The shoulders are a very important muscle group. This is true when it comes to training as well as how the physique appears. When it comes to physique development, having wide shoulders is the first key when it comes to creating that “V-taper” look that makes your waist appear smaller. They will also compliment your arms and chest when doing front poses as well as the back when performing rear poses. Obviously we want to make sure our shoulder game is on point and these five tips will help you make that goal a reality.
Focus on Your Rotator Cuffs First
It’s ironic but believe it or not, as your shoulders grow and get stronger your rotator cuffs can actually get weaker and this could lead to problems both in the long and short term. The rotators are involved in every action the shoulders perform so it’s important to make sure you give them the attention they need before you start training. You can perform exercises such as the internal and external rotations with a fitness band or light dumbbell with light resistance to make sure that you give your rotators the attention they need. This will also help the shoulder joint produce synovial fluid which lubricates the joints so you can minimize the chances of injury while you’re lifting the heavier weights.
Weakest Point First
There are three main heads of the shoulder muscle. They are the anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear). When you’re analyzing your physique, look at all three heads of your shoulders with a critic’s eye and determine which area is the strongest for you, then the next strongest, and finally the weakest. Once you have determined that order, create your training program based around the weakest point. Training it after your rotator cuffs and making it the priority can help you improve that area and can help you catch it up with your stronger parts so you can have that complete look you’re looking for. If that weak point is front delts, then start your training with presses or front raises. If it’s the rear delts, start with upright rows or bent over laterals.
There are many great exercise options out there for you to choose from. I can make recommendations of what I like but what works for you might be different than what works for me. For example, I might find that the standing barbell press is the best movement for the front head of the shoulders. You might try that and find that your triceps are dominant in that exercise but front raises work better for you. Find the exercises that you feel work best and make those the foundation of your program. If you swing a little when performing front raises and can’t seem to control it, try performing them seated and see if that helps. If you find that you can contract the rear delts better by performing high rope pulls and not bent over laterals on a bench, then opt for the rope.
If you get injured while training the shoulders, that can also affect your ability to train other groups like chest or back. So it’s crucial that you do whatever you can do to avoid injury. This is why you should definitely focus on not only what you’re lifting andbut how you lift it as well. The lateral head of your deltoid has no idea that you have a 20 pound dumbbell in your hand when you’re performing lateral raises, it. It only knows it has to work. There’s also not many lateral raise competitions??? out there so the number on the weight should be irrelevant here. YSo you shouldn’t be too concerned with grabbing heavy dumbbells and swinging to create momentum whichmomentum, which actually results in the shoulders doing less work. Take the time to lift the weight properly, feel that contraction, and slowly lowering the weight back to the starting position.
Yes, this is the part where we talk about recovering and resting so the shoulders can grow. This is vital because of what the shoulders do. Your front delts will still be involved on a secondary in pressing movements for chest like the bench press and dips. The rear delts could still be recruited on your back day when it comes to movements like the pulldown or high rows. So even though it’s not your day to train delts, they’re still getting worked. Take this into consideration when it comes to recovery. You can help by focusing on more isolation movements for chest and back so the delts aren’t as heavily involved. There are other things you can do like ice, heat, supplement with glutamine, include post workout isolate and massages to help this important area as well.