Rodney’s Road to a Crazy “V” Taper, Part 2: Davis Does Delts
Last month we established the value of having a great V-taper, whether you want to get noticed on a bodybuilding stage or on the beach. It’s a winning look that fans of the sport, the judges and the general public admire. One guy who definitely knows how to build a tremendous taper is emerging, top National competitor, Rodney Davis. Last month, Rodney disclosed his tried and true methods for building a winning back. This month, Rodney is ready to take you to school on how to develop another bodypart critical to taper…barn-door wide delts!
Rodney’s Road to Great Delts
Rodney was definitely blessed when it comes to great genetics for bodybuilding. But his blessing was almost a curse.
“When my mother was giving birth to me, my clavicles were so wide that I actually got stuck during the birth after my head popped out. In fact, a specialist had to be flown in to complete the delivery. For a while, it was kind of touch and go and we were both at risk. Thankfully, we both came out of it fine.”
Let’s take a look at how Rodney went from a newborn with wide clavicles to a top national competitor with huge delts.
Exercise 1: Standing Side Dumbbell Lateral
“I have always done this movement first because the side head of the delt is critical to your appearance on stage. It creates width across the upper body, which accentuates your taper. While I’ve experimented with lots of variations of laterals, I prefer to do them standing, using both arms simultaneously.”
Rodney will start with the dumbbells in front of his waist with his upper body leaning slightly forward. From there, with a slight bend in his elbows, he will raise his arms straight out until they are parallel to the floor at shoulder height. He will also twist his hands at the top of the movement in a pouring motion to accentuate the contraction on the deltoid. From that top position, Rodney will lower the weight back down to the starting position in a controlled fashion that keeps the pressure on the side head of the delt. He makes sure to maintain the slight bend at the elbow throughout the movement. Rodney does two warmup sets, followed by 4-5 sets of 10-12 reps.
“I feel like I get so much out of this movement that I could just do laterals and have good delts. But, of course, I do other exercises to insure that I am going to be the best I can possibly be.”
Exercise 2: Front Dumbbell Raises
Next up in the Davis delt thrashing is another isolation movement, front dumbbell raises. This movement is a direct hit on the front head of the shoulder. Standing with a dumbbell resting against each thigh, Rodney begins the movement by slowly raising the weight to eye level. He lowers the weight back to the starting point before beginning a repetition with the other arm.
“Once the movement begins, the only thing you see moving is my arms. I don’t allow my upper body to rock back and forth and end up letting momentum move the weight instead of my shoulder.”
Again, four sets of 10-12 reps is Rodney’s prescription for success here.
Exercise 3: Front Press
Rodney now moves to an old shoulder standby, seated presses to the front, using either a barbell or a Smith Machine. What about the popular press behind the neck?
“I don’t believe in them. Too risky because they put your body in a very unnatural position.”
As for his form, Rodney takes a shoulder-width grip and will press the bar overhead to a position just short of fully locked to keep the tension on the muscle. As he completes each repetition, he slowly lowers the bar in a controlled fashion to the upper pec. And presses again. Rodney does a total of four sets or 8-10 reps.
Exercise 4: Reverse Pec Dec
Moving on the rear head of his delts, Rodney favors using a wide handled pec dec. He feels that he can get a better isolation on his rear delts using the machine. He sits facing the machine with his chest against the pad and back slightly arched. Rodney will grab the handles at a height that will have his hands just slightly above his shoulders while maintaining a very slight bend in the elbows. Then he will slowly pull back to a position where his arms form a straight line across his body before returning to the starting position. The key to the whole movement is that the elbows must remain up and bent ever so slightly from beginning to end. Rodney also employs a technique to increase the intensity of the movement.
“Every third rep I will hold the handles in the contracted position for 4-5 seconds and squeeze hard. You’d be amazed at how much harder it makes the movement.”
Rodney will perform four sets of 12 reps.
Exercise 5: Barbell Shrugs
Rodney trains his traps on shoulder day with heavy barbell shrugs. After pulling his lifting belt tight and wrapping his lifting straps tight around the bar, Rodney pulls the bar as high as he can without rolling the shoulders, squeeze hard on the trap every few reps and returns to the full hanging position. He does four sets of 12 reps to complete the workout.
The Future for Rodney
Rodney is planning on taking two shots at a pro card in 2005. First, he’ll travel East to compete at the Master’s Nationals, where this writer believes he has an excellent chance of becoming an IFBB Pro. If that doesn’t go as planned, Rodney will return home to Las Vegas and compete the following week at the USA Championships in the super heavyweight class where he has been a top-five finisher. With a tiny waist that billows out to an outrageous taper capped off with an awesome set of delts, Rodney has the type of physique that is capable of great things on stage. From newborn with wide clavicles to bodybuilding champ with an outrageous taper, it’s almost as if Rodney was born to be wide.