Shoulder Training 101

When most people start training to build muscle and look better they focus on certain specific bodyparts like their arms and chest. After all, those are two very important ?show? muscles on the beach. While it is completely fine to try to build those two areas, we have to remember that physique building is all about your look, at certain times it is an illusion. By illusion, I?m talking about looking bigger, tighter and harder than you actually are.

There?s only one area on the body that can make you look better and leaner and that is your shoulders. If more people focused on building shoulders, more people would be happy with their physique. After all, who likes dieting for weeks on end trying to get a smaller waist when a set of shoulders can make you tighter than anything?

arnold shoulder

First, we have to get into a quick anatomy discussion about the shoulder. The shoulder is made up of three distinct areas. The front, medial (side) and rear deltoids. Here?s a pop quiz for you. Which of the three shoulder muscles is most visual from the side? Most people would answer ?side delt? since after all that is what we have focused on for so long.

Good or bad, our poor postural habits due to too much time at the computer and too much bench pressing have caused us to adopt this rounded shoulder, ?cave man? like posture. Due to this, our rear delt is actually more visible from the side. This should now become a priority in our training

The most effective way to train the rear delts is with heavy; compound movements like deadlifts, chin-ups and dumbbell rows. While that s the best way to add size to the rear delts we will need to directly hit them as well. The problem with the advice of heavy compound movements all the time is that the muscles will fatigue since they are smaller than some other back muscles and as a result won?t get hit as hard.

The solution here is to use a pre-fatigue method where we would use a movement like a bent over dumbbell fly before we did a bent over row. The purpose behind this is to fully work the rear delts before we perform the heavy movement so we know that our rear delts are getting hit.

This simple trick is both effective and time saving since it is done in a superset fashion. Now the question turns to the absolute best exercise to build big shoulders. In reality, presses are good but only really stimulate one head of the shoulder, the front delt. Now pressing with various grips and forms such as neutral grip shoulder presses or side presses are both excellent methods to use to build big shoulders. At the end of the day, it comes to how many angles that you?ve used to hit your shoulders.

Here?s a routine to use ASAP

A1) Seated Neutral Grip Dumbbell Shoulder Press
4 sets of 10/8/8/6 reps

superset with
A2) Cable Side Raises
4 sets of 10-12 reps

Rest:45 seconds

B1)Seated Side Dumbbell Press
3 sets of 10-15 reps
superset with
B2) Seated Dumbbell Side Raises
3 sets of 10-15
superset with
B3) Standing Dumbbell Side Raises
3 sets of 15-20 reps

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