I’ve got some cool stuff for you this week—a series of workouts that I’ve used with my clients and myself.
More to the point, these workouts are so effective that they’ve been published in a series in Men’s Fitness.
I’m publishing them here on the blog so that you can enjoy and benefit, whether or not you read the magazine. (But you should!)
I’m going to hook you up with bad ass workouts that you can use to train and progress, even when time is an issue.
To start off the week, I’m going to get us going with my favorite body part: shoulders.
Now, we’ve all heard the expression, ‘shoulders make the man,’ and to some extent that old standby still applies. Although big arms and a great midsection are often lauded as the hallmarks of an ideal body, the simple fact of the matter is that you spend most of your time in clothes, and no one can see those body parts all covered up.
Not so with shoulders. A good set of wide, dense, well-developed shoulders is visible through any article of clothing.
If you only have 15 minutes to train your shoulders, the following workout is exactly what you need.
Consisting of four of the best deltoid exercises in the world, this training program will target all facets of shoulder development: strength, size, stability and even overall shoulder health.
1) Push Press – the ‘big daddy’ of shoulder movements, the push press is a standing overhead press where you use leg drive to propel the weight explosively upwards. Explosive exercises are incredible for developing strength and speed; in addition, they allow you to use more weight than with a non-explosive movement. In the specific case of the push press, this will allow for greater mass development of the entire deltoid muscle group.
This video show me doing it with dumbbells (and sweaty armpits), but in an ideal world, you’ll do this with a barbell. And make sure you load it up with some weight, dammit!
2) Half-Bent Lateral Raise – This exercise is a cross between a traditional lateral raise (which is intended to target the medial delts) and bent over lateral raises (which target the rear deltoid). With this variation, you bend at the waist to an angle of 45 degrees—this will place maximal stress on the medial deltoid while taking the anterior (front) out of the movement. As you fatigue, the oft-neglected rear deltoid will kick in to assist, making for a much more effective variation of the exercise.
3) Y-Press – Using dumbbells, press the weights up and out at a 45 degree angle—at the end of the rep, you’ll resemble the letter Y. Doing so requires a lot of the unsung heroes of shoulder training to fire and develop.
Unlike a traditional dumbbell overhead press, a Y-Press forces a good number of posterior muscles to fire in an attempt to stabilize the weight. Over time, this will increase both strength and stability, helping to prevent injury as well as add to flexibility.
4) Overhead Barbell Pass – Also known as the alternating javelin press, this is one of the most technically and innovative shoulder exercises I’ve come across. Perform it by holding a barbell lengthwise (see ‘javelin press’) and pressing upwards, passing the barbell from one hand to the other while it is directly over your head.
Much like the Y-Press, the Overhead Barbell Pass will depend heavily on the engagement of stabilizer muscles surrounding the shoulder to be successful. In addition, because you are holding the barbell in this fashion, the Overhead Pass also increases balance, stability, and grip strength. Finally, because this qualifies as a unilateral exercise, the Overhead Barbell Pass recruits a tremendous amount of High Threshold Motor Units (HTMUs) which have exceptional potential for growth—meaning that the Overhead Barbell Pass is also great for increasing size in a hurry.
A) Push Press
Rest: 60 seconds between sets
B1) Half-Bent Lateral Raise
Rest: 30 seconds, then proceed to B2
Rest: 30 seconds, then return to B1. After your second set, rest 90 seconds and proceed to C
C) Overhead Barbell Pass
Rest: 60 seconds between sets.
There you have it: your key to bigger, stronger and healthier shoulders—all in just 15 minutes! Try this workout if you’re crunched for time, or if you just need to shake things up a bit.