Muscles of the Body Series: Vol3 Deltoids

Some muscles are classified by their shape & the deltoids are one of these.

Although they are part of the skeletal muscle group their shape is triangular or delta shaped thus giving the name: Deltoids.


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Form & Function…

The deltoid muscles are located at the top of the shoulder.

They are used when lifting items up over your head or when raising your arms out to the side.

They are also used for many other arm functions like throwing a ball, lifting an arm to wave at a friend & certainly for swimming.

Like the bicep muscles they are also skeletal so they help control the function of the entire arm.


Benefits of Strengthened Deltoids…

According to the Health Line Medical Team the deltoid muscles are responsible for arm rotation tasks like the following:

  • Improves Pressing & Pulling Movements – Shoulder presses above your head, even chest presses (think pushing a door open) will involve our shoulder muscles. The shoulders are busy muscles, they also get involved with your pulling movement (think pulling a door open), or any movement taking your arm behind your body.


  • Everyday Movements: Using your computer, phone or when eating. Any front, side or rear movement of the arm will involve your shoulder muscles (deltoids). The shoulders certainly keep busy & are involved in more movement that you are aware of – so take good care of them.




Sample Deltoid Stretches…


Arm Across Chest Stretch:

Begin this exercise standing tall with your back & neck straight.

Gently take your arm across your body using your other arm to take it a little further pulling it in to your chest.

Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15 seconds & repeat 4 times on each arm.

Breathe into the stretch.



Example Deltoid Exercise…


If your goal is to quickly build your deltoid muscles, the following basic deltoid strengthening exercises can be performed up to twice per week within a structured weight-training program.


As your deltoid strength improves, the exercise can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions & strength of the contraction provided it does not cause or increase pain.


As I said before the finer details of weight, reps, sets & rest periods must be determined specific your individual goals.


Here are three of my favourites:


Exercise One – Rotator Cuff External Rotation

These are the deep muscles of the shoulder & are often overlooked. The bigger external muscles usually get all the attention & this can cause muscular imbalance & shoulder issues.

Lie on your side while holding a light weight, 1-2kg (2.2-4.4lbs) is usually enough to begin for most people.

Palm facing down, place your elbow on your hip or against your rip cage, now raise your hand up toward the sky while keeping your elbow fixed against your body. This will cause you to rotate your shoulder joint.

You should feel this working inside the shoulder & around the back of your shoulder as your reach the top of the movement.

Slowly lower & repeat for desired reps & sets.

Exercise Two – Lateral Raise

While standing, select a weight in each hand, with a slight bend at your elbow raise the weights to shoulder height directly out to the side of your body.

Lower the weights in at a controlled speed. Repeat for desired reps & sets.


Exercise Three – Military Press

Pick a bar that you can comfortable lift. It’s best if you are using a rack where the bar can be positioned at the optimal height for you – just above chest level.

Pick the bar up having it sit in the palm/butt of your hand. Take a small step back so you have room to push the bar above our head.

At this point contract your glutes (butt muscles), this will support your back. Take a deep breath & contract your pelvic floor & tva muscles for support (I provide the full explanation of this technique within HealthWealth, available on Amazon)

Now drive the bar above your head straightening your arms, breath out towards the top of the movement.

As you breath in lower the bar back to your chest. Repeat for desired reps & sets.



The Bottom Line…

Building your deltoid muscles should be an important part of your weekly routine & for so much more than just appearance.

At work, at home or on the playing field these muscles are key to success & safety due to their involvement in so many movements.

Nearly every movement of the arms will involved your shoulders. So keep them strong & take good care of them – in every direction.


Until we speak again


To Your Best Health

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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