Thursday, March 1, 2018

Four Golden Era Shoulder Routines (1968)

Since time began, big, powerful shoulders have been the mark of a man . . . the sign of invincible power. Broad shoulders are the basis of that pictorially fascinating wide lat-spread and important V-taper, and are universally admired. 

Broad shoulders simply exude power, and they are a basis of power because they give you better leverage for performance of power exercises for the upper body. They permit the handling of heavier weights in the various exercises, and this, of course, builds a more massive body faster.

All the great champions have outstanding shoulder development. They have specialized on the shoulders because they fully realize that the stronger their back and shoulder development is, the easier it is, as was said, to progress with heavier weights in many other exercises for other upper-body parts. Big, powerful shoulders make it easier to curl heavier dumbbells . . . make it possible to do 'power flyes' for the pectorals . . . and make it safer and more 'blitz-worthy' to do very heavy leg exercises (no man can do heavy Squats unless he has a very strong back to shoulder the weight and keep it balanced rep after rep). They even make abdominal exercises more effective because a strong back and shoulders make a continuous squeeze of the abdominals and serratus muscles more effective. In short, mighty shoulders are not only a study in muscular magnificence, but form the arch of a keystone about which all other upper-body muscles are build.

How Your Shoulder Should Look

Wide shoulders per se mean nothing. You can be tall and rangy . . . have really wide shoulders . . . and still look like a weakling. The key to mighty shoulders are powerful cannonball deltoids. Here is the source of shoulder power. Your deltoids should be thick, have deep cuts, and look full from front, side and rear. But note that word 'thick'. Deltoids on some men are thick, true, but they are 'fat thick' not muscularly thick. Merely to have massive delts is not enough. They must be densely muscular . . . have a rock-hewn definition . . . and be perfectly symmetrical with all the other upper-body muscles. Of all the muscles of your body, powerful, shapely deltoids are responsible for that Herculean look all bodybuilders seek.

Just as I did in a leg development article which preceded this, I shall discuss four great champions and outline the various training principles they used in conjunction with their individual exercises. You will note that each has followed a different group of training principles . . . each has specific exercises which he has found to work especially for him. Thus, as you discover that each trains empirically according to the Instinctive Training method, you will be more able to strike out on your own . . . formulate your own training patterns . . . and make continual and rewarding progress in the development of your own shoulders. Begin at once to shoot for the top mark, read carefully the training routines and special training advice of each champion, apply them long enough to gain a working knowledge of them, and see which are more effective in your individual case. 

Shoot For More

Before you even read the stories and exercise routines given here, you should resolve at once that you will work hard and unceasingly to add width and strength to your shoulders in the next six months. It's a strong resolution, certainly, but it is most necessary if you wish to make the best gains in the shortest time. You must think power . . . breathe power at your workouts . . . work hard for power every training day. Otherwise you will relax your efforts and your shoulder training program will come to little more than naught. Determination and the drive to see it through are your watchwords. 

There are two ways by which you can make your shoulders wider: 

1) by increasing the distance between the acromions (the outward ends of the shoulder blades), or 
2) by packing muscle onto the deltoids, especially the lateral sectors.

The first is purely a dislocation and stretching process that has no relation to weight-training. In fact, it should be pursued at another time than your regular gym period. You can progressively widen your shoulders by 'mirror' exercises and cable work.

In 'mirror' exercising you practice all kinds of muscle control which will help dislocate the scapula (shoulder blades). Only by watching yourself closely in the mirror can you see the progressive effect of stretching, muscle-control movements. Yet if you will persevere every day . . . keep doing rep after stretching rep for at least 15 minutes each day . . . you will soon gain such mastery over your shoulder blades and the surrounding muscles that you will be able to present wider shoulders. 

The best exercise for widening the shoulders this way is to practice the 'lat flare'. In this, you clasp your hands around your waist at the sides . . . fingers falling on the front (abdominal) side, thumbs to the rear. It is really a half encirclement of the waist.

Now, press your waist with your hands, and at the same time mentally force your upper lats to widen. It will not be easy the first few times, and you will possibly not see your shoulders moving one single millimeter, but don't be discouraged. Keep at it a specific amount of time each day, and you will soon see how easily you can control the acromion process, and you will then be able to thrust the shoulders outward more and more each day. It takes great concentration . . . a great mental effort . . . but you will be happily rewarded when they begin to wiggle outward the first visible time!

