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What are Delts?

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  • Written By: Henry Gaudet
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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The deltoid muscles, or delts, are the groups of muscles capping the shoulder. Each deltoid consists of three distinct muscle groups or heads: the anterior, posterior and lateral deltoids. These muscles are responsible for working the shoulder joint, moving the arm away from the body in all directions and providing strength and stability to the shoulder.

Delts are shaped like triangles curving over each shoulder. In fact, the name is derived from delta, the Greek word for a triangle. Each of the deltoid heads is anchored to a different point on the torso, with the anterior connected to the collarbone and the posterior and lateral fixed to the different portions of the shoulder blade. All three come together at the upper portion of the humerus and create a distinct V shape on the upper arm.

Each of these deltoid heads is responsible for lifting the arm in one specific direction. Anterior deltoids give the arm forward motion, posterior deltoids pull the arm backward, and lateral deltoids a move the arm to the side. Working in tandem, the delts give the arm the ability to stretch up and out from the body at any angle. With the help of other upper-body muscle groups, deltoids add to the shoulder’s range of motion, allowing it to shrug, drop and rotate.

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Deltoids also are responsible for holding the shoulder together and minimizing damage. When one is carrying a heavy load, the delts bear that weight and prevent the load from pulling the humerus out of its socket. In cases where objects need to be held away from the body, such as with a sloshing bucket, the deltoids are able to raise these loads laterally.

Developed deltoids give the upper body a broader, more imposing silhouette, and exercises focused on the deltoids are popular among bodybuilders and other athletes. Bodybuilders must keep in mind the function of each portion of the delts for a balanced physique. Focusing on a single range of motion will develop only a third of the deltoid muscles. Exercises working each of the deltoid heads must be selected to develop the entire muscle group.

Workouts targeting the delts most often involve weightlifting. Deltoid workouts commonly include variations on military presses, lateral raises and front raises. Any motion of the shoulder will, however, work a portion of the deltoids, and expensive gym equipment is not required. Simple push-ups or chin-ups will give the shoulders an excellent workout.

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Discuss this Article

animegal
Post 4

@manykitties2 - You really don't need to worry about bulking up. If you don't take any supplements to get big, don't worry! Women just don't have the right body composition to get huge like men do.

I do rear delt exercises as part of my regular upper body workout and I find it helps with my back strength. You need to focus on all of your muscles at one point or another because you want to have a balanced workout.

If you are worried about rear delt exercises on the machine you can ask one of the trainers at the gym how to do a rear delt raise or the rear delt row with free weights. These exercises do a great job of shaping you up without bulking you up.

manykitties2
Post 3

I have been looking at some different weight machines at the gym and was wondering if working on something like the rear delt machine would be a good idea for a woman?

I really want to have shapely arms and a good body line, but I don't want to accidentally build up the wrong muscles and look too wide. I was always under the impression that the rear delts were more of something men should work on, but I want a balanced workout and to improve my general strength. I know I have seen some women using the rear delt machine so I am willing to give it a try if it will help me look better.

jonrss
Post 2

There are lots of great delt exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home without a single piece of equipment. The value of body weight exercises varies depending on the muscle group you are trying to engage, but delts are one of the easiest to build up using just your own body.

Of course there is the classic pushup. This can be modified in many ways to put more strain and dynamic tension on the shoulder muscles. You can also do pushups with your legs in the air balanced against a wall. This is kind of like a reverse pull up and it blasts the whole upper body. Finally, take a heavy container of detergent and raise it up using only your shoulder muscles. Do this straight out in front, to the side and every angle in between. This will add a lot of mass and develop the muscle at every point of stress.

truman12
Post 1

Building up your delts is one of the best ways to add strength and mass for any guy looking to bulk up. Not only are the delts one of the larger muscle groups in the body, but their placement at the shoulders means that any time they grow it increases the width of your upper body. Building up your deltoids is key if you want to develop that V shaped look that is so in demand amongst men these days.

Luckily, the shoulder muscles are easy to develop because they can engage is a wide range of motion and they are used almost any time you engage your upper body. Even if you never worked out your delts specifically

, they would grow in the course of a normal workout routine just by necessity. But if you are looking for faster and bigger results there are lots of great shoulder exercises that you can do. Consult with a trainer or look up info online.

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