Monday, December 19, 2011

Taking it to the Shoulers

Guys want big broad shoulders and women want toned and lean ones. Now this might not be the case all time but basically just about everyone wants nice shoulders. There are two ways to thinking when it comes to the shoulders.

A) You don't need to directly work your shoulders much due to their role in numerous type movements like pushups, chest press variations ( especially incline ) and other compound movements.

B) The delts need to be trained directly if you want true development. To not train your shoulders would lead to an unbalanced look.

I tend to agree with both of this view points. If you have great delts to begin with than I think you don't have to pay as much attention specifically to them in your training as maybe others do. However, if you lack shoulders then you do need to make sure you add direct work in. Below are some tips/strategies/exercises to try in your training.

  • The delts respond best to multiple exercises and short rest periods. Try doing tri-sets like the one below I love.

A1) Seated dumbbell shoulder press-6-8 reps

A2) Standing lateral raises with dumbbells- 10-12 reps

A3) Machine shoulder press ( neutral grip with palms face if you can ) 15-20 reps

**Take 2 min rest and repeat 1-2 more times

  • The delts are slow twitch and recover fast. If your lacking shoulder development you might need to train the shoulders three times a week


1) Lateral raises-The medial head of the delt tends to get less work than the anterior and posterior delts do in compound exercises. Some quick tips when doing the lateral raise are:

* Keep a slightly forward lean ( but not too much ) in order to target the medial delt better.

* Keep your arms straight through the entire movement.

2) Shoulder press continuation-In this set up you will take advantage of stronger body positions and controlled momentum.

* Do a set of normal dumbbell seated shoulder presses until you have 1 rep left before failure. Next, stand up and crank out more reps in this stronger position. Finally, without rest, end with push presses until failure. The push presses allows you to use your legs to give you some help when your fatigued.

** Repeat this 1-2 more times. Note-A push press is just like an overhead press except you a small dip of the legs and momentum to help push the weight up.


Most people have bigger and stronger front and medial delts and smaller and weaker rear delts. This lack of balance can causes rotator cuff issues and shoulder pain. In order to fix this aim to work the rear delts with more sets and focus on training them first. Below is a sample set up for this.

A1) Rear delt raises- 8-10 reps

** 3 sets

B1) Lateral shoulder raise ( do one arm at a time) 8-10 reps

** 2 sets per side

C1) Plate front raise- 8-10 reps. Grab a plate with your hands at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock and raise it in front of your face until you can see through it.

** 1 set

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