The other way to widen the shoulders mechanically is through use of the lat pulldown machine. Always use the widest possible hand spacing in these pulldowns, for the wider the hand spacing the greater the distance the lats can be thrust and the wider the dislocation of the acromions.

Chinning with a very wide hand spacing is also excellent, but this must be done without the addition of weight to the body, since the exercise becomes a muscle-building movement rather than a lat-shoulder spreader. By chinning with only your bodyweight, and in slow, concentrated reps, you can really effect a tremendous widening of the shoulders.

Always think widening . . . think thrust . . . think dislocation . . . think stretch, and your shoulders cannot resist . . . they will widen and widen and widen!

So much for the mechanical phase of shoulder widening. An equally fascinating phase awaits you through the varied forms of shoulder thickening exercise. And here is how it is done.

First, you should understand that we all have to make a complete evaluation of just which kinds of exercise we need for each body part, and therefore determine which training principles we must follow for each specific need. It will be easier for you if you will study each of these four champion's exercise pattern as shown here. If your own difficulties and needs are much what his were, by simply inserting his shoulder routine into your own program you can save valuable time and be much farther ahead from the start.

For instance, if your shoulders need fast growth, if they are narrow and have stubbornly lagged in development, look to Larry Scott's routine, and know that he worked extensively with the . . .

Muscle Priority Principle

In this, so named because means giving priority to your slower-growing muscles in each workout, you work the deltoids -- if they are the slow-growers -- first in your workout. The reason: at the beginning of every workout you are fresh and full of energy, and can give an all-out attack on the deltoids. If you were to work the deltoids later in the workout you would have lost much of your energy and drive and would not have enough left to really bomb the delts. By hitting them first you can be sure of giving them the heaviest workout with no fear that they will not get fully pumped because of a lack of energy, or drive, or enthusiasm.

So if your deltoids are your problem . . . if they are lagging behind other muscle groups in progressive development, work them first in every upper-body workout.

Having decided that muscle priority is a must for your shoulder training, the next thing to consider is that priority training requires a longer "saturation training" period in each workout. Thus you would have to spend from 45 minutes to an hour bombing the delts alone! Since you cannot give so much time to one muscle group and have sufficient energy to continue heavy work on all the other muscle groups, it is obvious that you need . . .

The Split System

In this system you work six days each week, working the upper-body and lower-body muscles on alternate days. Thus on Monday/Wednesday/Friday you would work only your upper-body muscles, no legs at all. Then on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday you would work only your legs (with the one exception, perhaps, of some added abdominal work at the end of your leg program). This makes possible the 45-60 minutes you would devote exclusively to the deltoids, working them until they are bone-tired, and still have enough time and energy to work your pecs, arms and back.

Thus you have two principles to speed you on to greater deltoid development. But there is just one more principle to come which ties them all into a vast muscle-building enterprise, and this is the . . .

Forced Reps Principle

Your goal is massive development of the deltoids. The all-out technique for this is the Forced Reps Principle. This requires the most pinpoint concentration . . . real blackout concentration on the muscles you are working. In the forced reps method the technique is this: if you have set a goal of 8 reps per set in a deltoid exercise, take a weight that you can comfortably move in a moderate speed up to the sixth rep . . . but the last two reps (7th and 8th) or which you will have to really force out.

This makes you push yourself to the limit in every set, and will speedily encourage growth. If you begin the exercise with moderate speed for 6 reps, you will find that by the time you have completed them you will have to slow down greatly and really force out the seventh and eighth reps. That's principle number three.

I have often felt that the forced reps method should be called the muscle urgency method because everything about it is muscle-building to the point of extreme urgency. Even when you have forced out two extra reps, if you can gear your mind to making an even more all-out effort you should try for even more. Your muscles should ache right down to the bone! Deltoid work, therefore, is a matter of adhering to the "space of time" principles just mentioned, and arranging your routine to also include Super-Speed reps for bulk and thickness, and Strict and Slow reps for definition, shape and muscle density.

