Candice Lewis-Carter's Delt-perfecting Workout

Two-time Arnold Classic Figure champ Candice Lewis-Carter dishes up a five-move delt routine to break your shoulder rut.

Candice Lewis-Carter
Ian Spanier / M+F Magazine
Ian Spanier / M+F Magazine
Exercises 5
Equipment Yes

As important as great shoulders are to a beautiful physique, the workouts that craft them can be pretty mundane. Just like the monotony of a pre-contest diet—“Chicken breast, rice, and vegetables, again?”—advice on training delts has always revolved around seated presses and lateral raises, ad nauseam. 

If you can no longer stomach that same old routine, Candice Lewis-Carter has an exciting new recipe for you. The 2017-18 Arnold Classic Figure champ and all-time winningest figure pro—who recently announced that she was stepping away from competition to start a family—has her own delt routine that doesn’t rely on any of those traditional moves. Here, she serves up a five-course delt developer that she’s used to perfect her showcase body part. Ready to give it a try?

Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Moves

Dumbbell Y-Raise

The Y-raise keeps the middle delt head engaged throughout the exercise, as compared with the lateral raise, in which it relaxes in the down position.

Rotator Cuff Dumbbell Raise

Lewis-Carter prefers to do these one arm at a time so she can focus on each rotator cuff complex individually. She errs on the side of using a lighter dumbbell—because the rotator cuff is small relative to the deltoids, going too heavy makes it more likely that larger muscles will come into play.

Bus Driver

This move may look easy, but it can get challenging in a hurry, since it keeps your shoulder muscles under stress as you hold a weight plate out in front of your body for an extended period.


Transitioning from bus drivers to around-the-worlds is easy, as you’ll be using the same 25-pound plate. Only this time, you’ll be circling it around your head, which targets all three heads of your delts.

Upright Band Row

While upright rows are often used earlier in shoulder workouts, Lewis-Carter likes them as a finisher. She chooses a medium resistance band, one that allows her to get about 20 reps before her muscles falter, preferring that to dumbbells or a barbell for the continuous tension the band provides.

Candice's Delt Workout

Exercise 1

Dumbbell Y-raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Candice Lewis-Carter Dumbbell Y-raise thumbnail
4 sets
20 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Rotator Cuff Dumbbell Raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Candice Lewis-Carter Rotator Cuff Dumbbell Raise thumbnail
4 sets
20 per arm reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Bus Driver You'll need: Weight Plates How to
Candice Lewis-Carter Bus Driver Exercise thumbnail
3 sets
20 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Around-the-World You'll need: Weight Plates How to
Candice Lewis-Carter Around the World Exercise thumbnail
3 sets
10 per direction reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Resistance Band Row You'll need: Resistance Band How to
Candice Lewis-Carter Upright Band Row thumbnail
4 sets
20 reps
-- rest