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Shoulder Training
by: Jeff Schwartzer

Shoulders are a complex muscle in that they allow for complete circular rotation of the arm.  No other muscle group in the body belongs to such a multi-functional joint.  Because of this amount of movement, the shoulder has to be trained from multiple angles too.

* The shoulder has a front, side and rear head and must all be trained in order to keep balance within the structure. Their is a greater risk for injury when one of more of the muscle heads is weaker than the others.

*As with all training begin with a 5-10 minute warm-up on the stationary bike or any other form of cardiovascular work you choose.  Once properly warm, begin the workout with 2-3 very light sets of overhead presses and side laterals.  Keep the weight very light and focus more on increasing range of motion than actually working the muscle.

Exercise number one will be
overhead presses.  These exercises will work the front and side heads of the shoulder.  Their are many version of this particular exercise, so choose a different exercise each workout.  Your choices are dumbbell presses, barbell presses, Smith-machine presses, Hammer Strength presses or machine presses. When using dumbbells lower the weight near your ear and when using a barbell or Smith-machine lower to the front of your head touching the chin.  I am not an advocate of bringing a barbbell or Smith-machine to the rear of the head nor do I suggest lowering any pressing movement below chin level.

*Over time, this excessive range of motion can begin to break down the shoulder joint and cause pain or worse yet, injury.

Lower the weight to chin level with control and forcibly push the weight back to the starting position also with control.  This is an exercise that would be benefited having a spotter with to help maintain control and prevent risk of injury.  Complete 3-4 sets, keping repetitions in the 8-15 range.

Exercise number two will be side laterals.  These movements will work the
side head of the shoulder.  This exercise can be completed with either dumbbells, a cable, or machine.  When using dumbbells or cables, start by holding the weight or D-grip next to your outer thigh with the palm facing in that same direction.  Raise the weight or handle out away from the side of your body as if forming the letter "T".  Have a slight bend to your elbows during the complete range of motion.  Raise arms to shoulder level, parallell to the floor before beginning your controlled descent to the starting position.  Perform 3-4 sets with repetitions in the 10-15 range.

Exercise number three is
front raises.  These movements will work the front head of the shoulder.  Here a barbbell, dumbbells, or cables with a straight bar or rope can be used.  The basic movement is holding whichever equipment you choose in both hands as they face your front thighs, arms fully stretched down in front of body.  With a slight bend to the elbows raise the weight in front of body at arms length until you reach eye level. With control, lower the weight to the starting position, completing the repetition when touching the front thighs again.  Here 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions is sufficient.

Exercise number four is for the
rear deltoids.  Multiple exercises can stimulate the rear deltoids, but here I'll discuss the same type of movements already suggested within the workout.  Use either dumbbells, cables, or a pec deck machine that allows the handles to move all the way back into the machine.  With dumbbells, sit on the edge of a bench start by holding onto two dumbbells on the floor outside of your feet with palms facing each other.  Bend your torso down roughly 45 degrees and begin by raising the dumbbells upward toward the ceiling with the elbods pointing up. Squeeze the rear deltoids at the top before lowering the weight back to the starting position.  When using cables, the only difference is that instead of sitting on a bench, you would stand away from the cable and grab the handle with the hand furthest from the cable and pull the weight across your body.  If a pec deck is used, sit facing the machine, the opposite you would if training chest.  Grab the handles in front of you at chest level.  Lean into the back pad and bring your arms back with a slight bend to the elbows and squeeze the rear deltoids before returning to the starting position. Complete 3-4 sets keeping repetitions in the 10-15 range.

A muscle group usually paired with sholders is trapezius, also called traps.  These muscle are stimulated with any type of shrugging motion.  A barbbell, dumbbells or a Smith-machine can be used.  When using dumbbells, grab a pair holding them with palms facing towards your outer thighs at arms length.  Here you want very little elbow flexion, so be sure to keep arms straight throughout movement.  To begin, elevate your shoulders as if toughing your shoulders to your ears.  Use a straight up-and-down motion squeezing the trapezius at the top of the motion.  A rolling of the shoulders is not recommended.  Lower to starting before beginning another repetition.  When using a barbbell or Smith-machine the only difference in the exersice is the grip.  Here your palms are facing the front of your thighs throughout the entire range of motion.  The function of the exercise is the same.

Well, you've just been through a complete shoulder workout.  If you find any area lagging behind, prioritize it by training it first in your workout.  If that doesn't work, think about adding another exercise for that area.  Best of luck and get those shoulders growing.

"Best of luck with your new training program and any questions can be directed though this web site to me and I will do my best to assist you in any way possible."

Sincerely, Jeff Schwartzer

The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.

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