I hit the gym on a Sunday (my normal day off) this week to train delts with Aaron “The Delt Man” Reed. Aaron is a giant 6’7″ natural bodybuilder who is going to be traveling to Las Vegas in two weeks to earn his pro card in the new Men’s Physique Division at the NPC USA Championships. Aaron’s training style is high volume with lots of sets and reps. My normal training style is heavy resistance and high intensity for 6-10 reps. After taking one look at Aaron’s huge and striated deltoids, I couldn’t resist the invitation to join him for a shoulder workout and see what his training method was all about.
We started off with a basic compound movement to build mass and strength. We choose the Standing Military Press today, taking the barbell out of the power rack. I appreciate Aaron setting the pins low enough for me since he is almost a full foot taller than I am. My left rotator cuff has been bothering me for the last month so I only did one set with 135 pounds for 10 reps and two more sets with 155 pounds for 8 reps. Aaron went up to 185 for his last two sets.
After the heavy presses, we went over to the dumbbell rack and did three sets of Front Lateral Raises. I normally don’t do this exercise but I got a great pump in the anterior delts and it was fun to watch my shoulders blow up in front of me. We did three sets of the Front Lateral Raises, bringing the dumbbells up to eye level. I started with the 35 pound dumbbells for 12 reps and then two more sets of 10 with the 40’s.
Next up was Standing Side Lateral Raises for the side delts. This is where the workout really got interesting! Aaron devised a giant giant set consisting of a total of NINE SETS of Side Lateral Raises. Talk about a BRUTAL set!! Aaron calls this invention of his “Hell” and I soon found out why. Here is how it went. We started with the 10 pound dumbbells for 20 reps, went right into the 15 pound dumbbells for 15 reps, then the 20 pound dumbbells for 12 reps, followed by the 25 pound dumbbells for 10 reps and finally the 30 pound dumbbells for 8 reps. But, hold on, we weren’t finished yet. After the set with the 30’s, we immediately grabbed the 25’s again for another 10 reps, then the 20’s for 12 reps, the 15’s for 15 reps and finally the 10’s for another 20 reps. All in all, 9 total sets in one for a grand total of 122 reps!
The first set was incredibly tough and my delts got a gigantic pump from this giant giant set. But, by the time I got to the second and especially the third set, my delts were more pumped than I can ever remember them being. They were so enlarged that they made my arms look small. After the third set, I raised my arm to brush the hair off my forehead and I had to laugh because I could barely raise my arm.
Now that our side delts were fully pumped and annihilated, we moved onto the rear delts. Aaron has a way of training rear delts that was new to me. Instead of keeping his elbows slightly bent during the movement, he locks his elbows and turns the dumbbells so his little finger is facing the ceiling. By locking the elbows, I could really isolate the rear delt during the exercise and not feel the muscles in the upper back as much. I had to go much lighter than normal in order to keep the elbows locked but I could really feel the difference in the rear delt muscles.
By this time, I was getting exhausted but we went over to the pec deck machine to finish off those rear delts. Facing the machine, we did three drop sets for 8-8-12 reps. I started off with 160 pounds for 8 reps, then dropped the weight to 130 pounds for another 8 reps and finished off with 85 pounds for 12 reps. I had to drop the weight for the last set because my rear delts were super pumped.
Finally, we finished off this high volume delt day with about three sets of upright rows using the cable. Our delts were so fried at this point that we just used a moderate weight for 10-12 reps and that was plenty. That damn Giant Giant Side Lateral Delt Destruction Set completely killed my delts today. It should be interesting to see how sore I am tomorrow from this high rep, high set experiment. Thanks to Aaron “The Delt Man” Reed for a great workout and check out Aaron in two weeks at the USA Championships in Las Vegas. At 6’7″ and 245 pounds with delts that resemble Don Howarth’s, he’s not easy to miss.