Sunday, February 9, 2014

Shoulder Specialization

Shoulder Specialization Part One

Assuming that you have been training on a fairly regular and progressive basis, start out on the following: 

 - Train three days per week (e.g. Monday/Wednesday/Friday).

- For the first week  perform all exercises slowly and carefully with a moderate poundage so that your muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments get used to the exercises.

- Starting the second week do the following -

1) Parallel Squat - 2 x 15 reps
Pick a poundage approximately 50 lbs below your best set of 15 reps and do 15 slow and careful repetitions. This is only a warmup set and should get you in the right frame of mind for your next set, which is an all-out set of 15 reps done almost to failure. If this set is done with only a short breath between the reps, then you should finish in a state of breathlessness. It is also suggested that you do not quite lock out your knees at the top of the movement, which should result in a tremendous pump and burn in the thighs after 15 reps. It should be quite possible to add 5 pounds to your squat almost every workout and you should try to do this as the heavy work will stimulate your metabolism, which will encourage greater muscular growth all over your body, including your shoulders.

2) Standing Calf Raise - 3 x 20
Do three smooth sets with 30 seconds rest between each, aiming for total burn and pump. Your calf block should be at least six inches high and you should endeavor to stretch out at the bottom as much as possible.

3) Seated Press Behind Neck (back against 85-degree upright) - 4 x 8
This is your first deltoid exercise and you should attempt over the next six weeks to handle some really heavy iron. For your first set pick a weight about 30 lbs less than your best set of 8 reps. After a short rest do an all out set of 8 reps to failure. If you can do more than 8 reps then do them. Do not stop at 8 if you can do more. Continue until you cannot move the bar from the behind neck position. If you have stands then you can easily replace the bar without assistance. Take 10 lbs from the bar and after approximately one minute's rest do another all out set aiming for at least 8 reps. Do a final set of 8 reps with another 10 lbs less. It is important to try and increase your poundages as often as possible, so use your first heavy set as a poundage guide, and as soon as you are able to make 10 good reps then you should increase the bar by 5 lbs for your next workout.

4) Standing Side Laterals - 3 x 10
Holding two dumbbells at your thighs so that your knuckles are facing to the front, raise the dumbbells out slightly in front of you in a semi-circle. Do an all out set until you cannot raise them more than about two feet from your thighs. Do another two sets with the same weight allowing only 30 seconds of rest between each set.

5) Head Braced Bentover Barbell Row - 4 x 8
This is primarily an exercise for the large muscles of the back but if you use your mind and concentrate strongly you should be able to activate your rear deltoids quite fully as well. Do this exercise very strictly and concentrate on contracting the rear deltoids and upper back muscles. Follow the same poundage procedure as given for the Press Behind Neck.

6) Bench Press - 4 x 10
Following the same poundage procedure as the Press Behind Neck, perform your benches rhythmically and strictly. This is another exercise where you should be able to increase your poundage quite regularly. As soon as you can do 12 reps on your first heavy set increase the weight by 5 lbs next workout. This is a great exercise for your frontal deltoids as well as your chest.

7) Barbell Curl superset Triceps Pressdown - 3 x 10
Perform a warmup set of both exercises with about 25-30 lbs less than your best weight for 10 reps. Do an all out set of barbell curls and then immediately do a set of strict triceps pressdowns. Rest one minute and do these again using the same poundages.

This concludes the first part of your deltoid specialization routine. After 6 weeks take one full week of rest.

Shoulder Specialization Part Two 

After one week of rest from the first routine spend another full week getting used to this new routine. It is based on approximately four days work per week and you may select and use one of the following layouts:

1) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
2) Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.
3) Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
4) Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday.
5) An every other day split routine - 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and so on.

This second part of the shoulder specialization program is very strenuous and consists of a lot of work for the deltoids, so it goes without saying that more sleep and good nutritious food is needed. 

The routine consists of doing the shoulders-only on two days per week and the rest of the body on the other two training days. 

Routine for the Rest of the Body Days

1) Squats - 5 x 5
Pick a weight 100 lbs lighter than your best 5 rep squat poundage. Do 8 reps, warming up. Put 50 lbs on the bar and do 5 reps, still warming up. Now, put 50 more lbs on the bar and go all out for 5 reps. After a short rest reduce the bar by 10 lbs and do another 5 reps. After another short rest reduce the bar again by 10 lbs and do 5 reps. Increase the weight whenever possible.

2) Standing Calf Raise - 
Pile enough weight on so you barely get 15 reps. Without removing the weight shake your left leg for a few seconds to relieve the congestion and then do the same with the right leg. Continue doing calf raises aiming to get at least 8 reps. Do the leg shaking bit between each set and continue for set after set until you can do no more.

3) Bench Press - 5 x 6 reps
Use the same poundage system as squats, aiming to increase the weights each workout without cheating. 

4) Chins to the Front - 3 x 10
Do a nice slow warmup of 5 or 6 reps with bodyweight, then do an all out set of 10 reps to failure. As soon as you can get over 10 reps strap weight on, and finish off with another set with bodyweight only.

5) Seated Dumbbell Curls superset Dips - 3 x 8
Do a slow warmup set on both exercises with a weight about 20 lbs lighter than your best 8 rep set. On the dips use only your bodyweight. Now, use all the curl weight you can handle for 8 strict reps and then without rest go into a super strict set of dips. Do another 2 sets using the same weight, attempting to get 8 reps each set. As soon as you can get over 8 reps on your first heavy set increase the dumbbells by 5 lbs and strap 15 lbs. to your waist for the dips.

Shoulder Day Routine

Super Set One -
85 degree seated dumbbell press superset ->
face down incline dumbbell laterals - 1 warmup set and 3 supersets of 8 reps.

Do a warmup set on both exercises using approximately 75% of your best 8 rep poundage. Now do an all out set of seated dumbbell presses. Do these as follows: Hold the dumbbells at your shoulders with your back against the 85 degree upright. Your palms should be facing inwards towards your body. As you press the bells overhead rotate the wrists so that they are now facing the front. Do not quite lock out. When you can't do another rep go over to the standing incline bench which should be set at a 70 degree angle. Lying face down with your head off the bench do a set of dumbbell laterals extending the bells slightly forward with your elbows bent. Reduce each dumbbell by 5 pounds and do another 2 supersets.

Super Set Two -
Upright Row superset ->
Rear Laterals - 1 warmup set, 3 supersets of 10 reps.

Do a warmup set on both exercises using approximately 75% of your best 10 rep poundage. Using a shoulder width grip on the bar slowly pull it up to your chin, and then slowly lower it to your upper thighs without quite locking out your elbows. This is not a trapezius developer but a side deltoid thickener so try to concentrate on those deltoids. When you can't raise the bar higher than your waist go over to a flat bench and sit right at the edge, with your upper body resting along the top of your thighs. Hold two dumbbells beneath your legs and then raise them out to the parallel position and slowly lower to the starting position. So another two hard supersets using the same weights.

Super Set Three -
Seated Press superset ->
Cheat DB side raises - 1 warmup set, 3 supersets of 8 reps.

Do a warmup set of 8 reps with approximately 75% of your best poundages for 8 reps. Sitting comfortably on a bench and holding a barbell at your shoulders with a grip about 3 inches either side of your shoulders, slowly press the bar upwards without leaning backwards and also without quite locking the elbows out at the top. Lower the bar to your neck and continue. When you can't push the bar from your neck pick up two heavy dumbbells. Holding the bells in front of your body raise them using a slight amount of cheating to get them started, but lowering them slowly. Perform another 2 sets with the same poundages.

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