Are you struggling with shoulder pain and a hunched-over chest? Then it’s time to address “the elephant in the room” and deal with it. Although you will have to leave your ego at the door, my tried and tested corrective workouts are not for the faint-hearted! Here’s how to correct overdeveloped front delts.
To correct overdeveloped front delts, you must balance all three deltoid muscles. You do this by strengthening your middle (side) and rear (posterior) deltoid muscles by lifting light weights and doing exercises like upright rows, lateral raises, deltoid machine workouts, and face pulls.
Read on if you are serious about sculpting an awesome, finely crafted body!
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- 1 Balancing Your Delt Muscles: What You Need to Know
- 2 Effective Front Delt Correction Exercises
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Bottom Line
Balancing Your Delt Muscles: What You Need to Know
It’s important to understand your shoulder’s anatomy and its respective functions.
Your delts consist of three muscle heads, the front, or anterior deltoids, that help you reach for things, including your middle or side delts and the posterior or rear delts.
They all work to give you a range of movement from your front to the back, side to side (frontal), and transversely (counter-clockwise and clockwise).
The main culprit for overdeveloped frontal deltoids is a bad posture or slouching, which pulls you forward into a curved C instead of a broad T or a ramrod-straight I-shape.
If we are being honest, most people train to improve their appearance, and one of the fastest ways to do that is to work on our posture.
Most guys focus on chest exercises, but dumbbells and close-gripped bench presses, dips, or push-ups overwork your frontal deltoids.
If you are still asking whether you should continue focussing on strengthening your front delts, the answer is a resounding no!
While the average bodybuilder’s anterior or front delts are far larger than sedentary people’s, it is not a balanced approach as rear, and side delts are often neglected.
This imbalanced workout technique often leads to poor posture, overly rounded shoulders, and avoidable injuries. Learn more in our posts Shoulder Workout Machines and Exercises and How to Properly Use the Rear Delt Machine.
You might be wondering how to fix your overworked frontal delts? The solution is an easily maintainable 3-2-1 workout schedule that strengthens your rear (posterior) and side (medial) delts.
Effective Front Delt Correction Exercises
The following workouts will target those elusive middle and rear delts essential to creating an alignment between the three delt heads.
Middle Deltoid Workouts
While bodybuilders focus on their middle delts to increase the width of their shoulders, incorrect military press-ups, lateral raises, and upright rowing techniques overwork their front delts and not their intended middle delts.
However, you can target those elusive middle delts with a few small arms and hand placement modifications. See some additional exercises in Side Delt Exercises for a Stronger Lateral Deltoid.
Upright Rows Modification
Most bodybuilders maintain a narrow hold on the bar, which results in wrist strain and strengthens their front deltoids.
However, the correct way to target your middle delts is to employ an overhand hold on the bar that is wider than your thighs.
Most importantly, move the bar alongside your body up until your elbows are at shoulder height; if you cannot pause when you reach the top, you need to reduce the weight.
Ensure that you align your elbows with your shoulders and that they are not moving forwards. Moreover, check out these additional middle deltoid workouts below.
Lateral Raises Variation
Stand with unlocked knees and slightly bend forward while holding two dumbbells, with your palms facing inwards in front of you, then move them with bent elbows to your sides at shoulder height level and pause there for a while.
Ensure that your thumbs always remain lower compared with your smaller fingers.
But most importantly, don’t give in to the temptation of raising your thumbs and letting your hands move forward as it will activate your front delt muscle.
Watch this video to see how it’s done.
Three Effective Rear Delt Strengthening Exercises
Rear delts have disadvantages as they are far smaller than the front or middle delts. We also don’t see them, so we often ignore them.
However, they are essential as they must be strong enough to hold your shoulders back and counteract powerful front delts and big chest muscles.
Moreover, sturdy rear delts complement well-built shoulders and a strong back.
To attain powerful rear delts, you must leave your ego at the door and complete the following effective workouts that most bodybuilders would avoid like the plague!
Light Dumbbell Raises
Grab some lightweight dumbbells from the rack that you would otherwise ignore, bend forwards with unlocked knees, about parallel to the gym floor, or rest your head on an incline bench while doing these raises.
See our top three adjustable dumbells below.
You can also do this workout lying face down on an incline bench on a low angled incline bench or a flat bench.
Concentrate on letting the dumbbells hang downwards with the palms of your hands facing inwards towards your knees, then lift them with straight arms to your sides, aligned with your shoulders.
Most importantly, keep your thumbs pointing downwards, raise the weights as high as possible, and pause. If you cannot do so, the weights are probably too heavy.
Ensure you have a slow, controlled descent and do at least eight reps.
Alternatively, you can straighten out slowly with every rep to let your middle or side delts assist your rear delts.
Here’s a great video to teach you a few tips and tricks about targeting those elusive rear delts.
The Rear Deltoid Machine
The rear delt machine is effective as it maintains tension throughout every movement, although you need to adjust the seat to ensure that your arms create a horizontal line.
Alternatively, lower the seat by approximately three inches, then steadily raise it with every set.
Use the horizontal handlebars to target your rear delts and the vertical handlebars for your middle delts, or combine them for a proper workout.
Face Pull Variations
Seasoned powerlifters have been using face pulls to create powerful Neanderthal-like bodies for eons as it’s highly effective in strengthening rotator cuffs and rear and middle delts.
The most common face pull technique is triceps ropes with a palm-to-palm hold.
However, if you want to see results, use a resistance band or a flexible cable for additional home-based workouts.
See some of our favorite resistance bands below.
It is far more effective to gain a full, controlled, and slow contraction than pulling heavyweights that can affect your balance or propel you forwards.
If you want to up your game, perform a face pull with an external rotation as it deepens your scapular retraction and supports your back.
You need to perform a classic face pull and rotate upward (like a double biceps strong man pose).
You can do the face pull and rotation exercises in two phases or move fluidly into the rotation.
Ultimately, it does not matter which option you choose as you will certainly feel it the next morning!
Frequently Asked Questions
So, now that you know what it takes to have a chiseled, well-balanced physique, let’s address any lingering questions.
Which Exercises Should I Avoid?
Your front delts are probably overdeveloped due to overhead or military presses as your elbow position does not strengthen your middle and rear delts.
So, if you want to avoid consulting with an expensive orthopedic surgeon – stay clear of military presses!
What Should My Long-Term Workout Strategy Be?
Above all, focus on prioritizing your rear delt strength with several lightweight reps, and don’t be tempted by your gym buddies to compete with heavy weightlifting. Perseverance is key!
I hope you have learned how to correct overdeveloped front delts.
It is possible to correct overdeveloped front delts if you are prepared to do the work and make peace with the fact that, unlike the guys in your gym, you will use lighter weights that powerlifters would normally look down on.
But trust me – it’s worth it!
Last update on 2022-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API