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The Complete Guide to Training Your Shoulders

This article covers Basic Anatomy, The Shoulder Exercises, some Good Articles and worthwhile Videos.

Page two covers the Key Rules of Shoulder Training and Sample Workouts.

Anatomy

The Deltoid (shoulder) muscles are used when raising the arms in any direction and depending on the movement there will be more activation in some of the deltoid heads than others.

The Anterior Deltoid often works in conjunction with the Pectoralis (chest) and might be activated in pressing movements like the push up. The Medial Deltoid is active when the arms are raised laterally and the Posterior Deltoid is involved in pulling actions like a rowing action.


New Lifters

If you are new to lifting I recommend quickly visiting this page to understand the basic terminology of words like barbell, reps, and supersets.

Articles

The following are links to Articles on Shoulder Training that could be of interest. The main points of each article are below in Bullet Points.

Article 1 – The Shoulder Training Bible @ T-nation.com
  • If you lift regularly the anterior deltoid is likely fully stimulated from other exercises. Isolation movements for the lateral and posterior heads are necessary for most.
  • The best exercise for overall deltoid size is a Muscle Clean (power clean with less leg emphasis) into Push Press, or just the Push Press.
  • Barbell or Dumbbell Overhead Press, both seated and standing, are good options.
  • Use the Scott Press for your lateral deltoids.
  • Use the Landmine Press (article calls it Corner Press) for a more athlete-specific movement.
  • Try a Seated Lateral Raise for the lateral deltoid – by sitting you take some focus off the anterior head.
  • A Chest-Supported Lateral Raise (incline bench, chest on it) takes even more emphasis off the anterior head and puts more on the posterior head.
  • Bent-Over Lateral Raises can be used to target the posterior head (thumbs down), the lateral head (palms down) or more for the rhomboids and traps (thumbs up).
  • For Hypertrophy, try 4-6 sets of 6-8 reps on the main exercises and 3-5 sets of 8-10 reps on the secondary exercises. Extend that to 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps for strength endurance.
  • Due to their involvement in other major exercises, shoulders generally require only one dedicated session per week.
Article 2 – 7 of the Best Exercises for Bigger Shoulders @ MensHealth.com
  • Top 7: Barbell Military Press, Seated Dumbbell Press, Arnold Press, Lateral Raise, Bent Over Reverse Flyes, Upright Row and Front Raises.
  • Use 3 sets of 6-8 reps for the main exercises and 3 sets of 8-10 reps for the secondary exercises, with one minute rest.

Article 3 – Ten Secrets of Shoulder Training @ ThibArmy.com

  • At most 25% of shoulder workload should be pressing. Deltoid workouts should be one pressing exercise and 3-4 other movements.
  • The cue to bring your shoulder blades together engages the rhomboids more than the posterior deltoid – try keeping a neutral shoulder position.
  • For any exercise where you raise the weight, be sure to lower it under control otherwise you miss the majority of the benefits
  • Lateral and Posterior deltoids love Time Under Tension, so if possible do exercises in a superset or tri-set.
  • For more Time Under Tension, utilise partial reps at a slow tempo
  • Stabiliser muscles fall behind if you rush to increase the weight in pressing movements, instead try slowing the movement down or adding pauses to make the exercise more challenging without adding weight.

Video 1 – Science-Based Shoulder Workout by Jeremy Ethier

Video 2 – Shoulder Gains Workout by Jake Alvarez

Video 2 – Most Effective Way To Train Shoulders by Jeff Nippard