9 Great Tips For Your Shoulder Workout

You should always warm-up with some lighter sets before going for the heavier stuff.

If you think shoulder day on your workout list is just like any other in the gym then you couldn’t be more wrong. Your shoulder is a special joint and deserves special treatment. Thanks to its placement, freedom of movement and ball-and-socket structure the shoulder is involved in nearly every upper-body movement. This makes it subject to more wear and tear over time than probably any other joint in your body.

So when you train shoulders, you have to consider exercises and techniques that not only build muscle, but also keep the joint healthy for the long haul as well. Advice for growing your delts is all well and good but it would unethical of me not to advise you to minimize cumulative damage to the shoulder joint and rotator cuff along the way.

One thing you can be sure of is that you will not be building huge delts if you are nursing a chronic shoulder injury. So sit up straight and pay attention to nine of the most underrated shoulder tips that will help you not only build size but also keep your joints healthy too.

All overhead presses are slightly different.

1) Move Overhead Presses To The Front

Overhead press exercises like the dumbbell press, barbell press, behind the neck press and many other variations may seem pretty interchangeable but are actually quite different.

They don’t all work the shoulder musculature the same way. Think about when you lower a barbell behind your head or do dumbbell presses. Both moves require your upper arms to go straight out to your sides. This indicates that your middle delt is positioned to undergo maximal contraction. When you do Arnold presses or barbell presses in front of your head, your elbows are actually pulled forward. As your elbows move more to the front, the anterior delts play a greater role.

This tip relates more specifically to heavy presses and this leads into the second point. In the bottom position of the shoulder press with the barbell behind your head, the shoulder muscles are in their weakest anatomical position and going heavy significantly increases the risk of a tear.

In other words, lifting heavy, taking the bar behind your head increases the risk of an injury and damage. You can still perform moderate-weight sets for reps behind your head, but when training with very heavy weights, keep the movement in front.

2) Try Shoulder-Friendly Overhead-Press Variations

If you already get shoulder pain as a lot of long-time lifters do, overhead presses may be a contributing factor. This is because the arm position reduces space in the joint and causes structures to rub against one another, a process that can eventually lead to fraying and inflammation over time. For those who find overhead presses difficult or even individuals who are pain-free, consider rotating shoulder-friendly versions of the overhead press into your workouts.

Taking a few helpful hints on board can actually help you prevent injury long-term.

The landmine press is a much healthier option to rotate into your delt workouts. The angled press allows the shoulder to follow a more natural arc making it a more comfortable variation of the shoulder press, even for individuals who have shoulder problems. Stop all exercises that aggravate your shoulder pain and see a sports-medicine specialist first to diagnose any underlying problems.

3) Never Extend The Elbows During Any Single-Joint Shoulder Exercise

Fully extending the elbows if a beginner’s mistake that far too many intermediate lifters still make, especially with single-joint movements for the middle and rear delts. It is best to keep your elbows locked in a slightly bent position during moves like lateral raises and rear-delt flyes. Locking your elbow in place ensures that the only joint in motion is the shoulder, this is what you want as it is a single-joint exercise.

Once you start opening and closing up at the elbows, the triceps become part of the equation, reducing the effectiveness of the isolation you’re trying to achieve making the movement a multi-joint one. On movements like cable lateral raises and standing reverse cable flyes, many lifters mistakenly completely extend their elbows to 180 degrees at the end of the movement, then close them to about 90 degrees as they lower the weight back down. Great if you’re training triceps but not too good on the shoulders.

Start paying attention to what your shoulders are doing during a motion. To minimize the triceps, lock a very slight bend into your elbows and hold it throughout the entire set.

No matter what exercise you are doing, it is important to work smart.

4) Don’t Go Too Close On Upright Rows

Upright rows are a very versatile multijointed exercise for delts that especially target the middle head, trainees typically get tripped up when it comes to hand positions.

If you look back to the first point I made, you can figure out that to work your middle delts to the max, you want your upper arms moving directly out to your sides, this happens when you take a moderate grip on a bar when doing upright rows.

If you take a close grip on the bar, your elbows move forward and out to your sides, not directly out. This causes internal shoulder rotation, this isn’t healthy for your joints at all. You get less emphasis on the middle delts and you also increase the likelihood of causing long-term shoulder damage.

