6-Way Dumbbell Deltoid Raise
How to Do the 6-Way Dumbbell Deltoid Raise Shoulder Press | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS]
Proper Form, Common Mistakes, Variations + Easier & Harder | Home Strength Training
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MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN 6-Way Dumbbell Deltoid Raises
Front & Side Delt
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
- Rotator cuff
- Levator scapulae
- Latissimus dorsi
- Serratus anterior
- Teres major
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE Front & Side Delt
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
ALL WE'RE DOING:
I wish I could say this is an easy "all we're doing" move but....I mean 6 WAYS. You will need to watch the video for this one or you will be thoroughly confused & likely end up with your arm under your leg and around your head. :)-
WORK LOTS OF SHOULDER MUSCLES AT ONCE
This one might take a minute to get the pattern of, but once you do, it's a fun dumbbell exercise to work many muscles of the shoulders at once, and will also challenge our memories with patterns! Kind of like a choreographed dance just with our arms. This helps us keep life interesting! Lateral raises and front raises can get a bit dull sometimes! This is like changing it up with some salsa dance for your arms.
Not really. It's not nearly that fun or creative, but hey, I'm trying here.
The 6-way deltoid raise works the front and side of the delt muscle, the muscles that move the shoulder blade, and the rotator cuff muscles (smaller shoulder muscles that are needed for healthy shoulder movement).
Our arms are moved through 6 directions in a continuous motion - out to the side of the body to shoulder level, to the front of the body, up overhead, and then the movements are reversed - the arm comes down to the front, out to the side and back down to the sides of the body.
Halfway through the reps, the direction of the movement is reversed so that the movement includes almost all of the movements of the shoulder - lifting to the front (flexion), and lowering back down (extension), lifting out to the side (abduction) lowering back down (adduction), and rotation of the upper arm from being turned inward (internal rotation) and turned outward (external rotation).
This exercise can be used in many different ways - as a warm-up before an upper-body workout, in between upper arm exercises to loosen the joint and increase blood flow to the smaller muscles of the upper back and shoulder, or as a way of ending an upper body workout - it loosens up the shoulder blade and shoulder and can push the muscles to fatigue.
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
SO PRACTICAL FOR WHAT WE DO EVERYDAY
This exercise serves a couple of purposes: the shoulder joint is moved in most of the directions that it is intended to move - this warms up all of the tissues and increases blood flow to the area; the shoulder and shoulder blade move through a large range of motion to warm up/work all of the muscles that move the shoulder blade and increase blood flow to the area; and the movement trains the deltoids, rotator cuff and the muscles of the shoulder blade to work together to control the motion - this is very important for healthy shoulder movement.
LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR SHOULDER BLADES. YEAH YOU, I'M TALKING TO YOUR SCAPULA.
Arm movement over shoulder level requires the shoulder blade to move. The movement of the shoulder blade makes up about ⅓ of shoulder motion. In other words, if your shoulder blade did not move, you would not be able to lift your arm as high - you would only be able to lift it up to the front and out to the side about ⅔ of what your full movement allows and then it would get stuck and not lift any higher. Not cool, not cool. How's a woman supposed to do her hair huh huh?
The movement of the shoulder blade is coordinated with the movement of the arm to make sure that the arm gets to the position you need it to be (what your brain is telling your arm to do). This movement is controlled by very specific coordination between the muscles of the shoulder blade, arm, and rotator cuff muscles. When there is an imbalance between the muscle groups, the movement can become “dysfunctional” meaning that the movement is not healthy or effective - this is when injury or damage to the tissues can happen.
The 6-way deltoid raise can bring some awareness to the muscles of the shoulder blade, rotator cuff and how they work with the deltoid muscle. The exercise helps to train the coordinated muscle activity.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR Delt MUSCLES IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. DELTOIDS (our main shoulder muscle)
Front (Anterior) - lifting to the front of the body (flexion).
- Getting dishes out of the cupboard
- Hanging clothes in the closet
- Washing windows
- Lifting a child out of a crib
Side (Lateral) - lifting arm out to the side (abduction).
- Dressing - putting on a shirt or coat
- Pulling up pants
- Reaching out to close the car door
- Carrying a child on one hip
2. ROTATOR CUFF (INFRASPINATUS, SUPRASPINATUS, SUBSCAPULARIS, TERES MINOR), AND SHOULDER BLADE MUSCLES (TRAPEZIUS, SERRATUS ANTERIOR, LEVATOR SCAPULAE, RHOMBOIDS, PECTORALIS MAJOR, LATISSIMUS DORSI):
- These muscles work in coordination to move and stabilize the arm during any activities that involve the use of the arm
- The coordination and activation of these muscles is essential to protect the shoulder from injury and to be able to move and stabilize the arm
HOW 6-Way Delt Raises SHAPE OUR BODY
Improved posture, tones the muscles of the shoulders and upper arms.
This is a combination movement that targets the front & side of your largest shoulder muscle. The muscle is kept under constant tension - this helps to promote muscle growth and trains the muscles to work at a lower level for a longer period of time.