To recapitulate: You should arrange your deltoid routine around these three principles:

1) Muscle Priority - work the delts first in your training period.
2) Split Routine - to permit at least 45 minutes for deltoid work alone.
3) Forced Reps - by which you force out the last 2 reps of each set.

These methods form an exercise pattern for your workout. Now here are two exercise styles you should utilize in building larger shoulders. They concern only the actual performance of the reps and sets. First let's take . . .

Super-Speed Reps

These are the bulking-pumping reps. This entails handling the handling of the heaviest weights. You must constantly handle heavier weights by increasing the poundages every week when possible, however slightly. Don't be lax or fainthearted about this . . . always make a determined effort to continually increase the weight. Also, vary the tempo of the reps, too, because by varying the speed you can involve different results with the same exercise. The faster you do the reps, the more weight you can handle. Thus you have a 'pump' that makes the delts stay pumped longer, forcing faster growth.

Strict-and-Slow Reps

For definition, shape and muscle density. You should frequently use Peak Contraction and Continuous Tension methods. In these techniques you perform your repetitions fairly slowly and instead of concentrating on pump and speed you concentrate on the muscles involved in the exercise. This helps turn your bulk and size into denser, quality muscle. This slower tempo builds quality into muscle size.

Try to maintain a balance between slow and fast tempo reps. Make sure that in each workout you alternate between some slow and fast rep techniques.


 Sergio Oliva

Sergio has shoulders that defy description. Their basic size is largely the product of Olympic pressing. Sergio was an Olympic weightlifter before becoming a bodybuilder and this is reflected in his shoulder routine which emphasizes the use of handling the heaviest weights possible in setting new personal records.

He is not adverse to doing some cheating movements, for he will tell you that this is the only way in which continually heavier weights can be handled and greater size be built. Also, he believes strongly in doing some exercises in strict fashion to isolate the deltoids and lats for a more intensive effect.

Sergio feels that every shoulder exercise should be performed so that the entire shoulder is benefited -- either by actual stimulation of specific angular stress, or as a byproduct of heavy shoulder exercise for some specific sector of the deltoid. His routine is simple but Sergio puts a world of effort and shutout concentration into it, and the results speak loudly.

Regular Barbell Press -
5 x 6 reps. He does this with some cheating and always forces out extra reps at the end of each set.

Seated Press Behind Neck -
5 x 10. These are done in a slow, concentrated manner.

Standing Lateral Raise -
4 x 12. Here he bends slightly forward in order to begin the movement with a slight heave or cheat.

Forward Raise -
4 x 12. This is done slowly with peak contraction.

Various Cable Work for the Rear Deltoids -
Done slowly.

A detailed explanation of Sergio's shoulder routine appears in the November issue of Muscle Builder. Note: I have used this routine a lotta times over the decades since I first bought that issue in 1967. Basically, it's:

Push Press, working up over many triples to your heaviest poundage for 5 sets.
Strict Seated PBN, several sets of 6-8.
A real nice tri-set of the three lateral raises done seated.
There's also mention of DB pressing worked in at times. 



Reg Park

For size, width, shape and power, Reg Park's shoulders must surely rank with the greatest in the world. To obtain such development he had to use many unusual exercises and varied routines. Reg has built his entire routines around handling consistently heavier weights -- the very heaviest -- in each exercise. He has always made a habit of forcing out extra reps per set . . . even to the point that those extra reps were only partial reps. He simply would not put down the weight until he had gotten maximum 'mileage' from it . . . even to the point where a 'rep' would go only a few inches! He always worked his deltoids until they visibly throbbed with pump . . . and were bone-tired right down to the last hidden, deep-lying muscle fiber. Here is one of his favorite routines:

Variation Lateral Raise -
Reg does this for cuts, shape, and especially peak. It is a difficult exercise to master at first, but it's worth all the effort. Do a Standing Lateral Raise, raising the dumbbells to shoulder height -- no higher. Then, holding them at this angle, move them around to Front Holdout position and do 3 reps alternately -- with each arm -- then lower the dumbbells to the thighs and start over again. This entire operation constitutes one rep! Try this succession of movements for 5 to 8 reps.

