6 coolest exercises for the shoulders that you do not!


Update the shoulder training program with 6 new movements and improved versions of the classics. They are safer for the joints, but that does not mean that they are easier!

Author: Nick Tumminello

No other training has such a fine line between good and dangerous pain, as in training your shoulders. Yes, training should be uncompromising, but this does not mean that shoulder joints must suffer from this.

In other words, this group of muscles should be trained with the mind and the utmost dedication, and one from the other is inseparable. I suggest six of my favorite exercises that will help in achieving this goal.

A barbell press with an emphasis in the floor at an angle is an excellent exercise, because it not only includes the hip and muscles of the bark, but also allows you to work your shoulders without pain and risk. Even if the usual press above the head is accompanied by painful sensations, the benchman's press can be easily performed without the slightest discomfort.

However, the classic version of the benchmark has one drawback: as the bar rises, the length of the lever changes, and you have a mechanical advantage. Therefore, it is easier to lift the load. The solution lies on the surface: attach the bar to the rubber so that the resistance increases simultaneously with the rise of the projectile.

You can fix the rubber under the foot from the side of the arm, which lifts the bar. Even a thin rubber will significantly complicate the performance of the exercise. If you feel that the resistance is not enough, and there is not any rubber at your fingertips, just wrap a part of the expander on the supporting leg to make it shorter.

Another beauty of the benchmark is its versatility. You can do approaches for 5 repetitions for strength development, or you can and 15 for boosting metabolism and fat burning.

A unique exercise with weight, which works the shoulders a little differently, than more traditional variants of a press above a head as the top of an arm is before a trunk, instead of sideways. Between the case, you get a little training of the muscles of the trunk, as the weight is shifted relative to the center of gravity, and this forces you to balance almost like during the side bar.

The weight in the press from shoulder to shoulder moves in such a way that one hand plays the role of the main engine, and the second takes on an auxiliary function. In the next repetition, roles change, and both hands end up with an equal share of the load. In this exercise, you generate very specific incentives for the muscles – this is not a press with one hand, does not press with both hands, but something in between.

To correctly perform the exercise, grasp the handle of the weight with your thumbs and lift it over the right shoulder so that the elbow is located directly under the projectile. Lift overhead, then lower to the other shoulder, repeat in the reverse order. Trajectory of movement should be in the form of a triangle.

3. Raising the arms to the sides at an angle

With the usual rise of hands in the sides, the movement occurs only in the sagittal plane, in other words, in the lateral. I prefer to go beyond the usual frames in this exercise and raise my hands in a plane known as the plane of the shoulder joint. It passes approximately at an angle of 30 degrees with respect to the body.

Studies have shown that performing shoulder exercises in the plane of the shoulder joint creates a similar load on the musculature of the shoulder girdle, but reduces unwanted stress on the rotator cuff of the shoulder.

As an option, you can do swings with your hands at an angle of 45 degrees to the plane of the trunk. There will be something between the raising of hands forward and the dilution to the sides. Do you want to make the exercise even harder? Do it with a stop at the top. Raise dumbbells up, lock in this position for 8-10 seconds at the beginning of the approach, and then start counting 8-10 smooth repetitions.

4. Benign over the head in the plane of the shoulder joint

What works for lifting hands in the hand, works and for presses. Instead of holding hands on each side, try placing them at an angle to the body, in the plane of the shoulder joint.

To clarify, this situation does not relieve the load from the rotator cuff of the shoulder completely, because it can not escape from it. Every time you raise your arm above your head, contact or collision of the rotator cuff and the acromial process of the scapula occurs. But contact should not be synonymous with inflammation, irritation or damage – signs of "impingement of shoulder joint syndrome".

Performing a press above the head in the plane of the shoulder joint is the simplest way to do more work and at the same time reduce unwanted stress for the joints.

I never understood why bodybuilders and powerlifters use the concept of 21 only in training biceps. As it seems to me, 21 is an elementary and universal overload device that can easily be adapted to almost any strength training exercise to wear out the target muscle with relatively light weight.

Instead of the traditional "upper half / bottom half / full amplitude" approach, I prefer mixed repeats with isometric retention. The dumbbell presses on this scheme can be done both standing and sitting.

Here is the action plan:

  • 7 partial repetitions in the middle part of the trajectory.

Why focus on the middle part of the range of motion? To begin with, the muscle potential in terms of generating the force is minimal at the point of complete straightening (stretching) or full shortening (contraction). The maximum possible voltage they generate in the middle – half way along the range of motion.

The next reason to focus on the middle part of the range is that at this position the load on the muscles of the shoulder is maximal. In the press above the head, the shoulders are maximally loaded at the point in the range in which the humerus (the bone of the upper arm) is at an angle of 90 degrees with respect to the load vector, which is the gravity vector.

The further you deviate from the angle of 90 degrees with respect to the load vector, the shorter the lever becomes, and the less work you have to do to the muscles of the shoulder. That's why athletes during the press above the head between repetitions rest at the bottom or at the top point of the range of motion. At an angle of 90 degrees about rest there can be no question!

6. Thrust to the chin by a wide grip in the crossover

Thrusts to the chin are those movements in which many weightlifters and coaches can not find the golden mean between pain and efficiency. But this is not the reason to abandon the exercise, rather, a good reason to look for new ways of doing it.

In the traditional version of the thrust to the chin – rod pull with a grip closer to the middle of the neck – there are a number of drawbacks. Take at least the maximum participation of biceps. The 2013 experiment proved that the load on the deltas and trapezoids increases in parallel with the increase in the width of the grip, and the involvement of the shoulder brace is reduced in this process. If you want to practice this exercise with shoulders and trapezoids – and this is how it should be – put your hands wider, this is rule number one.

Now about the main reason why people avoid craving for the chin: shoulder pain and impingement syndrome. All this is closely related to how high you raise the projectile. Studies indicate that the impact of articular surfaces reaches a peak when the angle of elevation in the shoulder joint is from 70 to 120 degrees. The exact figure depends on the individual characteristics, but the authors of the article published in the 2011 year recommend raising your hands in the pull to the chin so that the angle was slightly less than 90 degrees (shoulder height). Other studies confirm the correctness of the principle "not above parallels".

And lastly, I prefer to pull the chin thrust with a wide grip on the bottom block. Step back a couple of steps from the block so that you can pull the cable at a slight angle. Executing a thrust to the chin at a small angle allows you to slightly widen the range of motion in the upper phase, if compared with the conventional version of pulling dumbbells or bars upright.

Gathering together all the recommendations, you will force the deltoid muscles to do the maximum amount of work, which is good, with a minimal load on the joints, in which there is nothing good. Expand the training horizons and do not be ill!

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