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Dexter Jackson Shoulder Workout (Building Muscle Like a Pro)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Last updated: May 11, 2023

Dexter Jackson, aka The Blade, is a true bodybuilding legend, and as a personal fitness and strength coach, I have followed his career for years.

The stand-out feature of his body is the shape of his shoulders, and he’s been generous with sharing some workout and fitness information.

Our team decided to spend a day going over dozens of training videos on YouTube and interviews to see exactly what he does to get bigger shoulders.

And we put all that to the test with four clients who saw some incredible results after two months.

Quick Summary

  • Dexter Jackson takes a pretty traditional approach to his shoulder workouts by including lateral raises.
  • He pays particular attention to evenly distributing his work across all three heads of the deltoid muscle.
  • Taking bodybuilding to such extremes also requires a carefully planned diet and supplement routine, and we got some interesting insights there too.

Dexter Jackson Stats

  • Born: November 25, 1969
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 230 lbs.
  • Waist: 34”
  • Chest: 52”

Dexter Jackson’s Shoulder Workout Routine

Dexter Jackson doing shoulder workouts in the gym

Dexter Jackson takes a hardcore approach to bodybuilding, where he often does four full sets of 10-12 reps. And his work ethic is all about good form and getting to a stage where his muscles feel like jelly.

Most people stop well short of that, so always try to push yourself 10% further than you think you can.

Here are the main shoulder exercises The Blade does.

1. Lateral Raises

You don’t need particularly heavy dumbbells for this exercise, as you’ll need to keep your arms perfectly straight to achieve maximum strain on the deltoid muscle [1].

You can do this either unilaterally or bilaterally, but I generally prefer doing both arms at the same time unless I need to achieve a certain balance in muscle size.

“I make a point of stressing that ‘barbells build muscle. They’re even better than dumbbells because you can overload the muscle with more weight.”

- Dexter Jackson

2. Upright Rows

A person doing upright rows in the gym

Now you want to grab a heavy dumbbell set or even a loaded barbell.

You’ll stand tall and pull the weight up along your body to the top of your chest.

This will activate the delts and traps and provide a great bulking effect between your neck and shoulder joints [2].

This is definitely one exercise where going heavy and even taking a short rest to complete the last reps will work wonders.

3. Rear Delt Flys

I’ve seen bodybuilding instruction videos with Dexter where he uses a machine, probably because of the extreme loads he can lift.

While I prefer using free weights, for many people, it might be safer to do the same exercise with a machine to protect joints and balance. 

A lot of bodybuilders forget to focus on the rear delt exercises, and this can give your shoulders a strange and less rounded look.

4. Front Raises

And finally, Dexter Jackson uses an EZ bar for front raises to better target the front delt muscle. You’ll be surprised how little weight it will take on the bar for these to bring you to failure by ten reps.

You could also do these with a cable machine if you don’t feel as comfortable with the weight on your wrist with straight forearms.

What’s His Diet Plan?

Close up shot of healthy diet food

Dexter Jackson’s meal plan allows for a little bit more cheating than most bodybuilders will be comfortable with.

That means he eats four very healthy and carefully planned meals and allows for one slight cheat meal.

You don’t want to go overboard with this, but Dexter will eat a burger or a few slices of pizza from time to time.

His overall macro balance will be heavily in favor of protein, with about 50% of all calories coming from protein.

The rest is split between carbs and fat, and that approach seems to be working well for his strength and fitness.

Overall, if you’ve been struggling to achieve your physique goals, then I wouldn’t recommend Dexter’s approach to cheat meals, as it could be what’s holding you back.

Does He Take Supplements?

Close up shot of protein powder

Yes, Dexter Jackson takes supplements to make his dieting efforts easier.

Any high-performance athlete who has to eat large volumes of protein will understand that you get to a stage where you simply can’t look at a seventh chicken breast in one day.

So, his first supplement is a top-quality whey protein powder.

The higher the quality, the easier it will be for you to absorb and use for repairing and building muscle tissue.

Adding a few protein shakes to your meal plans will also save you a lot of time on eating larger meals. 

And he also likes to take a pre-workout supplement for men to get that small boost of energy, endurance, and strength. It’s not a superhero magic pill, but small boosts add up over a couple of months.

Start Working On Bigger Shoulders

Even if you don’t have ambitions of taking part in an Arnold Classic, training your shoulders like Dexter Jackson will transform your physique.

One thing you need to consider adding to your diet plan is high-quality protein powder:

We’ve tested dozens of these to find those with the right amino acid profile and absorption rate to support your muscles in the best possible way.

If you combine these two, it will take you large steps towards looking like The Blade.


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