The exercise involves 6 separate movements completed in sequence, this trains all of the muscles that surround the shoulder blade, the rotator cuff muscles, and the muscles that work to stabilize the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joint. The muscles need to work in coordination to control the continuous movement of the arms.
The exercise can be done with no weight or very light weights, the goal is smooth, controlled continuous movement to work the muscles through a variety of movements that requires coordination of muscle activity.
PROPER FORM: 6-Way Dumbbell Delt Raise
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
SETS & REPS:
10 - 20 reps, to fatigue, changing movement pattern halfway through. Once you are unable to hold the trunk still and make controlled arm movements take a break, do a few more to fatigue. Time can be used for the duration of the exercise, for example: 3 sets of 30 seconds, progressing towards one set of 90 seconds. This will train the muscles for endurance - working at low levels for a long time.
Controlled, continuous movement.
BODY POSITION FOR THE 6-Way Dumbbell Delt Raise
FEET: Feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward.
BODY STANCE: Neutral spine position, knees slightly bent, sternum lifted, shoulder blades in and down the back (this is only the starting position - the shoulder blades will move with the arm movement), space between the top of the shoulders and the ear lobe. Chest wide - this is important to avoid rounding the shoulders in.
ARM: Arms straight down by the sides, neutral grip - palms facing inwards.
NECK: Neutral and relaxed.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO 6-Way Dumbbell Delt Raises
CUE: Fluid, controlled movement. Be mindful of any discomfort or pain - see variation for options.
Are you trying to learn this movement through reading? You're cray-cray girl! Skip the text and watch the vid, you will thank me later!
-Keep your arms straight.
-Lift your arms out to the side (abduction) until they are at shoulder level. Palms will be down.
-Move your arms in until they are in line with the shoulders. Straight out in front of you. Palms will be facing down.
-Lift arms up overhead. Palms will face forwards.
-Reverse the movement: lower your arms down until they are in line with the front of your shoulders.
-Move your arms out to your sides.
-Lower your arms down to your sides.
-Repeat this pattern for ½ or your planned reps.
-At the end of the last rep, move your arms to the front - they will be in front of your thighs, palms facing in.
-Lift arms up in front of you until they are at shoulder level.
-Move arms out to your side, palms will be facing forward.
-Lift arms up overhead. Palms will be facing forwards.
-Reverse the movements. Bring arms down to shoulder level.
-Move arms to the front, in front of shoulders.
-Lower arms down to the front of the thighs.
-Repeat to complete the desired number of sets or time.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE 6-Way Dumbbell Delt Raise
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid working Into pain
AVOID: Avoid moving into pain.
- Pain is there for a reason. It doesn't mean that you can't gradually improve ability or mobility, but usually if you just push yourself through pain, it means that you are causing damage.
WHAT TO DO:
- As with all exercise movements, it's not all or nothing. Do the movement with whatever range of motion your body allows without pain. If you feel pain moving your shoulders overhead, skip that part and do the rest. Or lift just to the point before discomfort.
2. Avoid moving Your torso
AVOID: Avoid moving torso.
- Letting the torso get all loosey-goosey during arm movements puts strain on the spine in a way that is not healthy for it.
WHAT TO DO:
- Use a weight and slow control that allows you to keep your torso very still. It's your arms that are moving, from the shoulder joint, not the torso.
3. Avoid locking your knees
AVOID: Avoid straightening or locking your knees.
- If your knees are locked you may feel pressure or discomfort in the low back or knees.
- Locking your knees puts stress on the knee joint and can make it more difficult to maintain a neutral spine.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep your knees soft with a slight bend.
4. Avoid bending the wrists
AVOID: Avoid bending your wrists.
- Poor alignment (bent forward or backward) or repetitive movement through the wrist can lead to joint and/or soft tissue irritation or injury over time.
WHAT TO DO:
- Your wrists should be in line with your forearm and should be still throughout the exercise.
5. Avoid bending your elbow
AVOID: Avoid bending your elbow.
- This will make it easier because the weight is closer to your shoulder joint (shorter lever arm).
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep your elbows straight to challenge the muscles better.
VARIATIONS OF 6-Way Dumbbell Deltoid Raises
Partial Range of Motion
This exercise can be modified if you shoulder pain, discomfort, or history of shoulder issues with lifting over shoulder level. Take the overhead movements out of the pattern: Your arms go up to shoulder level, move in - to the front, back out to shoulder level and then down to the sides. Change direction - bring up to the front, out to the sides, in - to the front and back down.
In cases of discomfort or pain - only move your arms in positions that feel good to be in. If it is uncomfortable to move your arms all the way up, only move them up as far as is comfortable. As long as you feel your muscles working and you are fatiguing your muscles - you are working your muscles.
Sometimes it is necessary to start with smaller ranges of movement and increase the range as you get stronger. This is fine and much better than pushing through discomfort and injuring your shoulders.
Single Arm 6-Way Delt Raise
Hold your non-working arm at shoulder level - either to the front or the side. This will increase the total time that your muscles are under tension and will work the muscles of your torso a little differently - the sides of your core- your obliques and quadratus lumborum will be more active to prevent rotation and side bending (respectively) of your torso under the loading of one side.
