Why training front delts is unnecessary for physique athletes

By Live Fit Gym
July 15, 2020

As the title mentions, this week’s blog will be mainly aimed at physique athletes. When I talk about physique athletes I’m not strictly talking about those that compete in bodybuilding but anyone interested in training to improve their physique. The argument I will be making is that if you want to look as good as possible then training front delts is unnecessary and your time and effort would be better spent training other muscle groups. So let’s begin.

Your deltoid (or your delt) is the muscle that covers the shoulder joint and forms the rounded part of the shoulder. I won’t go into too much detail about the anatomy of the deltoid but all you need to know for this is that there are three main parts of the deltoid which all have different functions. You have the posterior head, the lateral head and finally the anterior head or front delt (this is the one will be talking about). The main function of the front felt is to flex the shoulder (lifting you arm straight up in front of you). Exercises that train the front delts are either going to be overhead pressing movements (like a shoulder press) or exercises that require isolated shoulder flexion (like a dumbbell front raise).

So now we have a good understanding of what the front delt is, let’s talk about why I don’t think you need to train it. First of all, when training shoulders for aesthetic purposes, the goal is to create a rounded looking shoulder. The muscles that give this look are the posterior and lateral heads and so these should be the muscles that should be trained the most if we want the best physique possible. But we still need to train the front delts don’t we so that we have a balanced physique? Well probably not. The front delts are used a lot in upper body pressing exercises like bench press and dumbbell presses. So much so that if you are training your chest hard and doing the correct exercises then you are probably doing enough front delt work to at least maintain the size of the delts. Because of this, it is very uncommon to see anyone with a front delt weakness from a physique stand point and quite often the front delts are overdeveloped. The issue with this is that overdeveloped front delts can often make the side delts and the chest look less impressive. Therefore, training front delts on their own will probably not improve your physique.

Finally some practical advice. If you are a beginner lifter then I would definitely recommend still doing some sort of overhead pressing movement as it will develop a good base of strength and is a movement that a lot of people struggle with. If you have an obvious front delt weakness then doing an overhead pressing movement is going to be a lot better than a front raise as you will be able to handle more weight as well as train the side delts and triceps somewhat. Other than these two scenarios, training front delts really hard is probably not going to be worth it as it will impact chest training negatively without improving the aesthetics of your shoulders a whole lot.

Hopefully this article has made you think a bit more critically about your exercise selection and helped you optimise your programme if you are interested in developing the best physique possible.

Speak to you guys again soon.


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