Biologically speaking, an exquisite pair of shoulders also triggers subconscious messages to both sexes in the way that power and attractiveness are associated with their bearer.
For those very reasons, shoulder training has been a major component in the art of my clients’ programming. You see, many people train shoulders to such a high frequency that their training results in injury. Since I’m a sworn paladin of aesthetics, and I do plan on making my blog one of the most resourceful places for fitness knowledge, I’ll teach you how to train your shoulders to their most aesthetically pleasing state while avoiding injury and increasing your performance in your other lifts because that’s just what proper 3D deltoids training will do. NOTE: Due to the fact that incorporating shoulder training into a training schedule that is not focused on body part splits is a complexity and a bit out of reach for the average person, I strictly made the focus of this article on how to develop a proper training session that includes a focus on shoulders. Anatomically speaking, your deltoids (shoulders, for those unaware of their actual name) are composed of a multitude of fiber groups that can be independently controlled by your central nervous system—but they are not naked to the eye.
These bad boys are situated on the superior (top) surface of the anterior acromion (a bony process on the scapula) and are involved in shoulder abduction—during external rotation of the shoulders—and assisting the pectoralis major during shoulder flexion. Located on the middle section of the acromion process of the scapula, these gunners are involved in shoulder abduction during an internal rotation of the shoulders.
Even though these backenders are located on the spine of the scapula (for those new to anatomy, that’s the upper—pointy and bony—thingy of what people call shoulder blades), mistake not, they are the primary shoulder hyperextensor since the latissimus dorsi is very weak in strict transverse extension.
Since I have this strict rule of never making dorky jokes 3 times in a row, I’ll just mention that you’ve felt the rear delts during the reverse fly exercises.
Anywayyyssss, if you’ve read this far, you should understand that each part of your deltoids are involved in different tasks, and without them, you wouldn’t be able to do things such as carrying heavy loads, pulling heavy loads, elevating your arms, pushing heavy loads, and more importantly, uppercutting—Shoryuken style—that bastard that was curling in your motherfucking squat rack. Now that you have some basic knowledge of your shoulders, I bet that the thought of looking up some isolated exercise to build them up crossed your mind. You see, training shoulders continuously to an isolated level will almost always result in injury; and more often than not, inexperienced trainees, that attack the gym berzerkly, go through the disaster of obtaining one—usually a rotator cuff tear.
If not, most trainees over train—or under train—the deltoids to a point that prevents growth, or doesn’t develop to an aesthetically appealing state. Since this blogpost is all about developing 3D Delts™, let’s get to the specifics that you can modify based on the Leader’s Fitness Golden Rules to Building a Muscle Group. Note: Since I really don’t have to explain why you’d want your shoulders to grow equally, I’ll just go ahead and mention that the chocolate-peanut butter ice cream I had while writing this blogpost was heavenly delicious. 3 – Make at least half of your total sets come from multi-compound exercises that emphasize shoulders. Note: As you may know, being shredded with 3D delts and monster traps makes you a god amongst men.
So, turn your shoulder workout into a full upper body workout by incorporating some multi-compound movements such as inclined rows and inclined bench presses to demand more energy from your body, tax more oxygen, give your shoulders a break from isolated exercises, and look like a GOD.
Note: As much as I emphasize muscle specialization workouts, shoulders are an aspect that I try to keep away from fucking around too much with.
I can safely bet that you have somebody at the top of your mind who’s been through a shoulder injury. As mentioned before, your deltoids are almost always involved in your upper body exercises. Take a 5-10 minute time of your training sessions to actually perform some shoulder dislocations, scapular wall slides, and every other mobility and activation drills that are related to your training.
Being one of the most painful—yet rewarding—investment you can ever uptake, using a deep tissue ball, or a LaCrosse ball, on your upper pecs and upper back will literally save you a lot of useless injuries.
As my knees propelled the dumbbells towards my chest, a small crack-noise elicited from my shoulders.
With a screaming shout of elucidating pain, I knew that I just evoked a rotator cuff tear—and man did that suck. The feeling of losing all the gains from hard work is a painful cut, and starting back—way behind—is like restarting an RPG when you forgot to save: An annoyance beyond any comprehensive feeling that extends your demanded work by ages. Try the workout yourself, then please tell me how your delts weren’t close to failure.
When training, my goal is not to get my delts to failure, far not always, but to make them progress.
If there was one muscle more responsible than the others for creating a “he must workout” appearance, it’s the deltoids.
Before we jump into the juicy training stuff, let me take a second to go over the simple anatomy of the shoulders. Anterior Deltoid (Front Delt) – Responsible for shoulder flexion as well as internal rotation of the humerus.
Posterior Deltoid (Rear Delt) – Responsible for external rotation as well as hyper-extension of the shoulder. Now let me go over the anatomy of what is easily the most overlooked area of the shoulders when it comes to training.
NOTE: Most shoulder problems can be attributed to a lack of external rotation, overall shoulder mobility, and strength.
