Shoulder The Load: Joe 'SWAT' Palumbo's Shoulder Workout

Joe Palumbo knows about discipline, hard work, and intensity. He follows the same principles in the gym. Here's how he trains his shoulders!

It's one bad thing to upset a cop, and possibly worse to upset a bodybuilder who has been dieting for weeks in preparation for his next competition. Now imagine that the dude you're pissing off is both a pro bodybuilder and a cop. If you plan on committing a crime, make sure Joe Palumbo isn't the guy who responds.

Although it might be difficult to believe that one man is capable of so much awesome, Joe Palumbo proves it can be done. He works a full-time job as a member of the elite SWAT team, has a family, and is an IFBB pro bodybuilder. He may be in his fifties, but he trains as hard as anyone. The gym laws he enforces are simple: Give your best effort at all times and don't make excuses, punk.

"It was my dream since I was in high school to be a pro bodybuilder and serve the public as a police officer," he says. "I became a cop in 1990. I won my pro card in 2001. In 2013 my dreams are still happening, but I still have a long ways to go yet."

Joe Knows

Knowing he is a representative of bodybuilding and the fitness industry, Joe is always ready to answer questions fellow lawmen may have. He's also open and willing to help his fans or anyone else looking to benefit from his years of experience. He even has his own thread on the Forums.

To gain and keep muscle, commit to a program of clean eating and heavy lifting. How long do you want to stay strong? Forever? Then don't quit!

"Many brother officers trust me to tell them the truth and I take pride in that. Those who are just starting out or are looking to reach the next level may not be sure how to reach their goals. I enjoy being the person who can answer their questions. It is a part of being a pro bodybuilder and representing my sponsors."

Whenever Joe talks bodybuilding, he prioritizes nutrition. Although this article you're reading is a training feature, his thoughts about proper diet are still always worth mentioning: "If you go and train with me and then decide to hit your local diner for some pie and ice cream, you won't go anywhere. When you train, you're breaking down muscle fibers. To strengthen, repair, and re-grow, your muscles need good nutrients. Too many people, especially younger people, think that because they train hard they can eat whatever they want. That's simply not true."

Superhero Shoulders

One look at Joe, whether he's working the beat or the stage, and you'll notice immediately that he's rocking some big delts! He likes attacking the muscles from different angles to ensure that he hits the front, side, and rear parts in equal measure. He also trains traps on the same day. As he explains, your workout isn't about the weight you move but rather how you move it.

Says Joe: "I focus on stimulating the muscles instead of worrying about moving heavy, heavy, heavy weight. Your regimen can be a combination of heavy and lighter weights as long as you follow good form and worry more about targeting the muscle than the pounds you lift. You should be squeezing on each rep and feel the muscle you're training. Constant swinging and using bad form for the sake of a number isn't going to do you much good in the long run."

Follow his advice on demolishing the delts and then give his routines a go for yourself.

Joe "SWAT" Sample Shoulder Routine 1
Joe "SWAT" Sample Shoulder Routine 2

Joe's Parting Shot

Palumbo also feels that you shouldn't allow yourself to become a creature of habit in the gym. "Don't settle into one routine," he says. "I don't know what I will do for shoulders until I walk into the gym and look around. Then I make my plan and execute it.

Making constant changes to shock my shoulders has been crucial to my success. I like supersets, dropsets, adding forced reps, going heavy, going light, etc. One time I may begin with front delts and next time I'll start with side delts. Whatever I do will be different than the week before.