If you think shoulder day on your workout list is just like any other in the gym then you couldn’t be more wrong. So when you train shoulders, you have to consider exercises and techniques that not only build muscle, but also keep the joint healthy for the long haul as well. One thing you can be sure of is that you will not be building huge delts if you are nursing a chronic shoulder injury.
Overhead press exercises like the dumbbell press, barbell press, behind the neck press and many other variations may seem pretty interchangeable but are actually quite different. In other words, lifting heavy, taking the bar behind your head increases the risk of an injury and damage. If you already get shoulder pain as a lot of long-time lifters do, overhead presses may be a contributing factor.
Fully extending the elbows if a beginner’s mistake that far too many intermediate lifters still make, especially with single-joint movements for the middle and rear delts. Once you start opening and closing up at the elbows, the triceps become part of the equation, reducing the effectiveness of the isolation you’re trying to achieve making the movement a multi-joint one. Upright rows are a very versatile multijointed exercise for delts that especially target the middle head, trainees typically get tripped up when it comes to hand positions.
If you look back to the first point I made, you can figure out that to work your middle delts to the max, you want your upper arms moving directly out to your sides, this happens when you take a moderate grip on a bar when doing upright rows.
If you take a close grip on the bar, your elbows move forward and out to your sides, not directly out. High-volume training is a mainstay of serious bodybuilding, but the math adds up fast for a set of joints that takes a serious amount of abuse during training for many upper body parts.
As an example, the anterior delts are heavily recruited in chest movements, especially incline presses. Many people spend a lot of time on their chests but are your anterior delts out of balance? High-volume workouts may not adversely affect delt growth by contributing to overtraining, but can sooner or later take a toll on your shoulder joint. Chest day does mean extra work for your anterior delts but when it comes to back training, the rear delts take up a bigger share of the workload. In addition to this, guys who focus on building a big chest may have well-developed anterior deltoids, which contribute in all chest-pressing motions. You may be starting to get some great results but you should be prepared for injuries and know how to deal with them. If you have pretty evenly developed delts, you can rotate the order in which you train single-joint exercises from one workout to the next to ensure balanced development. Building huge shoulders is a noble goal but you can’t neglect the role of rotator-cuff muscles.

As you train your delts and they become stronger, the ratio of the strength between the two muscle groups can get a bit out of balance and this increases your risk of a rotator-cuff injury. Having variations of an exercise enables you to work the muscle in different ways which in turn encourages growth. There is a decent amount of shoulder elevation going on when you train shoulders, especially when doing lateral raises and upright rows. The trapezius muscle, however, has a middle and lower portion too and those don’t get near the degree of muscle stimulation on shoulder day. It is not uncommon to see bodybuilders combine upper traps with shoulders and leave the remainder of the traps for their back day, a solid strategy you can adopt in your training. All of these tips should really benefit your shoulder workout a lot and help prevent any future injuries. If you are having trouble turning your body around even after many diets and lots of hard exercises please click here for some additional help that will really help you. Advice for growing your delts is all well and good but it would unethical of me not to advise you to minimize cumulative damage to the shoulder joint and rotator cuff along the way. So sit up straight and pay attention to nine of the most underrated shoulder tips that will help you not only build size but also keep your joints healthy too. In the bottom position of the shoulder press with the barbell behind your head, the shoulder muscles are in their weakest anatomical position and going heavy significantly increases the risk of a tear. You can still perform moderate-weight sets for reps behind your head, but when training with very heavy weights, keep the movement in front.
This is because the arm position reduces space in the joint and causes structures to rub against one another, a process that can eventually lead to fraying and inflammation over time. The angled press allows the shoulder to follow a more natural arc making it a more comfortable variation of the shoulder press, even for individuals who have shoulder problems. It is best to keep your elbows locked in a slightly bent position during moves like lateral raises and rear-delt flyes. On movements like cable lateral raises and standing reverse cable flyes, many lifters mistakenly completely extend their elbows to 180 degrees at the end of the movement, then close them to about 90 degrees as they lower the weight back down. To minimize the triceps, lock a very slight bend into your elbows and hold it throughout the entire set. If not, you’ll want to insert at least two days before or after you hit shoulders to guard against the delts being overworked on consecutive days. Occasionally cycling off to lower-volume training may save your shoulders and work as an effective strategy for growth.
If so, you may consider reducing the amount of work on the posterior delts on shoulder day, especially if you train those muscle groups on consecutive days. If you’ve neglected back training, your rear delts are probably small in comparison which is not only apparent in the mirror but sets you up for a possible rotator cuff complication further down the road.

Start by choosing a version of the overhead press that best targets it, then as you begin single-joint exercises for delts, start with one that targets your weak area first, maybe even doing a second exercise for the lagging region. Those smaller muscles and associated tendons are not visible but they help stabilize the shoulder joint. This is one reason you should do internal and external rotation work, this can keep your shoulders healthy for the long-term. Those areas are best targeted with rows and pull-downs, the kinds of exercises you train with your back.
Thanks to its placement, freedom of movement and ball-and-socket structure the shoulder is involved in nearly every upper-body movement. For those who find overhead presses difficult or even individuals who are pain-free, consider rotating shoulder-friendly versions of the overhead press into your workouts. Stop all exercises that aggravate your shoulder pain and see a sports-medicine specialist first to diagnose any underlying problems. Locking your elbow in place ensures that the only joint in motion is the shoulder, this is what you want as it is a single-joint exercise. You get less emphasis on the middle delts and you also increase the likelihood of causing long-term shoulder damage.
Worst-case scenario is training chest on Mondays, shoulders on Tuesdays and triceps on Wednesdays. The rear delts are the secondary muscle group here, but make no mistake, they’re hard at work. For one thing, your overhead presses don’t target each head equally and most presses notable under-stimulate the rears. It can also cause your shoulders to pull noticeably more forward as well, giving you a slouched appearance.
If you choose to use a dumbbell, lie down so that you’re properly working against gravity. It makes sense then to add some single-joint movements like shrugs to give your traps the load and volume necessary to induce growth.
This makes it subject to more wear and tear over time than probably any other joint in your body. All of this extra work means the delts can easily be overtrained, depending on how you arrange your training split and how much volume you include on delt day. When you do Arnold presses or barbell presses in front of your head, your elbows are actually pulled forward.

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