One Plate. Big Shoulders.

The Most Effective Delt Finisher

One Plate Big Shoulders
Categorized under Training

Most people say shoulder presses and lateral raises are your meat and potatoes for delts. And if you truly want delts that look like bowling balls, you’ll add some kind of rear-delt flye into the mix as well.

But what about front raises? Here’s what the average lifter will say: “Front raises are unnecessary because your anterior delts get hit with other lifts.” Or he’ll say they just feel awkward.

So should we just toss the front raise out completely? I vote no. Sort of. The front raise just needs a massive update.

The Plate Delt Uppercut

Here’s a new take on front raises that’ll train all areas of your delts and add some extra fire to your shoulder workouts:


  1. To get the technique right, start with a lighter plate until you perfect the move.
    If possible, use full-size bumper plates because your hands will be the same distance apart even as you go up in weight. And if you go super light, you won’t be gripping a teeny plate.
  2. Get the plate directly over your head on each rep. This helps keep your shoulders and elbows nicely aligned.
  3. Think of the bottom (pushing arm) as performing an uppercut-type motion.
  4. Think of the higher arm (raising arm) as doing somewhat of a face-pull motion.
  5. If you’re doing it right, you’ll almost be able to kiss your biceps each time. I won’t judge if you actually do.
  6. Do sets of about 20 reps (10 on each side). Although you can go all the way up to 50 reps (25 on each side) to really balloon up your delts.

Why It Works

The delts tend to respond best to methods that create a lot of blood occlusion and metabolic stress. This exercise works well at getting a load of blood occluded in your delts.

Sure, train them heavy on occasion. But you’ll be missing out on some size gains if you don’t chase the pump sometimes… particularly for this muscle group.

Many don’t train their delts efficiently. They merely swing heavy weight around and use momentum without actually feeling the muscle work. So chasing a pump is a good way to build awareness of this area.

Plate delt uppercuts do a great job at maintaining targeted tension in your delts for longer duration sets. And they’re not boring, like your standard front or lateral raise. Think of them as a combination of a front raise, Arnold press, lateral raise, and face-pull. How can that not be fun?

Gareth Sapstead is a coach, author, and educator. Originally from the UK, Gareth currently lives in Melbourne Australia, where he trains clients both in person and online to achieve a high-performance lifestyle. Follow Gareth Sapstead on Facebook