Now that we have a basic understanding of the deltoids and their functions, let’s get into the meat and potatoes aka the reason you are reading this article aka how to train for cannonball delts. Anterior Deltoid – Because the main function of the front delt is shoulder extension, most trainees assume that they must perform isolation exercises like front raises in order to build this portion of the deltoids. If you are training your chest and doing any type of overhead shoulder pressing in your program, then you are not likely to need any other form of direct anterior deltoid work. Lateral Deltoid – The mid delts are responsible for something called horizontal shoulder abduction. In the video below, I go over 3 tips for performing the proper lateral raise by isolating the mid delt and removing the front delts and traps from the movement completely. Posterior Deltoid – The rear delts are responsible for shoulder hyper-extension and external rotation but are activated a great deal any time we retract the scapula. As I mentioned before, the rear delts are activated in most of our direct back training but (in my opinion) not to a significant degree. There you have it, the basic anatomy, functions, and training recommendations for injury free, boulder shoulders. The problem with a lot of shoulder training programs is that they are just that…decent.
The more directly the medial head is targeted, the wider and rounder the shoulders will look.
We will also look at a couple more exercises that you may not be to familiar with that can help you get wider boulder shoulders. About 2 months ago, I dealt with a minor injury in my left shoulder, I'm not sure which part exactly but it's in the front delt area in the crevice.
Go to a doctor and get it checked out before you end up needing surgery and a year off from training. On the sports science side of things, it is known that strong shoulders benefit almost all of your major lifts such as bench pressing, rows, and even deadlifting.
Amongst other aspects, properly developed shoulders may also increase one’s state of well-being.
More importantly, you can remember the gains lost from the time off from the gym that they we’re forced into due to the recovery process.
From bench pressing to rows, there will be some sort of deltoid activation in your movements—that’s a lot of responsibility for a small group of muscles that are meant to keep your humeral head from dislocating. From carrying the burden of a painful shoulder to barely being able to raise my arm from the suffering, I could have prevented such scenarios by simply paying attention to a few cues; some of which will be laid out here. So with two bursts of my knees, I swung the dumbbells towards my shoulders to commence the pressing…but something went wrong.
My right shoulder feels like it’s about to break, but fuck it, I’m DOING this PR even if fucking Gandalf shows up. I dropped the dumbbell from my right arm, and the rapid switch of balance caused me to drop the second dumbbell.
Luckily for me, it wasn’t that bad—needed only a month off from training to get back to it. From preventing it to treating it, all the way to the exercises that causes it—you’ll learn it all.
If you feel your shoulder area while doing it, it still doesn’t make it shoulder exercise.
Not only has broad shoulders been shown to increase attraction from women, but they are also responsible for the illusion of a smaller waistline. Lack of properly training this area of the shoulders is more than likely the reason that you find it hard to develop bigger shoulders, you get shoulder pain when performing certain exercises, and that it’s hard for you to increase strength in some very important lifts including the bench press.
What you must understand, however, is that the anterior deltoid is also responsible for internal rotation of the humerus. The load from pressing, whether it be chest or shoulders, is more than enough to stimulate adequate growth in this area of the shoulders and adding in any extra work could be asking for trouble. In my opinion, when it comes to rear delt training, both compound and isolation movements can be beneficial.
At the least, I would recommend throwing in some face pulls or cuban presses for a bit more emphasis on the posterior deltoids. Make sure to download my free 7 Cutting Edge Shoulder Training Strategies DVD for more in depth deltoid training tips. Shoulder pain is very common for weightlifters, athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and even sedentary individuals. Next we will look at both of these and how to perform them to really target the medial delts.
Unfortunately, others, well, they just curl all day in the squat rack and could give a fuck less about shoulders—really sorry for their lots.
Shoulder injuries are serious business, so please, for the love of aesthetics, make sure you don’t go full retard with this aspect. Adding these bad boys to your shoulder workouts will drastically increase your shredding process, strengthen your rotator cuffs, and make you feel like Rocky Balboa in the process.
30+ dislocations later, I had surgery in July of ’09 to re-attach an entire ligament in the shoulder. On the other hand, failing to train the shoulders appropriately and in a balanced fashion will lead to imbalances that lead to larger imbalances, bad posture due to forced internal rotation of the shoulders, and make you much more prone to shoulder injuries. This simply means that any time we press or push, we are placing a significant load on the front delt.
Building this head of the delts is not only the hardest, but the most impactful when it comes to round shoulders. You see, the rear delts are trained to a certain degree with most of our back training, however, I do believe that because the role they play in these exercises are small, that one should incorporate some more direct rear delt work in their training for maximum results. I would also recommend a small amount of isolated work from things like rear delt flyes to ensure you are fully strengthening the shoulder as a whole.
This stems from the fact that our shoulder joint, although extremely mobile to provide versatile functions, is very unstable and prone to injury.
I didn’t return to full activity until almost a year later, and I still had to regain all of the strength I lost during the year and a half of pain. So whether we are performing any variation of bench pressing or any variation overhead pressing, we are loading the front delt. The mid delts are what is going to add width to your frame as well as most of the roundness to the shoulders. Isolating the rear delts, however, is not an easy task due to the fact that it can easily become a back dominant movement. Because it plays such a huge role in these big lifts, it can easily become over developed and imbalanced if we begin to isolate it with things like front raises.
Unfortuantly, most trainees either turn the lateral raise into a front delt exercise, or they assume that their overhead pressing movements are sufficient for bringin up with head of the deltoids. I've had a bad right shoulder for many years now due to bench pressing far too heavy weight, sometimes with questionable form, from ages 17-21.
But I can still lift and I've avoided worsening my shoulder or other complications by making modifications and improvements to my workout regimen. Here are some changes that have worked for me and many others by strengthening your rotator cuff, deltoids, and upper back.
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