Speed Up the movement
Speed the movement Up
Speed the movement up but maintain control and fluidity, avoid rocking your body or swinging your arms. Complete the pattern ½ way in 2 seconds - up from sides to the front, overhead = 2 seconds.
Challenges the shoulder joint and core stabilizers. Trains the muscle to contract more quickly - to increase the power of the muscle.
Change arm angle
Shoulder discomfort? Change Arm Angle 6-Way Delt Raise
Changing the angle that you do the pattern when you lift to the side might feel better on your shoulder- rather than lifting directly out to your side, you would lift out as if giving someone a big hug- being able to see your hands from the corners of your eyes - this is a more natural position for the arm bone in the shoulder socket and for those with any shoulder issues can be a healthier position - try this and see how it feels.
MAKING THE 6-Way Dumbbell Delt Raise MORE CHALLENGING
Pause for 3 seconds every time you move to new position AND the weight is parallel with the foor: lift arms out to side, hold 3 seconds, move arms to front, hold 3 seconds, move up - no hold, move back down to front, hold 3 seconds, move out to side, hold 3 seconds, move back down to sides, no hold.
This will increase the total time that your muscles are under tension.
Slow down so that each movement lasts for a 5-second count, for example: moving your arms from the sides to shoulder level = 5 seconds.
This will increase the time your muscles are under tension and will increase the eccentric activity of your muscles.
MAKE THE 6-Way Dumbbell Delt Raise MORE DOABLE
No Weights 6-Way Delt Raise
Just learning the stinkin' pattern for this movement is work enough! Your arms will get tired even if you don't use weight.
Seated 6-way dumbbell raise
Sit on a chair or bench. Sit upright with both feet flat on the floor, the back does not rest against the back of the chair. In the seated position the core will work less than in standing.
Stability Ball Seated
Seated on Stability Ball
This will be less stable than seated (more core activation) but more stable than standing.
Simplify the Move
Simplify the move
Here is a way to make this NOT 6-way this & that. You can make the pattern simpler so that you don't feel overwhelmed and still get a good shoulder burn!
SPIFFILICIOUS FACTS ABOUT MUSCLES & MOVES
Healthy movement of the shoulder joint requires that the muscles that stabilize the head of the humerus on the glenoid fossa and the muscles that move the shoulder blade work in coordination, in order to keep the shoulder joint stable and prevent impingement of the tissues of the shoulder.
This coordination involves force couples - muscles working in opposite directions. For example - the deltoid muscle pulls the head of the humerus up. The infraspinatus and subscapularis have to be strong enough to hold the head of the humerus down to prevent impingement. If the deltoid is really strong and the smaller rotator cuff muscles are weak then you are going to end up damaging the shoulder joint over time. The 6-way deltoid raise is nice because it works all of the rotator cuff muscles in many different movements - this strengthens the muscles but it also trains them to work together (neuromuscular control - they need to respond to the movement by adjusting the force they are producing).
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE 6-Way Dumbbell Delt Raise
The core stabilizers work to hold the spine in a neutral position throughout the exercise.
The muscles that move and stabilize the shoulder blade and the shoulder joint will work throughout the exercise - they work in coordination with the goal of keeping the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) stabilized within the shoulder socket (small cup on the shoulder blade. The muscle will contract and relax at varying levels of force for smooth motion and stability. The muscles involved include the rotator cuff, rhomboids, mid and lower trapezius, levator scapulae, latissimus dorsi, and pectoralis.
The biceps, triceps, and forearm muscles work to hold the elbow and wrist straight throughout the exercise.
To begin the supraspinatus (one of the rotator cuff muscles) and the lateral deltoid muscles contract concentrically to lift the arms out to the side. The supraspinatus only contributes for the first part of the movement, after that the lateral deltoid does the work. When the arms reach shoulder level, the deltoid muscle works isometrically to hold the arm at shoulder level. The muscles of the chest, the pectoralis, and coracobrachialis, contract concentrically (this effort is minimal since the muscles are not working against resistance) to move the arms in. When the arms are in line with the shoulders (straight out in front), the anterior deltoids and biceps contract concentrically to lift the arms up overhead.
The movements will be reversed - the biceps and anterior deltoid contract eccentrically to lower the arms back to shoulder height.
The anterior and lateral deltoids will work together isometrically to hold the arm at shoulder height as the rear deltoid works concentrically (minimal effort - not against resistance) to move the arm back out to the side. The lateral deltoid and supraspinatus work eccentrically to control the movement of the arm back down to the sides of the body.
Halfway through the total repetitions, change the pattern so that your arms begin in the front of the body. The anterior deltoid and biceps contract concentrically to lift the arms up to shoulder level. The anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid work isometrically to hold the arm at shoulder level. The rear deltoid works concentrically to move the arm out to the side. The lateral deltoid contracts concentrically to lift the arms up overhead. The movements are reversed - the lateral deltoid works eccentrically to lower the arm to shoulder level. The lateral deltoid and anterior deltoid work together isometrically to hold the arm at shoulder level as the pectoralis and coracobrachialis muscles work concentrically to pull the arms forward to line up in front of the shoulders. The anterior deltoid and biceps work eccentrically to lower the arms down.