Not long ago I read about a variation on upright rows practiced by James “Flex” Lewis, one of the stars of the IFBB’s new 202-and-under division. Though upright rows in general have gotten a very bad rep for wrecking rotator cuffs over the years, longtime IRON MAN readers will know that wide-grip uprights, particularly when performed with dumbbells as advocated by Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson, can be an even better movement for capping off the side delts than lateral raises.
Lewis uses a bar for his variation, but you could just as easily, or perhaps even more easily, use a pair of dumbbells. Each set is made up of 21 reps, but these aren’t 21s in the sense of partial movements, as you typically see with barbell curls. Instead, you do seven reps with a wide grip, seven with a grip just inside of shoulder width and seven with a very close grip. In one set you are nailing your medial deltoid heads, your rear delts and your traps.
I don’t know about you, but those are three places I can never have too much meat! I gave it a try recently and was very impressed with how effectively I was able to stimulate so much muscle mass in the shoulders and traps in just one set. Three of those, and I was toast. I suggest trying it as a finishing movement on shoulder day, or even at the end of your back routine if your side delts could use a little extra work.