Thursday: Shoulders and Traps

The sets listed in the workout below do not include warm-up sets.

Shoulders Sets Reps *
Military Barbell Press (in front) 2 4 to 6
Seated Dumbbell Press
(Palms facing in at bottom of the movement and rotated forward at the top)
2 4 to 6
Standing Side Lateral Dumbbell Raises 2 6 to 8
Deadlifts (these are powerlifting style dead lifts) 2 4 to 6
Barbell Shrugs 2 4 to 6

* Remember, the weight you use should be light enough to do four reps, but heavy enough so you can’t do more than 6 reps. Each set should be done to positive failure.

Military Barbell Press is the king of the shoulder movements. Never do them behind the neck. People assume behind the neck shoulder presses are for rear delts when in reality it places all the stress on the front delts. Performed in front brings more of the total shoulder into play. These can be done seated or standing. Lower the weight twice as slowly as you raise it.

Seated Dumbbell Press is an excellent mass builder for your shoulders. It allows for a full range of motion and rotation of your forearm during the movement. This allows for a slightly fuller range of motion than straight bar presses. Keep your back straight and chest out. Lower the weight twice as slow as you raise the weight.

Standing Side Lateral Dumbbell Raises are the most effective medial deltoid exercise. Go heavy. Keep your elbows level with your wrists during the entire movement and turn your thumbs down at the top of the. Raise forcefully and lower slowly.

Deadlifts work the entire upper and lower back and hit your traps directly. Use a powerlifting style grip with one palm in and one palm out. Grip the bar about shoulder width. Straps can be used. Keep your back as straight as possible and the bar close to your body through the entire movement. With practice and proper technique a lot of weight can be used here. More weight – more muscle.

Barbell Shrugs are a direct and very effective trap movement. Do not rotate your shoulders when you do shrugs. This does not make the movement more effective and invites serious shoulder injury. Lift straight up and lower the weight straight down. Just like its name – shrug. You can do these from the floor to add a bit of intensity and extra overload or you can do them off a rack. Straps can certainly be used here.

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