5) Be Careful Of Overall Volume

High-volume training is a mainstay of serious bodybuilding, but the math adds up fast for a set of joints that takes a serious amount of abuse during training for many upper body parts.

As an example, the anterior delts are heavily recruited in chest movements, especially incline presses. Multijointed exercises for the triceps also engage the shoulder joint. On back day, the rear delts are involved in rowing motions. All of this extra work means the delts can easily be overtrained, depending on how you arrange your training split and how much volume you include on delt day.

Many people spend a lot of time on their chests but are your anterior delts out of balance?

When it comes to the split, you can train chest and/or triceps the same day as delts. If not, you’ll want to insert at least two days before or after you hit shoulders to guard against the delts being overworked on consecutive days. Worst-case scenario is training chest on Mondays, shoulders on Tuesdays and triceps on Wednesdays. This can easily mean your delts get worked out all three days without any rest.

High-volume workouts may not adversely affect delt growth by contributing to overtraining, but can sooner or later take a toll on your shoulder joint. Occasionally cycling off to lower-volume training may save your shoulders and work as an effective strategy for growth.

6) Consider Training Rear Delts With Your Back

Chest day does mean extra work for your anterior delts but when it comes to back training, the rear delts take up a bigger share of the workload. This is because all those rowing motions recruit the rears to help pull your elbows back. The rear delts are the secondary muscle group here, but make no mistake, they’re hard at work.

This is why bodybuilders do rear-delt exercises with their back training. If so, you may consider reducing the amount of work on the posterior delts on shoulder day, especially if you train those muscle groups on consecutive days.

7) Address Weak Areas By Rearranging Your Workout

Your delts comprise three heads – the front, the middle and the rear. Doing one single-joint exercise for each does not ensure balanced development. For one thing, your overhead presses don’t target each head equally and most presses notable under-stimulate the rears.

In addition to this, guys who focus on building a big chest may have well-developed anterior deltoids, which contribute in all chest-pressing motions. If you’ve neglected back training, your rear delts are probably small in comparison which is not only apparent in the mirror but sets you up for a possible rotator cuff complication further down the road. It can also cause your shoulders to pull noticeably more forward as well, giving you a slouched appearance.

You may be starting to get some great results but you should be prepared for injuries and know how to deal with them.

Dependent on your circumstances, you may need to bring up one or more of your delt heads. Start by choosing a version of the overhead press that best targets it, then as you begin single-joint exercises for delts, start with one that targets your weak area first, maybe even doing a second exercise for the lagging region.

If you have pretty evenly developed delts, you can rotate the order in which you train single-joint exercises from one workout to the next to ensure balanced development.

8) Understand The Role Of The Rotator Cuff In Upper-Body Training

Building huge shoulders is a noble goal but you can’t neglect the role of rotator-cuff muscles. Those smaller muscles and associated tendons are not visible but they help stabilize the shoulder joint.

As you train your delts and they become stronger, the ratio of the strength between the two muscle groups can get a bit out of balance and this increases your risk of a rotator-cuff injury. This is one reason you should do internal and external rotation work, this can keep your shoulders healthy for the long-term.

Just standing there and waving a dumbbell is a swing and miss. Rotation work should instead be done with a cable that runs straight across your body. If you choose to use a dumbbell, lie down so that you’re properly working against gravity.

Having variations of an exercise enables you to work the muscle in different ways which in turn encourages growth.

9) Train Upper Traps With Shoulders

There is a decent amount of shoulder elevation going on when you train shoulders, especially when doing lateral raises and upright rows. This means the upper traps are contributing to those movements. It makes sense then to add some single-joint movements like shrugs to give your traps the load and volume necessary to induce growth.

The trapezius muscle, however, has a middle and lower portion too and those don’t get near the degree of muscle stimulation on shoulder day. Those areas are best targeted with rows and pull-downs, the kinds of exercises you train with your back.

It is not uncommon to see bodybuilders combine upper traps with shoulders and leave the remainder of the traps for their back day, a solid strategy you can adopt in your training.

All of these tips should really benefit your shoulder workout a lot and help prevent any future injuries.

If you are having trouble turning your body around even after many diets and lots of hard exercises please click here for some additional help that will really help you.

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