The modern exercise community seemingly has little in common with its "iron-game" lineage. Commercial growth watched the gritty training facilities of free-standing squat forks, platforms and chalk stands become rare sightings. While there have been many positive changes in the broad health and fitness sector, the "iron-game" has clearly lost ground in the mainstream.
Part of this gap strictly resulted from the shift toward machine-based training, as well as "softening" attitudes toward exercise. This disconnect is further perpetuated by generations losing track of the iron-game's history. This created a peculiar situation in which exercise approaches generally regressed over the last twenty years, while the supplement side of the industry improved radically.
This provides a unique advantage. Athletes and exercise enthusiasts can have the best of both worlds if they combine modern supplementation innovations with tried and true aspects of the iron-game past.
Building Your Boulders
In follow-up to training the back with a no-nonsense approach, the shoulders need to follow a similar path, using classic movements that never disappoint. Training the shoulders is a slightly more complex issue. The region must be attacked using a diverse set of movements and angles.
Shoulder training is like any region-specific training, where emphasis is put on movement generation, posture and control of eccentric action, but specific importance much be placed upon form. In my opinion, part of the negative commentary related to shoulder training, particularly overhead work, is commentary on poor technical form. This misplaced commentary leads to the wrongful dismissal of various exercises.
Of the many "rules" in training shoulders, one of the most important is a reminder to "check the ego at the door" and only use a weight that allows you to perform the movement correctly. Any form of cheating, such as bending backward in an overhead lift or swaying to perform a raise, will negate the desired effect and increase risk of injury.
Stone Shoulder Setup
Tempo: The concentric (raising of the load) action is under control with no "cheating" as that will only lower the training effect. After applying the contraction technique, eccentrically lower the weight three times slower than raising (3:0:1).
Proper Movement Pattern: Technical form is imperative. Individuals must not use momentum in raises or bend backward in overhead lifts.
- Warm-up sets or lower intensity repetitions should not be counted
- Pay focus upon eccentric action and ensure optimal posture is maintained.
- Rest is 45-to-60 seconds, no more
- As a special comment, please note this is not a specific "injury prevention" program for the shoulder. Capsule with that forthcoming.
The Shoulder Workout
Dumbbell Push Press (shown with kettlebells)3 sets of 12 reps
Explode weight up, with slow eccentric action
Side Lateral Raise3 sets of 12 reps
Slight bend at elbow, raise to fully overhead
Front Raise3 sets of 12-15 reps
Bent-Over Lateral Raise3 sets of 12 reps
Chest toward knees, arms forward
This shoulder workout fits perfectly within a standard 5-day-split routine, assuming care is given to proper recovery, diet and supplementation.