How to get a big back, huge arms, massive chest….. So many articles everywhere about that but you will rarely find something about how to make your shoulders bigger.
Yes, shoulders! Believe it or not, a vast majority of people that are working out will admit that they are having difficulties making the shoulders grow. So what are the top shoulder workouts?
Shoulder muscles partially participate in all workouts for the chest, back even in some of the workouts for the arms and most of the shoulder workouts hit the shoulders quite well. Then what can be the problem?
Not all of us are built the same, our structure is different and to make things even worse different muscles of the same body react differently to the training. You can do chest workouts and see your chest grow very nicely but on the other hand, when you do calf exercises you get nothing.
Choosing the right exercise
Some people simply can’t do certain exercises, for example, squats due to sensitive knees and lower back or benchpress because of the elbows and shoulders.
Everyone needs to figure out which exercise he can or can not do.
An exercise that will benefit one person and help get mass can be absolutely useless for another person or even cause injury when performed.
Some people do squats with heavy weights until their behind touches the ground and have no pain in the knees while others are in agony even before they reach the position parallel to the floor.
Sometimes insufficient development of some muscles can happen because you are not doing the exercises correctly or you are using too much weight.
How can you tell if you are using too much weight? The answer to that is very simple.
What happens first is that you lose the feeling of the targeted muscle, the one you want to isolate with that exercise. Second is that since the weight is too big you include other muscles to help you lift.
Take for example lateral dumbbell lifting. Instead of lifting them upright with the use of the deltoid muscle you lift by swaying your entire body using at the same time trapezoids, thighs and arms.
Muscle action is no longer clean and inertion is actually the bigger part of lifting. If you also do the exercise quickly you can do the entire training without straining and stimulating the shoulder muscle enough.
Side Lateral Raise
Side lateral raises are one of the best exercises for shoulder muscles. At the same time, this is the exercise where people make the most mistakes while doing it.
Observe people doing it in any gym and you will see so many different versions of this exercise. Incorrect of course.
Hands, elbows, weights flying everywhere. Weights getting back into the start position in the speed of light. Body swaying too much.
Let’s try and explain how to do lateral raise correctly and to finally get the best out of this amazing exercise. You can do this exercise standing or sitting down. Most people prefer doing it standing since then they can use a little sway to get pass the hardest point in the movement.
From the point of the technique, this is probably one of the hardest exercises to do correctly. The goal of the exercise is to get and isolate the outer, middle head of the shoulder muscle.
Easier said than done since other muscles help to raise the weight in the height of the shoulder. It can happen that you push with your legs a bit, sway your hands or lean back to get the better grip on the weight.
Many people use these tricks with every repetition and then they wonder why they do not feel the exercise and burning in the shoulders.
How to do it correctly
To realise how to do the exercise correctly we will split the technique of performing it into several parts and explain the role that hands, wrists, arms, legs and trapezoids (that actually aren’t supposed to have any role) have in doing it.
Hold the dumbbell bar a bit off centre so your pinkie fingers touch the weight plate, this will be very helpful in the upper position of the exercise when you are trying to lift your elbows in the height of your shoulders.
On the beginning of every repetition hold the dumbbells in front of you in the height of your crotch in a manner so the outer dumbbell plates are touching. Wrists are firm and elbows just slightly bend as you are spreading to the side.
Lean the upper part of the body forward for about 10-15 degrees just as much as is needed for the dumbbells to be in line with shoulders. Make sure that the elbows are in line with the shoulders.
Now comes the most important part, while you are leaning forward and starting to lift make constant effort to lift the elbows higher than hands. The goal is to lift the elbows in the height of the shoulders or even a bit higher to feel the shoulder muscle work.
Do not forget that even in the upper position your body should be tilted forward a bit. Do not lean back. Return the dumbbells to the start position slowly. Defy the gravity during the entire downward trajectory. Lifting can be quick but going back down to starting position must be very slow.
When to Do It
You can do side lateral raise on the beginning of super series with the pressure behind the neck. This way you will make the shoulders tired and get the best effect.
This is one of the best ways to build your shoulders. Some people like doing this exercise completely separate. It is up to you to decide what suits you best.
If your shoulders stopped growing despite regular training take a step back and objectively observe all the aspects of your training.
Are you using a bad form? Are the weights you are lifting too heavy and that does not allow you to isolate the muscle?
If answers to these questions are yes it is time for big changes in your training. While training you should make sure that your priority is the feeling in the shoulders, not the weights you are lifting. Workout in a way to feel the burning and pumping in each repetition.
If that requires shorter breaks between repetitions, declining or super series… so be it. In the end, what counts is only the result. With proper nutrition and enough time to recover your shoulders will grow.