IFBB Pro Bodybuilders Brett Wilkin & Iain Valliere Train Shoulders and Triceps Ahead of 2022 Arnold Classic

Wilkin is closing in on his Arnold Classic debut.

IFBB Pro League Men’s Open bodybuilders Brett Wilkin and Iain Valliere joined forces for a few training sessions while Wilkin was visiting his coach, Matt Jansen, at the Revive Gym in Stuart, FL. One of those sessions was a shoulder and triceps workout that Wilkin published on his YouTube channel on Feb. 26, 2022.

The workout was particularly interesting because at the time of filming, Wilkin was less than three weeks out of the 2022 Arnold Classic, which takes place on the weekend of Mar. 4-5 in Columbus, OH. Valliere on the other hand, is in the middle of his offseason. He therefore hadn’t been dieting, while Wilkin was closing in on the end of his preparation for the contest in Columbus.

Below, you’ll find a lift-by-lift breakdown of their joint session, and a sample workout template you can follow as well: 


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Smith Machine Shoulder Press

Wilkin and Valliere began with a Smith machine Shoulder Press while sitting on a bench with a high incline position. Many bodybuilders utilize a high incline angle to keep tension on the front delt while minimizing pressure on the spine.

The duo began with one 45 pound plate on each side, followed by two, then they added a 25 to each side after that. They intended to settle on a top set with three 45-pound plates and a single 25 on each side (320 pounds in total, plus the weight of the Smith bar itself), but Wilkin racked it after four reps.

“Too light,” he exclaimed. They replaced the smaller plate with another full-size 45-pound disc. With four of those on each side, Wilkin performed eight reps followed by two forced reps thanks to the assistance of Jansen. Valliere was able to get 10 reps on his own, plus two more assisted reps before he re-racked the weight. Both men performed a lighter set to failure as well. 

Cable Lateral Raise

The focus for the next two exercises would be on the lateral deltoids, which help to maximize the appearance of torso width on stage. The weight Wilkin and Valliere used wasn’t specifically mentioned, but Wilkin reached 15 reps when he performed his first set to total failure. Next up was the 2021 Tampa Pro and Texas Pro winner — Valliere reached his failure point at the 15 rep mark as well.

On the next set, they incorporated a ten-second rest-pause technique after reaching failure the first time to push towards a higher level of effort. They also added forced reps and partials at the end as well.

“Big shoulders,” Wilkin said to Valliere while he was taking his turn. Both men were willing to leave it all on the gym floor and pushed each other to squeeze out a few more reps each. 

Machine Lateral Raise

Wilkin and Valliere moved on to a second lateral raise movement next. Wilkin jokingly called it the “Butcher side lateral,” a reference to his nickname, and described it as his favorite way to target the lateral head of the deltoid. Wilkin used a cue to remind Valliere to use a full range of motion as well as keep him motivated to push harder.

“To the ground, to the walls. There you go,” Wilkin said while Valliere was pushing through the set. Counting forced reps, Valliere got 20 reps on that set. Both bodybuilders did four sets before moving on.

Cable Rear Lateral Raise On the Incline Bench

Wilkin said he’s never done this version of the rear lateral raise before. Each athlete held onto the cables while lying face-down on an adjustable bench set to a low incline. They then pulled the wires apart to simulate a rear delt flye with constant tension. 

“High volume, get as many as you can,” Wilkin told the camera. They both worked in the 15 to 20 rep range. Both Wilkin and Valliere worked in a drop set and some partial reps towards the end as well. 

Triceps Pushdowns and Face Pulls

The video doesn’t show clearly whether Wilkin and Valliere were performing the next two exercises as a superset or if they were alternating them with time in between. It is clear, however, that they finished the shoulder portion of the session with face pulls, another rear delt exercise, while transitioning to triceps with the pushdowns.


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Despite being visibly exhausted, Wilkin and Valliere made it a priority to focus on executing each rep with good form. They were squeezing their triceps hard on the pushdowns, and they kept their elbows high on the face pulls to keep the focus on the rear delts. A drop set was also added at this point in the workout.

“3-Way” Triceps Extensions

The final exercise of the workout was both a unilateral movement and one of Wilkin’s favorites. He explained that he performed a single-arm cable extension across the body for ten reps, then beside his head for ten more, followed by ten traditional pushdowns at the end for a total of 30 reps. Performing this cluster with both arms counted as one set.

As an extra form of support, Wilkin kept his non-working hand under the elbow of his working arm for stability. 

“Perfect,” Valliere said of Wilkin in reference to his execution of the movement. After three sets each, they were finished for the day.

Sample Brett Wilkin/Iain Valliere Shoulder & Triceps Workout

  • Smith Machine Shoulder Press: 6 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable Lateral Raise: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Machine Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Incline Bench Cable Rear Delt Flye: 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 1 drop set to failure
  • Triceps Pushdown superset Face Pull: 3 sets each of 15-20 reps
  • “3-Way” Triceps Extension: 3 sets of 30 total reps each.

*Use forced reps, partials, and/or drop sets to go beyond failure on at least one set of each movement.

The Arnold Classic

As of this article’s publication, Valliere hasn’t decided which contest he will enter. He is currently not qualified for the 2022 Olympia, which takes place on the weekend of Dec. 16-18, 2022 in Las Vegas, NV. Wilkin will be one of the nine athletes facing the judges at the 2022 Arnold Classic. If he wins, it would be his first Pro victory, make him the 20th unique Arnold Classic Champion, and also qualify him for the Olympia later this year.

Featured Image: @brett_wilkin on Instagram