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Shoulder training

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:09 pm
by Atrain224life
Hi everyone, I was just wondering how I could build my shoulders up? It seems like I can get my arms, chest and legs bigger with my workouts, but my back and shoulders are staying the same. I used to work out back after chest and shoulders after that and I realized I was fatigued and probably not working them as hard as I could so I switched to doing shoulders and back first on my workout splits. Any suggestions? My strength is still there just can't seem to put on the mass there like I have been before. Thanks

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:24 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
what is your routine?, among other details

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:06 pm
by robertscott
make sure you're doing your lateral raises correctly, it's a lot more complicated than people think.

-Lean forward slightly
-Lift your arms up and back slightly
-turn your hand so your pinky is slightly above your thumb
-if you've done this right the top position should look like a T, as opposed to a Y

these little technique nuances make a huge difference.

Also, train the hell out of those rear delts. That'll add some thickness too

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:06 pm
by Atrain224life
Thanks I never knew that about the lateral raise that will help a lot! Now my routine now consists of on my arms day doing shoulders first which I usually do either military press or arnold press then post delt flys, lateral raises and upright rows for the most part. Usually 3-4 sets of reps 8-12

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:30 pm
by robertscott
your routine looks ok, trying those lateral raises the way I said should give you a bit more progress. I would also add in face pulls. You'll get a bit more rear delt work with those, plus they're really good at keeping your shoulders injury free." onclick=";return false;

you could even try doing your lateral raises first before pressing. Pre exhausting the lateral delts like that means they get even more stimulation during the presses.

I would drop the military press, and do a seated dumbell press. Have your arms out to your sides, thumbs facing your ears, like this guy:" onclick=";return false;

obviously he's doing them standing, but you get the idea. This type of pressing hits a bit more lateral delt than military pressing with a bar. Doing them seated means you can handle a bit more weight too. More weight = bigger muscles. As you can probably tell from my posts, an impressive looking set of shoulders is all about building up the lateral and rear delts. Lots of people neglect their rear delts - don't do that! You don't want shoulders that disappear when you turn sideways. Your anterior (front) delts get hammered during chest sessions so I don't see a need to do any specific work for them.

happy lifting!

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:54 pm
by Atrain224life
Thanks I appreciate that a lot! just did those new exercises tonight!! And with back you have any good workouts that will add thickness to the lats other than pull ups and lat pulldowns?

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:28 am
by teafan
For your back - lots of volume!

If you have multiple grip types for your cable machine use them all. I tend to focus on using the parrallel grip that looks like a V, a wide grip lat pull down and a wide grip seated row using the lat pull down bar. Also dumbell rows, deadlifts, bent over rows and the face pulls robert mentioned. I would also try and add in a back focused day for a while. Barbell deadlift with lots of row variants as accessories could be a good starting point. I found that doing face pulls on my chest day was a great relief for my shoulders too. I never really went heavy on those days but really focused on the movenment.

One thing I would recommend with back work is learn to feel your back with the lift and try and squeeze at the peak. Try and let your arms come along for the ride rather than leading the lift. You will probably come on leaps and bounds doing two warm up sets with a light weight and really focusing on the form before starting to climb up the weight for another three sets. I like to do straight sets with a fixed weight from time to time too. Mix it up.

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:27 am
by robertscott
backs respond really well to extended sets. What I mean is, ways to push yourself past failure. Try this:

-Attach a rope to a cable station, have it at the top so you can pull it down.
-Do a set of straight arm pulldowns, actively flexing your lats at the peak contraction.
-Once you are almost at failure, kneel down, lean back and do a set of pulldowns (the angle'll should be sort of diagonal), again making sure to flex your lats at the peak contraction
-Once you are almost at failure, lean forward and do another set of pulldowns
-That is one set. Repeat two or three more times.

try and do the same number of reps for each exercise, so if you did 10 reps on the straight arm pulldowns, do ten for the kneeling, leaning back pulldowns and ten for the leaning forward pulldowns. I wouldn't go less than 8 reps, and would stick mostly to 10 - 12

do this after your chins/rows. Your back'll blow up like a balloon

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:31 am
by Dub
How long have you been training? What does your other training routine look like?
For shoulders I would always recommend Barbell Overhead Press, and for the back The Barbell Row and Deadlifting. Snatch-grip would probably work best on the back.

