The Momentum Problem
Most lifters want to grow big delts, so they fill their workouts with lateral raises and reverse flyes. More often than not, ego kicks in as they move to heavier and heavier dumbbells.
But here's something that may shock you: you don't need heavy weights to grow bigger shoulders. You probably don't need more than 10-15 pounds.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing isolation exercises is using momentum... mainly because their weights are too heavy.
If your goal is to isolate a particular muscle group, you want to eliminate as much momentum as possible so you can effectively make the targeted muscle the prime mover of the exercise.
These three exercises do just that. They eliminate momentum so you can dial in on the muscles of the shoulder and upper back.
A common tendency during lateral raises is to push the hips forward and back while "swinging" the dumbbells up. This lateral raise variation eliminates that.
Face the wall like your mom just put you in a timeout. Place your forehead against the wall and keep it there throughout the set. With your palms facing the wall, make a big circle by raising the dumbbells overhead, keeping your arms locked.
Bringing the weight overhead adds upper trap engagement. If you want to focus solely on your delts, bring the dumbbells to shoulder height.
This one is great because a prone (face down) position reinforces upper back/rear delt engagement by eliminating potential momentum.
You'll be able to use slightly heavier weights than you normally would for reverse flyes, but nothing crazy heavy. I'm using 20 pounds here and probably should've gone down to 15 pounds.
Lay prone on a bench. Row the dumbbells up with your elbows tucked at your sides. Keeping your elbows up, straighten your arms out to your sides (making a "T" formation) and slowly lower the dumbbells.
Try using a 3-4 second eccentric (lowering) phase.
Lay prone on a bench with 5-10 pounds in each hand. You can even use 2.5 pounds and still get the benefit of the exercise.
You're alternating between bent and straight-arm positions, holding each one for a 2-3 second count. The idea is to squeeze your upper back as hard as you can each rep to maximize tension.