WEAK POINT WEDNESDAYS: SHOULDERS
When it comes to shoulders the average lifter tends to focus on the front/anterior part of the delts, along with the medial/lateral part and most often, completely neglect the rear/posterior part.
This will not only lead to decreased overall muscle size, but will most definitely lead to shoulder injuries. The way that I personally train myself and all my clients is based on powerbuilding. Doesn’t matter if you’re training for a sport, for lifestyle/aesthetic purposes or to be a bad ass, you should be strong af and look the part as well.
With that in mind, I solely focus on the lateral and posterior part of the shoulder. I will only prescribe front delt exercises when someone is trying to improve their bench press and are failing at the bottom of the lift, but even then the front delt work will be extremely minimal. I know, completely crazy coming from a guy that hates minimalist training, but there’s a method to the madness.
The average guy tends to focus on the bro/mirror muscles aka the pecs and the biceps, while neglecting the back, triceps and legs. If you want to be able to push heavy weights, as well as look big, you must train what you can’t see in the mirror. And that my friend, is the upper back and your rear delts. Having a strong upper back will aid you on your quest to bench heavy, and powerful rear delts are a very important aspect of doing so.
For health purposes, daily band facepulls or band pull aparts will take your beat up shoulders and completely transform them. Obviously, facepulls and pull aparts work more than just the rear delts, but they’re the key to strong, healthy shoulders.
From an aesthetic standpoint, focusing on the lateral and rear delts is what will help you obtain that 3D look, that can be easily spoted on enhanced users.
I obviously still promote Overhead press variations, primarily being the heavy movements at the start of the workouts or every now and then as an assistance exercise immediately after the Max Effort movement. Vary your grips when performing OHPs, as well as the specialty barbells that you use. You can do them seated or standing, from pins as well as perform push jerks in order to move heavier weights.
To target the lateral portion of the shoulders, Meadows raises and any lateral raise variation, with Dumbbells or a pulley, will get the job done.
BEHIND THE NECK PRESSES
I personally don’t mind behind the neck or Bradford presses, as long as you have the required mobility and have used a lacrosse ball on the front delts and pecs. Even then I’d stay away from heavy singles and primarily use them as a “finisher” or as a “chase the pump” movement. If you think that you’ll injure yourself, simply don’t do them. However, there’s nothing wrong with progressively trying to increase your range of motion and aiming to be able to perform the movement, even with an empty barbell.
When it comes to the rear delts, rear delt flies, either chest supported or while leaning forward, facepulls, snatch grip rows, arnold and chinese raises should be the bread and butter of your shoulder training. Similar to the lateral area of the delts, the weighted stretch will spark new growth.
Most people completely neglect training their rotator cuffs, so please don’t be that guy. If you want strong, healthy shoulders you have to do the “boring” stuff as well as those that give you a good pump. I’ll be making a thread specifically about rotator cuff training in the future so if you have anything specific that you want me to cover, leave a comment or DM me.
As usual, implementing ultra high reps in a nucleus overload protocol will bring those punny delts back to life. Whether you choose to do so with facepulls, rear delt flies, chinese/Lu raises, or chest supported rear delt partials with heavy weight is up to you. Better yet, if you switch it up often, you’ll see better results and you won’t have to deal with any overuse injuries.
If you’re so used to perform 2-3 sets of 10 reps for your delts and then calling it a day, you should really rethink your programming. Not only will you be injury prone, but you won’t see any significant strength and size gains if you keep doing that.
As with all muscle groups, a combination of heavier weights for lower reps and lighter weights for higher/ultra high reps will increase Hypertrophy, make you stronger and help you obtain that aesthetic 3D look.
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