Yeah, I'm not into these bodybuilding type routines like robert and teafan, so I tend to give different kind of advice. It depends lots from your experience and other workout.

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:51 am
by robertscott
Dub wrote: For shoulders I would always recommend Barbell Overhead Press
not trying to flame you or anything mate but the guy asked for help adding mass to his shoulders and you recommend one exercise that neglects two thirds of the shoulders? C'maaaaan

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:13 am
by Dub
I personally think that the overhead press is the best exercise to add strength and muscle for the whole deltoid area, but they also train the arms and traps. I would put it as the main lift for shoulders. Either that or the dumbell version.

How come it neglects? Lets see this anatomically. First of all, the deltoids all insert to the same tuberosity. It has three heads. One coming from the acromion, one from the clavicle and the third from the scapula. Now lets see here, the acromion is a feature near the shoulder blade and the clavicle bone. What I can see here is that atleast the Two heads (lateral and anterior) are the main flexors of the humerus, thus causing almost the whole movement. The difference between clavicle bone and acromion is not so big that the flexion would only be the middle heads job. Especially when you keep the bar a bit in front of you (lying in your chest and shoulders) for the start of the movement. Now I have to admit that the posterior deltoid isn't in such a big role when compared to the other two, but I still see no reason why would this head be totally neglected by this movement. I strongly believe that every one of those heads are still active on the movement. Especially because your humerus wont most likely flex totally straight, and will include some external rotation, which is more of the work of the posterior deltoid.

We can also feel for ourselves. When you flex your arm to full length, like in overhead press, maybe even a bit more over you head, you can feel all the three heads of the deltoid contract. The same thing happens with lateral flexion.

No doubt, lateral raises and face-pulls are also great exercises, but I wouldn't put either as the main lift.

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:26 am
by robertscott
I understand all about the anatomy. Active is one thing, stimulated to the point where it'll grow and give your delts that round, capped look is another thing entirely.

I don't have a textbook that says that, but I'd take the words of this guy over a textbook any day. ... ure=relate" onclick=";return false;

(skip to 1.24)

There's a reason why bodybuilders put so much emphasis on lateral raises, and it's because the overhead press on it's own doesn't cut it. I haven't done an overhead press in like 6 months and my shoulders have never looked better

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:49 am
by robertscott
I'm going to elaborate a little bit on my last post because reading it back it sounds like I'm anti-textbook, which is pretty funny seeing as the floor in my bedroom is almost completely obscured by psychology textbooks just now...

Dub, your knowledge of anatomy is very good, faultless really. While you were correct with everything you said, scientific texts like that can often neglect real world experience. While the military press will use the lateral, and probably to some extent the posterior, heads of the shoulders, there's a difference between involvement, and involvement to the point where it'll actually force the shoulders to grow. Bodybuilders, physique competitors etc have known for years that the overhead press is completely overrated when it comes to adding good, camera-friendly mass to the shoulders, and that the lateral raise will do loads more in terms of physique. I don't know of any scientific text that say that anywhere, maybe they exist, maybe they don't, but 1,000,000 bodybuilders can't be wrong, haha.

People should listen to bodybuilders more, they knew all about low carb diets years before Dr Atkins was a twinkle in the milkman's eye!

You are right about the overhead press being the best exercise for shoulder strength (it's a great accessory exercise for the bench), but for aesthetic purposes not only is it not the best, it's not even necessary. I'm pretty sure I've heard Ironman say he doesn't overhead press, and he's a big lad.

I hope that clarifies my position

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:17 am
by Ironman
Yea, I rarely do overhead press. You really get enough front delt work with chest. If you are doing presses and flies, that should be plenty. Rear delts you might throw in a little extra, especially if you do wide grip pullups. Mostly I do lateral raises, barbell shrugs and dumbbell upright row for the shoulder area.

Suppose you do 2 to 4 sets of flat dumbbell press, dumbbell incline press, decline flies, incline files.....that should do the trick.

When doing a strength phase I'll do overhead press and high pulls.

Re: Shoulder training

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:13 am
by robertscott
Ironman, I'd love to hear a bit more about how your bodybuilding training would usually look, if you'd care to post it?