Getting Creative With Deltoids And Triceps


Sunday, August 7th. This shoulders and triceps session was a real hodge podge. Everything from Vince Gironda’s 8 sets of 8 to rest pause to static holds to unilateral training to descending sets. He he… My muscles didn’t know what hit em! They just HAD to grow!


A1 Smith Machine Military Press
2 light warm up sets
Set 1: 135 lbs X 12 reps
Set 2: 155 lbs X 8 reps, 135 lbs X 6, 115 X 6 (drop set)
Set 3: 155 lbs X 8 + 8 more reps, rest/pause from dead stop
A2 Standing Dumbbell 3 Way lateral / front raise
3 sets X 25 lbs X failure
B1 Standing Straight Arm Dumbbell Lateral raise (start with DB’s touching behind glutes)
3 sets X 20 lbs X 12 reps
B2 Standing (bent arm) lateral raise (start with DB’s touching in front)
3 sets X 25 lbs X failure
C1 Rear Delt machine (leaning into Machine, Palms down grip)
4 sets X 140 lbs X 12-15 reps, drop to 120 lbs then 6 more with right arm, 6 more with left arm, 6 more with right arm, 6 more with left arm (bilateral to unilateral technique)


A1 Triceps Pushdowns, elbows out, V-Bar
70 lbs X 8 sets of 8 reps, “I go, you go”
B1 Reverse Dips Between Benches
3 sets X 45 lbs X 12, then bodyweight to failure
C1 Decline 2 Dumbbell Lying Tricep Extension with rotation
Set 1: 35 lbs X 12 reps
Set 2: 35 lbs X 12 reps, drop to 20 lbs X 8 reps alternating with holds at top
Set 3: 35 lbs X 10 reps, drop to 20 lbs X 8 reps alternating with holds at mid point

Workout Commentary

Conventional workouts bore me to death (usually). Do a set of 8-12 reps. rest a minute or two. Do another set of 8-12 reps. rest another minute or two. Do another set of 8-12 reps. rest another minute or two. Switch exercises. repeat. Yawn.

But besides the boredom factor, unless these “conventional workouts” are very heavy, all out, high intensity affairs, they just don’t make me grow. My muscles just laugh at me… “Bwa ha ha ha ha… That’s all you got for us today, tom? muaha ha hah ha…. nice try! We ain’t growin!”

Yeah – if my muscles could talk, they’d be saying something like that. It’s a battle every time I go into the gym. With strategies, tactics and techniques, I must win every daily battle in order to win the war.

So… I just get creative and shock the living daylights out of my muscles almost every time. Instead of hearing my muscles taunt and laugh at me, I want to hear them say, “Uh oh… here comes Venuto again.. what’s that crazy bastard going to throw at us this time??? but I digress… that’s another conversation 🙂

We started out with smith machine military presses and did something different on each set. Set one, regular set. Set two, drop set. Set three; drop set into rest pause reps. After each set of military presses we supersetteed straight to dumbbells and did 3 way lateral raises: 1 rep to the side, 1 rep to 45 degrees, 1 rep to the front then repeat as many times as possible

Next, it was on to even more lateral raises to really blast that lateral head of the deltoid and the lateral/rear deltoid tie in and deltoid/tricep tie in. To target this area, we did the lateral raises standing with straight arms (locked elbows) beginning the movement with the dumbbells touching in the rear of the body behind the glutes. Upon hitting failure, we supersetted into regular bent arm laterals with heavier weight, starting with the dumbbells touching in front of the body. the straight arm version of the lateral is much more isolated to the side deltoid and requires lighter weights. The bent arm lateral raise is more of a “power lateral” and can be done with much, much heavier weight.

Deltoids concluded with the rear delt machine, standing up and leaning INTO the machine to eliminate 100% of any possible cheating and to target a slightly different portion of the rear delt than seated perfectly vertical in the seat (or leaning backwards).

To extend each set to squeeze everything out of the rear delts possible, when I reached failure on two armed rear delt raises, I paused for about 5 seconds, then went directly into more reps one arm at a time. By holding every rep for a couple of seconds in the contracted position, combined with the set extension technique, this gave my rear delts a working like they haven’t gotten for a long time on this machine.

After deltoids, it was immediately onward to triceps.

We kicked off tri’s with V-bar pushdowns. 8 sets of 8, which we zipped through very quickly, only resting while the other person was doing his set. We did these elbows out, working especially on that lateral tricep head.

Next was an oldie but goodie I haven’t done in a long time: reverse dips between benches. This one you have to be a little careful because the stretch position at the bottom can stress the shoulder joint, so I didn’t go very heavy – just a 45 pound plate on my lap – with strict form, followed by as many reps as I could do with body weight alone.

The grand finale was decline tricep extensions with two dumbbells. This is my 3rd workout on this exercise. Each time I’ve moved up 5 lbs. This time, instead of just straight sets, the last two sets were drop sets into alternating extensions. These were made more difficult by holding the one arm at the top (contracted) position while the other arm did the repetition (rather than resting at the bottom of the rep).

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Comments on Getting Creative With Deltoids And Triceps Leave a Comment

August 16, 2005

Marc @ 6:28 pm #

When you say… 135 on the Smith Machine are you counting the bar as 45 lbs? Or do you not count the bar at all and just add up the weights?

August 18, 2005

Tom venuto @ 1:30 pm #

Marc, the poundages listed include the bar weight, but the bar weight is rarely 45 lbs on a Smith machine. The weight of a bar on a Smith machine varies depending on the brand. Most Smith machines these days are counterbalanced. The one I used during this workout was counterbalanced to 15 lbs, so slapping two 45’s on each side is 105 lbs. Another dime + nickel makes it 135 lbs. When I’m training at other gyms on a different Smith machine, I sometimes ask the owner/manager if I’m not sure the weight of the bar, or I just guess. I can usually tell just by doing a few warm up reps with the bar. On a similar note, on exercises like leg presses, the carriage (sled) can sometimes weigh a lot, but no one ever seems to know how much they weigh (I guess I could call the manufacturer if I really wanted to know), so on leg presses, the poundages you see are only the weights added on each side.

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