Avoiding these common shoulder training mistakes will keep you injury free and on the road to building cannonball-sized delts!
#1: Straightening Your Arm on Lateral Raises
Lateral raises targeting the middle delt are done with a slight bend in the elbow. The problem arises when the elbow isn’t locked throughout the movement. Too often you see guys with a 90-degree bend at the bottom, but their arm straightens to 180 degrees at the top, especially when they do one arm at a time. Straightening the arm is called elbow extension, and the triceps — not the debts — is responsible for this action. You can’t open and close the elbow joint during execution. Keep it locked in a slightly bent position.
#2: Straightening Your Arm on Rear Delt Exercises
The same blunder involving elbow extension frequently makes its way over to rear delt exercises, most commonly bent-over lateral raises with dumbbells or cables. When you extend at the elbow, you turn a perfectly good rear-delt exercise into one for triceps. Again the key is to lock your arm in a slightly bent position for the duration of the set. If you’re not getting the hang of it, practice doing the reverse fly on the pec-deck machine, which requires you to maintain a slight bed for the entire exercise.
#3: Positioning Your Hands Too Close on Upright Rows
To target middle delts, your upper arms should travel out to your sides during upright rows. That’s not what happens, however, when you use a close grip. Your elbows are drawn forward as your shoulders are internally rotated. That movement isn’t kind to your shoulder joints. A much wider grip (hands about shoulder width apart) allows your elbows to kick out high and wide, perfect for targeting your middle delts. (The front delts get some work, too.) Even if you’re looking to add variety to your routine, skip the close-grip version.