Today we are going to cover shoulders. These tips will help you get the size and definition you are looking for in your shoulders.
Just because everyone does things a certain way in the gym doesn’t mean it’s the right way! Let’s go against the grain and really improve your progress.
First things first, whenever I am trying to really improve a certain muscle group, I always do the hardest exercise last. I save the hardest part of my routine for the end of my workout.
Let’s start out with some side lateral raises.
I like to use what are called Thompson Fatbells. These things are great, especially for raises because you don’t have to worry about keeping them balanced like you do with regular dumbbells.
When you are doing side lateral raises (new guys: listen up!) you need to make sure you are not swinging them and using too much momentum. We don’t want that.
Two tips for keeping good form for side lateral raises…
- Lean forward a little bit.
- Keep your index fingers pointed down the whole time. This will prevent you from flailing your arms up.
Do a warm up set of side lateral raises. You can keep the weight light to moderate and don’t even worry about the number of reps – with a light warm up set it’s good to forget about the count and just get nice and warm for the next exercise.
Next, the front raises.
Again, with these I focus on lighter weight, higher reps. But I still give the weight a really good squeeze, especially at the top of the raise. Really get some good blood flow in there with these!
You can do front raises with either an overhand OR a hammer style grip. And I suggest you do both. You can also do them underhanded as well.
Another variation you can try is to do the raises with a hammer grip and then rotate the weight at the top of the raise to an overhand grip. It should look as if you are pouring a pitcher of water.
Remember: always focus on making the exercise harder! That’s what builds a great body.
Do a couple set of those front raises, light weight, high reps – no need to overdo it!
Remember guys, I said this before and I will say it again here: it’s not about ego; it’s about what really works!
A lot of guys usually start a shoulder day out with an overhead press as their first exercise. But my suggestion here is to do it last, after you are warmed up, and even a little beat down and pre exhausted. This will get you guys great results for your shoulders – it will round and cap them off more.
Word of CAUTION: one of the most common injuries among lifters is an AC impingement. Basically this is when the cushioning in the AC joint is worn away from too much rubbing.
The most vulnerable position for your shoulder to be in is at the fully locked out position, so for example: the top of a shoulder press. Avoiding always going all the way to lockout can prevent this injury from occurring. You can stop 4 – 5 inches short of lockout.
With the shoulder press, I use the fatbells and I stick to a lower weight again. There’s too many guys out there injuring themselves because they’re going too heavy on shoulder press.
But that doesn’t mean I make it easy on myself! You want to give the shoulder press the maximum squeeze you can.
Let’s finish off with some shrugs.
Here’s what you need to know: first off, the best plates to use are ones with a hole or place to put your hand. Next, you want to slightly lean forward and bring the plates up as high as you can, hold for a couple seconds, and then let them back down as low as you can. Then, just repeat that. Now, each rep may take you 4-5 seconds doing it this way.
The reason why this works so well is by lifting the plates in this way (very close to your legs), the weights are well aligned to your trapezius muscles. Gliding the weights up your legs here is key. This allows you to get a really good squeeze in and get your traps up really high. If you look at a mirror, you want them almost coming up as high as your ears.
You don’t need to do those crazy 300 to 400 pound shrugs with a barbell to get great traps! I haven’t done that in 6 or 7 years and my traps are twice as good as they used to be.
Three-quarters of the trapezius muscles are in your back so you can train traps on either your back day or shoulder day. You can alternate week to week.
Remember: when you’re doing these shrugs, have the weights so close to your legs that they glide up them. You can also bend your elbows a bit to get you that maximum pull for your traps!
So you guys want bigger traps?!
Then kick the heavy shit and try these shrugs out! After about 15 – 20 reps, you’ll know if you are doing them correctly because your traps will be on fire.
That’s it for today guys.