With the 2023 Olympia on Nov. 2-5, 2023, fast approaching, attention turns toward two-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Breon Ansley, who has not yet announced if he will stay in the Classic Physique division or transition to the 212 division. If he decides the latter, he will have to compete and win a 212 pro show before the qualification deadline on Oct. 9, 2023.
Ansley aims to bring a larger, more muscle-dense physique to the 2023 Olympia, using high-volume shoulder workouts to further accent his V-taper. On Aug. 30, 2023, Ansley published a training video on his YouTube channel, sharing his six go-to exercises for building bigger and rounder deltoids. Check it out below:
Breon Ansley’s Shoulder Workout
Here is a summary of Ansley’s high-volume shoulder workout:
- Dumbbell Upright Row
- Machine Shoulder Press
- Cable Lateral Raises
- Dumbbell Shrugs
- Dumbbell Front Raise
- Reverse Pec Deck Flye
Dumbbell Upright Row & Machine Shoulder Press
Ansley opened with dumbbell upright rows, biasing his traps. He pulled the dumbbells to the outside of his chest during concentrics, meaning his upper arms parallelled the floor at the top.
Ansley employed slow eccentrics on the machine shoulder press, avoiding lockout to increase his time under tension and maximize muscle fiber recruitment. A Journal of Physiology study found that “greater muscle time under tension increased protein synthesis, improving hypertrophy.” (1)
Cable Side Lateral Raise & Dumbbell Shrug
Ansley is building rounder shoulders to improve his upper body symmetry. He performed cable side lateral raises unilaterally (one arm at a time) for heightened mind-muscle connection (deliberately contracting the target muscle group). He kept constant tension on his lateral deltoid throughout the 20-25 reps on each side.
Ansley leaned over slightly during his dumbbell shrugs. He pulled his elbows past his midline on concentrics, biasing the rear delts, rhomboid, traps, and teres major and minor.
Dumbbell Front Raise & Reverse Pec Deck Flye
Ansley performed alternating dumbbell front raises to target his anterior deltoids. He avoided swinging his torso, limiting the movement to his shoulder joints. He closed his session with reverse pec deck flyes through his full range of motion, followed by partial reps to failure. A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that “partial range of motion exercise is effective for facilitating muscle hypertrophy and function.” (2)
Ansley has a lifetime qualification to compete at the Classic Physique Olympia as a former champion in that division. However, he must win a 212 pro show to qualify for that division if he intends to challenge reigning 212 Olympia champion Shaun Clarida’s throne.
- Burd NA, Andrews RJ, West DW, Little JP, Cochran AJ, Hector AJ, Cashaback JG, Gibala MJ, Potvin JR, Baker SK, Phillips SM. Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional synthetic responses in men. J Physiol. 2012 Jan 15;590(2):351-62. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.221200. Epub 2011 Nov 21. PMID: 22106173; PMCID: PMC3285070.
- Goto M, Maeda C, Hirayama T, Terada S, Nirengi S, Kurosawa Y, Nagano A, Hamaoka T. Partial Range of Motion Exercise Is Effective for Facilitating Muscle Hypertrophy and Function Through Sustained Intramuscular Hypoxia in Young Trained Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2019 May;33(5):1286-1294. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002051. PMID: 31034463.
Featured image: @breonma_ on Instagram