Build yourself a complete and wide shoulders with this article guide on the total deltiod musculature!
It is one of the most basic and simple displays of strength. Pick up an object and lift it over your head. The more daunting and hefty the object, the more impressive the feat. No display of power is as cut and dry. At the same time, however, there may not be a movement so singularly responsible for the broad shouldered, mile-wide appearance of the hardcore bodybuilder. The shoulder press is as core and rudimentary an exercise as there is, and as such must be a staple in the routine of any trainer worth a damn.
A compound, multi-joint movement, the shoulder press has an impact on the human torso in proportion to the effects of the squat on the legs. The weight pushes down, with gravity as its best friend, folding the arms and compressing the chest, the heavier you go, the harder it is to breathe. The negative is slow and grueling; you can feel the weight of the world pressing down upon you. You hit bottom and have no choice but to fight. You against the world, it is push back or die. So you shove with all your might, onward and upward, each inch feeling like a country mile. Your triceps strain to assist your struggling delts. Your abs are locked tight, protecting your core from doubling over. Your feet are about to push through the dusty gym floor. You steady yourself and lock out hard at the top, pausing in a moment of inner triumph while your arms extend upward victoriously. Your jubilation is short lived, however, for you know that this set has just begun. The bar again begins its descent. Fuck.
Shoulder presses are the cornerstone exercise in any serious delt workout. Either placed at the beginning of your session, or later after pre-exhausting with an array of lateral raises--you haven’t really trained shoulders if you haven’t hoisted some heavy iron overhead. The pressing movement can be performed effectively using a barbell, dumbbells or even on a machine. Your average Animal should perform at least one kind of pressing for each delt session and can often times benefit from using two such movements for the sake of variety and the utilization of different physiological pathways. So let's cut the fucking chit chat and get down to the business at hand. It is time to shut the fuck up and push some big weights.
Performed seated or standing, it gets no more brutal than the military press. The name alone reeks of grave circumstances. Using a loaded barbell, unrack the weight and hold it overhead. Slowly lower the barbell to chin level and explode upward forcefully. One can either take the movement to full lockout or stop just short of lockout and continue to rep. After a considerable warm up, perform 4 sets starting with 15 for the first set, followed by sets of 10, 8 and a final widow maker of 4-6. A good alternative to the traditional free weight version of the military press is the same movement replicated on a smith machine- which provides the advantage of being locked into one fixed plane. It is a good idea (especially for the sake of your rotator cuffs) to employ an experienced spotter, one who knows their way around a gym, particularly on your heavier sets, as unracking and re-racking the weights can be an awkward and dangerous proposition.
On days when you desire to add a little bit of cayenne pepper to your deltoid recipe, there is an old school variation of the military press that is not to be overlooked. The behind the neck press, often shunned for its reputation as a hazardous exercise, can provide remarkable results when executed properly and in a cautious manner. It would be more appropriately titled the “behind the head press” because that is the actual safe range of motion for this movement. Seated at a military press station or in the power rack, lower the bar slowly to the mid point on the back of your skull. Press upward again to lockout or to a point just short thereof. Lowering the bar any further is entering into the red zone where injuries can and do happen. Follow the same set and rep range prescribed earlier for the standard military press.
The seated dumbbell press is quite possibly the most effective of all shoulder presses in that, like all dumbbell movements, it forces both arms to work independently and in unison. The trainer has to focus on balance, simultaneous movement and even tempo to properly carry out the movement. Seated with the dumbbells on your upper legs, kick them into pressing position. Push upward powerfully, squeeze at the top and lower slowly. These can be done in place of the military press or on days that you are feeling especially brutish, in addition to the old standby. Perform 3-4 sets ranging from 12 reps down to a vicious set of 4-6.
Your delts are now battered and deep-fried, Animal. You are emotionally exhausted and physically drained. The writing is on the wall and you can read it as clear as day: “Only the Strong Survive.” You know this to be true like you know the sky to be blue. When the day of reckoning arrives, you’ll be prepared; you’ve paid the price in blood, sweat and tears. You’ve put in your work- each day better than the last, each moment a step closer to your destiny. Because to you this is more than training, it is an expression of your purpose on this planet- survive and advance, destroy and conquer, until the day they put you in a box.
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