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4 Medial Delt Exercises To Build Cannonball Shoulders

Medial Delt Exercises To Build Cannonball Shoulders
The make or break body part for any good physique in my eyes are the shoulders. Wide, round shoulders give the illusion of a smaller waist, creating what is known as the ‘V taper’.

Some guys are born with genetically broad shoulders, I personally were not one of the winners of this genetic lottery… although over time I have been able to sculpt my shoulders into by far my strongest and most dominant muscle group (as of right now I’ve had to reduce the volume of shoulder work I do as they are beginning to overpower my chest/arms in terms of proportion).

Most guys hit set after set of dumbbell shoulder press and military press and although they may build significant shoulder strength they don’t end up with those round, full shoulders.
Why?

They’re spending the majority of their time hitting the anterior deltoid (front portion of the shoulder).
You must isolate the medial deltoid (side portion of your shoulder) in order to attain that elusive ‘cannonball’ look.

Below are 4 medial delt exercises I recommend adding to your regime if you’re lacking in the medial deltoid department.

1 – Dumbbell Arnold Press

The Arnold Press is an excellent exercise for hitting the anterior, medial and posterior heads of the deltoid (shoulder) in one exercise!
This Arnold Press is best described as your regular dumbbell shoulder press with a twist.

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Shoulders

Required: Dumbbells + Bench

Dumbbell Arnold Press Form…

Sit on a bench and grasp two dumbbells in front of your torso at upper chest level, your palms should be facing your face and your elbows should be bent (picture the contracted top position of a seated dumbbell biceps curl).

Begin to raise the dumbbells while rotating your palms until facing forward.

Continue lifting the dumbbells until your arms are extended above you as if it were a regular dumbbell shoulder press.

Contract at the top for one second.

Reutrn the dumbbells to the starting position by lowering them while rotating at the same time so your palms are once again facing towards your torso at upper chest level.

Dumbbell Arnold Press Variations

Standing Arnold Press

Add your core into the equation by performing the Arnold press standing as opposed to seated.
You’ll most likely find a reduction in weight necessary when performing the standing varia

2 – Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise

The dumbbell side lateral raise and all of its variations are fantastic for building up the medial (side) of the deltoid.

If you want those round, cannonball style shoulders this is one exercise you cannot afford to neglect!

I recommend hitting the side lateral raise immediately after you’ve finished up the heavy pressing movements (e.g. barbell overhead press) during your shoulder workout.

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Shoulders

Required: Dumbbells

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise Form…

Grasping a pair of dumbbell stand straight with palms facing towards your body with a slight bend in your knees.

Maintaining your straight position proceed to raise the dumbbells to your sides with a slight bend in your elbows.

As you reach the top of the repetition tilt the dumbbells slightly as if you were pouring a glass of water.

Lower the dumbbells back down to your side.

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise Variations

Front/Side Raise Combo

Perform one repetition of the side lateral raise followed by one repetition of the dumbbell front raise, continue alternating for the desired number of repetitions.

3 – Dumbbell One Arm Side Lateral Raise


The one arm side lateral raise is an excellent isolator of the medial deltoid. By grasping onto a smith machine or similar bar we’re able to increase the range of motion of the exercise while also eliminating our tendency to jerk or ‘cheat’ the weight up to the top of the rep.

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Shoulders

Required: Dumbbell + Smith Machine

Dumbbell One Arm Side Lateral Raise Form…

Grasp a dumbbell in one of your hands, your non lifting hand should be hold onto the bar set at a decent height in the smith machine or similar.

Lean in towards your arm holding the dumbbell while extending your arm holding onto the smith machine.

Hold the dumbbell at arms length with your palm facing towards your torso.

Without jerking your body proceed to llift the dumbbell to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and your hand slightly tilted forward as if pouring water in a glass.

Pause at the top of the repetition for 1 second.

Slowly lower back to your side and repeat for the desired number of reps before switching arms.

4 – Cable One Arm Side Lateral Raise

Unlike dumbbell variations of the lateral raise the cable one arm side lateral raise allows us to maintain constant tension on the medial deltoid for the duration of your set. You won’t be able to go as heavy as if you were performing this movement with dumbbells, however time under tension is a method of progressive overload. 

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Shoulders

Required: Cable Machine + Handle

Cable One Arm Side Lateral Raise Form…

Grasp a cable in one of your hands, your non lifting hand should be hold onto the bar set at a decent height in the smith machine or similar.

Lean in towards your arm holding the cable while extending your arm holding onto the cable machine.

Hold the cable at arms length with your palm facing towards your torso.

Without jerking your body proceed to lift the cable to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and your hand slightly tilted forward as if pouring water in a glass.

Pause at the top of the repetition for 1 second.

Slowly lower back to your side and repeat for the desired number of reps before switching arms.

What’s Your Take On These 4 Medial Delt Exercises? Let Me Know Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.https://ignorelimits.com
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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