By Nick Wolanski, Junior Mr Scotland
Hey guys this is the first article I have written this year so just let me say "Happy new Year" to everyone. I'm sure you all have new goals, targets and aspirations for this year. I'm going to write a training regime for every major body part and the first is going to cover shoulders so without anymore messing around lets get stuck in.
Lets keep the science simple as this is no biology class and you probably don't give a sh*t about how your shoulders work but just how to build some freaky mass. Your shoulders are composed of three main heads. The anterior (front), medial (middle), and posterior (rear). The best way to train your shoulders is to start with a mass building exercise that stresses all three heads then go on to isolate the heads separately in order to get more growth and also to get some great shape in your delt heads.
Military press: This is without a doubt the best one for adding rock hard mass to your shoulders, it recruits all three heads of your delts and will allow you to use the most weight which means you can go pretty heavy on this one. You can use either two dumbbells or you can go for the bar. Try and mix it up from week to week as this is an excellent way too constantly challenge your body and will ultimately lead to better gains. Always have your knuckles facing the ceiling as you raise the barbell or dumbbells to your shoulders. Then with control raise the bar above your head until your arms are almost fully extended then lower back down with control and repeat. Never lock your elbows out as this places unwanted stress on your joints and takes the stress away from your shoulders. Do a couple of warm up sets to get the blood flowing which means lighter weight for 10-15 reps then after that do 4 heavy working sets with heavy enough weight to get between 6 and 8 reps.
After the military presses your shoulders should be well pumped and now ready to isolate the heads. Firstly we'll isolate the medial heads. The best exercise for this is seated or standing dumbbell raises. This is fantastic for really stressing the middle heads and gives great width and shape also. Grab two dumbbells and hold them at your side with your knuckles facing the ground. Raise your arms to about shoulder height keeping them almost straight. Then bring them back down slowly ensuring you keep stress on your delts which will really burn the hell outta em. Go for 4 sets with moderate weight achieving between 8 and 10 reps. try to avoid swinging the weights up as this can lead to injury and is less effective for your gains.
By now your delts should be burning and pumped full of blood. This is always a good sign you are working out at high intensity. Now we move on to our front delts. For this I like to use a barbell however you may use dumbbells also. Hold the bar with your knuckles facing up much the same as if you were going to do shrugs. Have your hands slightly closer in than shoulder width. Slowly raise the bar up to eye level very controlled and also squeezing your delts throughout. Lower again under control and repeat for 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps. again avoid using too much weight that you need to swing the bar up as this can lead to injury.
Bent over Lateral Raises: These are fantastic at bulking up your posterior delts and really give your shoulders some bulk and a nice round look. They are very easy to do however you need to be strict with your form as swinging will ruin the effectiveness. Use lighter weight as by now you will be fatigued from the other exercises. Bend over as if you are rowing so you are parallel to the floor. Use two dumbbells and raise them in the same way as you did for the dumbbell raises. Pull your shoulders blades in at the top of the movement in order to get a really good feeling inside your rear delts. Always lower them slowly keeping the tension inside the delts at all times. Go for 3 sets of 10 reps to really burn them out.
After that you should be furiously pumped up and feeling pretty damn good. Remember you can mix up the order of the exercises however id always recommend doing the military presses first as this is your main mass builder and you want to lift as heavy as possible for growth.
Remember your shoulders will only grow if you train intensely and regularly just like everything else. Stick in hard and try not to wimp out on your shoulder workout as it is a very intense workout that requires strict form. The last thing you want is a shoulder injury as they can take a long time to heal which will hinder other training. Remember to have your post workout protein shake to begin the recovery process and to supply the essential proteins your body needs for growth.
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