Although Reg was doing this exercise well before the Continuous Tension method became widely known and used, it is, quite naturally, a very strong continuous tension movement when done correctly.

Special Upright Rowing -
In this, your first set is performed in the regular Upright Rowing motion from the thighs to chin level. Then you take a short rest. On your second, and following sets add 20 lbs. to the bar and begin each rep from floor level, like a Deadlift, but going all the way up to the chin. You can use plenty of weight in this one, so pile it on, but be sure to make the deltoids do the bulk of the work.

Variation Press and Cheating Lateral Raise -
This exercise is for both shape and power in the delts. Warm up with 2 sets of 12 with the familiar Standing Dumbbell Press, keeping the arms close to the head. On he last rep of the second set, when your arms are in completed Press position, pause there for 3 seconds. Then bend the elbow slightly and let the weights descend a little . . . bring them back to the overhead position . . . lower a bit more, bring them back to the completed Press position, and continue in this graduated descent until you are raising and lowering the weights from shoulder level. Basically, you are doing progressively fuller and fuller presses with each rep. A very severe movement, so do it with caution!

Variation Bentover Laterals -
Rest your head on a bench or support for stability while bending over, and do 15 reps of the regular Bentover Lateral Raise. Take a short rest, pick up slightly lighter dumbbells, and do 15 more reps of the bentover lateral to the REAR. Rest again, and follow this with 15 reps of the Forward Lateral Raise while still in the bentover position. This is a terrific deltoid workout and you will likely find that your shoulders will be quite sore the following day.

Dave Draper

The massiveness, symmetry and the cuts in this great bodybuilder's deltoids are outstanding! Dave wasn't always this spectacularly built. For the first part of his bodybuilding life he was a big, smooth, bulky type of bodybuilder, and only recently has he attained outstanding definition to go with his huge size. The routine given here reflects this. The layout, as you will see, combines bulking and shaping movements: 

Seated Press Behind Neck - 
5 x 6-8 reps. 

Seated Dumbbell Press - 
5 x 8.

Rear Lateral Raise - 
5 x 8.

Dips - 
5 x 10 - 12. 

In addition to this, Dave performs a great variety of cable work, particularly overhead pulldowns. Although the exercises and the layout seem simple enough, it would be folly to think that he makes it easy. Far from it! He continually uses the heaviest possible exercising weights, and forces out reps in his daily workouts. 

Note: for more great training info and if you're up to it, a sense of community, go here: 

And, be sure to read Dave's newsletter archive: 

No one writes like Dave Draper! And if you're a lifter with a soul, you'll love it. 

Larry Scott:
A Unique Deltoid Thickening Routine

Larry had a certain handicap in overcoming his narrow shoulder width. He has based his shoulder routines on leverage movements, particularly Lateral Raises, throughout his bodybuilding career. In this way he has been able to build delts of outstanding size, with cut to ribbons definition and perfect shape. His deltoid development now ranks with the world's best and makes his amazing arm development appear even more outstanding. 

Bent Forward Lateral Raise - 
Larry has worked out an effective variation on this standard exercise, and it has worked well for him. He stands, bent forward slightly from the waist, holding the dumbbells slightly in front of the body. He keeps his palms turned toward the rear to force the stress in this area and does 5 sets of 8-10 strict reps.

High Forward Incline Lateral Raise - 
In this movement Larry keeps the dumbbell in front of the body and does a very strict, concentrated motion. This works the entire contour of the side deltoids. 5 x 10 -12. 

Low Incline Lateral Raise - 
Once again Larry keeps the dumbbells in front of the body and in this way maintains stress on the deltoids and prevents cheating. Raising to shoulder height for 5 sets of 8 - 10 strict reps.

Pulley Lateral Raise - 
This is performed strictly for 5 x 8 - 10. 

The number of repetitions given in these sets are to be regarded as somewhat standard, because 8 reps to Larry Scott are not what 8 reps would necessarily to another bodybuilder. The concentration on the exercise is in itself such a stress-pointer that one Scott rep would equal four reps of any other bodybuilder's routine. The rule of thumb should be: continue a set until you feel a real muscle growth ache in the muscles being targeted, even if that entails using smaller partial reps at the end of your ability to perform full reps.  



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