and keep them relatively solid together.

I'm using two 25 lb dumbbells here. Keep them pressed together but don't forcefully squeeze them so hard that you get shoulder pain.

The movement is exactly the same.

How to Build Wider Shoulders with Lateral Delt Pressing

How to Build Wider Shoulders with Lateral Delt Pressing

Front view...

How to Build Wider Shoulders with Lateral Delt Pressing

How to Build Wider Shoulders with Lateral Delt Pressing

As you can see by the happy expression on my face, this is a really enjoyable exercise.

Do 3 sets of about 8 to 10 reps of this one for training lateral delts instead of doing lateral raises in your next shoulder workout and you'll see what I mean.

One thing to note, if you do have any shoulder joint issues, start VERY light with this one. It's not a normal shoulder exercise and the arm position will affect different shoulder joint structures in different ways.

For me, I have bad shoulders and it caused me no pain. It might be different for you, so as with all training instruction, YOU need to watch out for YOU and stop if you feel pain.

Overall, this a well-targeted exercise that can help directly add some meat to your side delts and give you the appearance of wider shoulders.

Dumbbell Shoulder Palm Presses are another excellent variation for lateral delts.

 

 


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