At first glance, this workout looks pretty mellow: Seven exercises with a 2.5-minute rest period between each one. Piece of cake! But then you start the first set, and that cold feeling starts to creep up your spine. "What have I gotten myself into?"
If you're looking for a workout that will force shoulder growth, IFBB pro Jason Poston has created just the thing. There are a modest number of exercises—nothing crazy—and you do get a lot of rest in between them, but the way he structures the sets will have you begging for mercy.
Poston kicks off the workout with timed sets of 3 minutes, then 90 seconds, then 60 seconds, and finishes up with some standard sets and reps—but with a twist. As you battle through these exercises, pay attention to form, but feel free to cheat just the tiniest bit to get in all the reps you can.
Once you finish your first time through this workout, you might agree with Poston that this isn't something you want to do every week. He suggests that you do it for about four weeks in a row every now and then, then return to a more conventional shoulder workout.
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Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The goal for this exercise is to get in as many reps as you can in 3 minutes—using the same weight for the entire interval, if possible. Keep going until your form starts to fall apart. Then, take a 3-second rest, pick up the weight, and start again.
If you discover you started with too much weight, you might want to use the dropset technique: Lift as much as you can with one weight, then switch to a lower weight to finish the interval. The main point, though, is to lift as much as you can, and don't rest any longer than 3 seconds. Finish up, then sit back and enjoy 2-1/2 minutes of rest before the next exercise.
It stands to reason Poston would include this exercise in his shoulder workout; he invented it because he wanted something that would hit all three delt heads in one movement. Start in the traditional Arnold position, but instead of taking the dumbbells all the way up and locking out, simply rotate your shoulders and elbows back. As you do this, squeeze your scapulae and rear delts, then rotate back to the starting position. You'll quickly notice that your arms and shoulders will be under constant tension for the entire 90 seconds.
Go as hard and as long as you can, dropping the dumbbells for 3 seconds when necessary, then picking them up again to finish the interval. Don't get totally sloppy with your form, but focus on getting as many reps as possible.
Machine Shoulder Press
Poston has you use the machine on this one so you won't have to worry about stability as you rep out for 60 seconds. He suggests starting with a weight that's 70 percent of your 1RM. Keep going until failure, take those 3 seconds to pull yourself together, then finish up strong. If your shoulders weren't feeling it before, they are now.
Barbell Upright Row
You can do this either on a Smith machine or with free weights. The main thing is to keep your grip wide, your chest out, and your spine curved. Focus on pulling the bar up to chest level. You're working your medial delts, so you don't need to lift any higher than that. If you watch the video, you'll notice that Poston uses a little bit of knee spring to get the weight up when he gets fatigued. This is all about getting in max reps, so it's OK to cheat a little here, but keep it under control.
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
This one is going to test your limits; Poston says sometimes it even makes him dizzy. When it does, he puts the bar down and stands up to clear his head—but only for 3 seconds. Then, he's back at it, pumping hard. He's using a neutral grip in the video, but feel free to use whatever hand position you prefer and maybe mix them up from week to week.
The timed intervals are over now. You'll just be doing 3 straight sets of 20 reps. Poston says he sees a lot of people using a jerky motion to do shrugs, but it should be all about taking it smooth and easy.
Don't round your shoulders backward or forward. Keep your shoulders square to your body, focus on lifting your traps up and down, and get a good stretch on the concentric. He also suggests using Versa Grip straps so you can keep lifting without being limited by your grip.
Barbell Shrug Behind the Back
Poston chooses this over the standard front barbell shrug because he says it allows him to isolate his traps better, get a better trap workout, and make the most out of lighter weights. As you do these reps, concentrate on lifting your traps up as high as you can, then squeezing them at the top for a second before you drop them down again.