Since 1965, only 14 men have received the title of Mr. Olympia. Given their shortage, these people should have a unique idea of what is needed to create an impressive physique. And most often, these great people developed a new exercise or technique that led to their success in the stratosphere.
You too can benefit from the experience of these legends, so we put together the best shoulder training techniques from four of the biggest bodybuilders ever to compete: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay Cutler, Lee Haynie and Dorian Yeats. Use their techniques to help you maximize your own shoulder potential.
We all know who invented it – it is named after him. In the early days of the competition, Schwarzenegger needed to develop his shoulders evenly so that they could have a steeper look at the scene. He developed this dumbbell movement as a way to train all the heads of the shoulders at once, with a sufficiently heavy weight to produce the size and mass he was looking for.
Arnold realized that twisting the dumbbells on the way up and back activates the back and side heads of the deltoid area, while still emphasizing the front heads with a pressure movement. While this is considered a standard step today, in the golden age of bodybuilding, Arnold's press was a breakthrough. Add to this the increasing weight and decreasing representation scheme, and you have a professional shoulder-level exercise worthy of the Olympia stage.
Pro tip: If you want to do it a little harder, alternately move one dumbbell, and the other is squeezed.
Side lift with one arm
Jay Cutler had a huge obstacle to overcome his path to victory over the title in the early 2000s. This obstacle was named Ronnie Coleman. Cutler knew that he should be big and broad if he had a chance to break the eight-year winning series of Coleman and take the title for himself. To build width at the shoulders, Cutler needed to build full, round shoulders and large lateral divisions.
Although lateral enhancements are a standard step for creating lateral deltas, they can sometimes include a front head, depending on how they are performed. To prevent this from happening, Cutler often performed lateral movements on the sides at a time and used cables.
Pro tip: Focus on doing repetitions slowly to minimize momentum. The cable allows you to keep the voltage on the side deltas in the entire range of motion.
Straight line behind
Lee Haney could be one of the first winners of Mr. Olympia to be as famous as his back, as he was his front. When Haney turned around, the competition had no chance. One of the reasons for Hani’s dominance was his impressive rear delta and trap.
Haney was never in favor of becoming super heavy. Throwing plates on the plank for the sake of weight movement attracted him little. His focus was to achieve the best possible cut, so he preferred the vertical rows behind him to develop shoulders and traps. He felt that beyond his weight, he let him better squeeze the traps. Moving to a vertical line instead of a standard shrug made the delta go into action.
This step began as a shoulder behind him, until Haney began to bend his elbows to try to achieve a better cut. Then he realized that this is a great way to aim at the rear deltas. Behind him, the vertical rows quickly became the main product in his program. Do you think this move helped, there is no doubt that Haney’s impressive upper back helped him break Mr. Olympia’s title eight times in a row!
Pro tip: Hold the weight at the top for five points before returning down. This additional stress can help create a greater connection with the back deltas and help create a greater density that you would not get.
Row machine with one handle
This exercise was glorified by six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yeats. Exercise has played a big role in the development of details and thickness in the big back of the British. The machine kept the tension on the upper back and back, limiting the range of motion, allowing Yates to lift heavy weight with minimal risk of injury.
Yates liked the Hammer Strength series, but any version of the car would do its job.
Pro tip: A slow pace, along with peak cuts at the top, are vital for creating this work for you, as for Shadow.