For the past few years I've had a nagging shoulder issue that has affected my upper body training. My shoulders, once my biggest upper-body asset, shrank down and became a weakness. And my pressing, which was my strength, turned into barely average.

While doing a seminar with coach Alex Babin, we decided to do a shoulder pump workout because the heaviest weights we had were 30 pound dumbbells. Just for fun we came up with a movement we decided to call "the victory raise." (The Babaudeau raise just didn't have a good ring to it.) We got a great pump from this exercise, and oddly enough my shoulder has been feeling great since I started doing it.

The Victory Raise

  1. Place a small resistance band around your wrists.
  2. Lift the dumbbells from the low position to overhead, forming a "V" at the top.
  3. Initiate the movement as a front raise with a neutral grip. As the movement progresses, spread your arms wider to end up with both arms forming a 45 degree angle with the body at the top of the movement.
  4. Come back down the same way, controlling the weight for a good 3-4 second count. Do not release the tension completely at the bottom! Keep some tension in the bands to keep the muscles firing for max results.

Do the victory raise early in your shoulder or pressing workout. It will turn everything on and will make for safer, more effective pressing. Sets of 8-10 reps with a fairly slow eccentrics are best.

How It Works

This move basically combines all the benefits of a lateral raise, front raise, and band pull-apart. It hits all three heads of the deltoids as well as the rhomboids and lower traps. The band keeps the scapula properly aligned and you can't compensate with the upper traps, making it a lot more effective at recruiting the delts.

Related: The 3 Smartest Ways to Train Shoulders

Related: The 500 Rep Shoulder Workout