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Get Big Delts with the Super Bench

Help bring up your overhead press one step at a time.

Big, round, wide cannonball delts are the mark of a hardcore bodybuilder. To make them huge, pressing some serious poundage is essential. Heavy dumbbell presses are one of the best ways to go for full deltoid development, but if you're stuck on the 50-pounders, you'll never get those caps. 

Sometimes you have to take an alternate route to increase your strength. Here's a program that's designed to add a good 20 pounds to your dumbbell press. Any takers?

Get Ready

This program actually is a training secret that many Olympic weightlifting champions have used to increase their pressing strength. All that's required is a set of dumbbells and an adjustable bench, preferably on e that goes from flat to up right in many increments; either of the Ironmaster adjustable weight benches are ideal for this (ie. the original Super Bench Adjustable Utility Bench or the Super Bench PRO V2). The trick is that you start by doing flat-bench presses with a certain weight and slowly increase the bench angle over several weeks while using the same weight until you can press it overhead.

Get Set

The first step involves finding a set of dumbbells with which you can do 8-10 reps of the flat-bench dumbbell press. The second step is to find an adjustable bench that allows you to make about eight increments similar to those found in the Big Delt Program.

image, Super Bench Pro V2, adjustable weight bench, Ironmaster, home gym
The Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2, adjustable weight bench, quickly adjusts between 11 different lock-out angles with an easy to use and patented foot-lever.


Do three sets of the presses (using the weight you can get for 8-10 reps on the flat bench throughout the entire program) at the appropriate angle first thing on chest days during Phase 1 and first thing on shoulder days during Phase 2. After you complete the cycle, stick with that weight on the seated overhead dumbbell press for several weeks before starting the program again with a new weight.


Follow the program as designed below. The example is for someone who can flat-bench dumbbell press 85 pounds for 10 reps. Reps shown below are hypothetical. After eight weeks this bodybuilder can now do overhead dumbbell presses with 85 pounds for about seven reps.


Phase 1 training will be performed during your chest workouts. Do three sets of dumbbell presses at the corresponding angle for that week at the very beginning of your workout. Finish with two or three other chest exercises.

big delts program week 1


Phase 2 training will be performed during your shoulder workouts. Do three sets of dumbbell presses at the corresponding angle for that week at the very beginning of your workout. Finish with two or three tother shoulder exercises. 

big delts program week 2

This article was written originally written by Tim Scheet, PhD for Muscle & Fitness magazine in the August 2004 issue, in partnership with Ironmaster.

Ironmaster has been specializing in producing the best home gym equipment since 1978. Check out Ironmaster.com to learn more about our equipment, like our legendary Super Bench Adjustable Weight Bench, the unrivaled Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells, the customer favorite IM2000 Self Spotting Machine (Smith Machine style half rack!), and of course learn how to build a custom package to take advantage of our everyday discount program.

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