Bodybuilder James Hollingshead Builds Titanic Delts With Brutal Shoulder Workout

“The Shed” blasts his delts and triceps during an intense training session.

On April 21, 2022, IFBB Pro Open division bodybuilder James Hollingshead shared a thoroughly intense delt and triceps session on his fast-growing YouTube channel. Hollingshead met up with coach Patric Tuor at King’s Gym — a chain of England-based training centers of which Hollingshead is an owner.

The British bodybuilder had a standout year in 2020, winning both the European Pro and British Grand Prix Pro Men’s Bodybuilding, respectively, earning his way to the 2021 Olympia and placing 12th in his first appearance at the most prominent bodybuilding show in the world. The UK native is amping up his training to move up the ranks. Check out the intense delts and triceps session via the video below:

Smith Machine Shoulder Press

Hollingshead and his crew took to the Smith machine for shoulder presses. After a few warm-ups, they did one straight set, then added 20 kilograms (44.1 pounds) on the barbell before performing another set with multiple drop sets and no breaks in between. 

It’s just going to be fluid, continual tension.

Two guys stood on either side of the machine for the drop set and stripped a weight plate off after each mini set to failure. But anyone who’s done this type of training knows that even though the weight gets lighter, the reps do not feel easier. Hollingshead admitted to feeling the fatigue afterward. Hollingshead set up on the weight bench at a slight incline so that the bar came very close to his face — ideal for pressing power and safety.

The Smith machine is one of the few shoulder press variations that replicates a free-weight barbell press. However, since the bar is fixed to a rail and moves along a predetermined path, it does not require stabilizing the weight during the rep. Hollingshead notes that the Smith machine bar felt heavier than others he’s trained with. This is typical, though, as Smith machine bars can vary in weight.

Dumbbell/Cable Lateral Raises & Converging Machine Shoulder Press

“Out and up”…is what Hollingshead’s coach repeated to remind the bodybuilder to push the dumbbells out and lift them when doing lateral raises. They did a warm-up and then heavy partials before dropping the weight and using a full range of motion to blast the delts. Dumbbell laterals are effective for overloading the deltoids to build that roundness and further the appearance of a smaller waist

They jumped right into a similar exercise with the cable machine. The advantage of cables over dumbbells is tension created through a more extensive range of motion. This exercise aims to raise the elbow up and back behind the head instead of directly out to the sides for rear delt stimulation. However, the lateral delts are the primary focus.

A little assistance from the elbow and hand just like this go a long long way.

Hollingshead also wanted some of his viewers to note how coach Tuor spotted from the forearm during the lateral raises. 

Those failure reps, those couple of reps you get after you’re really basically buggered are the reps that really count.

Moving onto another shoulder press movement, Hollingshead keeps tension on the shoulders by not locking out the elbows but maintains a steady yet slow and controlled tempo. He did a superset with dumbbell side-to-front raises. While performing the dumbbell raise, Hollingshead only used 10-kilogram (22-pound) dumbbells as his shoulders were tired from the previous exercises. Only one superset was shown. 


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[Related: How Bodybuilder Derek Lunsford Trains His Chest For 212 Division Greatness]

EZ Bar Triceps Pushdowns & Cable V-Bar Overhead Extensions

After shoulders, the gang performed triceps pushdowns using the EZ barbell, which Hollingshead prefers over a straight bar because it’s more comfortable for the wrists. They did one normal set, increased the weight, and performed partials before doing another set with a lighter weight. The following exercise was overhead extensions using cables and a V-bar. Hollingshead did five-second negatives for this movement. 

Just creating a little bit of different stress.

Hollingshead mentioned that most exercises don’t stretch the triceps like overhead extensions. The Open division competitor believes the key to getting bigger arms is to train them properly using a full range of motion and plenty of weight.

Dumbbell Skull Crushers & Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdowns

Hollingshead continued his triceps training with dumbbell skull crushers, a variation of lying extensions. He turned the bottom of the dumbbells out as he lowered them to his head, then brought them back to a neutral position as he extended his arms. The workout concluded with reverse grip pushdowns, but as Hollingshead explained, it’s not for using heavy weight but focusing on contracting the triceps.

After the workout, Hollingshead did some posing and gave an off-season progress update. The massive athlete weighs 300 pounds and eats five meals per day, though he’s cut down on the food due to digestive issues. Hollingshead is happy with his progress so far, and while he knows he has space for improvement, he understands it’s a process.


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[Related: Bodybuilder Sadik Hadzovic Shares Back Workout and Tips For Bigger Lats]

James Hollingshead’s Full Shoulder and Triceps Workout

Below are the exercise shown in the same order performed during the workout. Due to the video editing, a precise number of sets and reps for each movement weren’t provided.

  • Smith Machine Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Cable Lateral Raise
  • Machine Shoulder Press Superset w/ Dumbbell Side-Front Lateral Raise
  • EZ Bar Triceps Pushdowns
  • Cable V-Bar Overhead Extensions

Hollingshead’s next competition is likely the Arnold Sports Festival UK show from Sept. 23-25, 2022, to qualify for the 2022 Olympia scheduled for December 16-18, in Las Vegas, NV. If he returns to the sport’s grandest stage, he’ll look to improve upon his 12th place ranking from 2021.

Featured image: @hollingshead89 on Instagram