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Shoulder Workouts: How Many Should I Do?

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Mastering Shoulder Workouts: Expert Advice

Are you craving a wider, more imposing frame? These mass- and strength-forging moves will do the trick.

If you're hoping to bulk and broaden your shoulders to look damn good in a T-shirt, build a V-taper for a fitter-looking physique (it's ranked as one of the sexiest body parts on a man), you're in the right place.

Jennifer Ventriglia, C.P.T.—founder of Blueprint Athletics, a personalized athletic-training system for athletes and competitive bodybuilders—has provided beginners with the ultimate list of shoulder exercises.

These shoulder-training exercises will develop the size and strength you're searching for. We've included a recommendation on reps, sets, and rest, but if you have a particular goal in mind, follow these recommendations:

Endurance: 1-3 sets x 12-20 reps with 0-60 sec. rest

Hypertrophy: 3-5 sets x 6-12 reps with 60-90 sec. rest

Strength: 4-6 sets x 1-5 reps with 1-3 min. rest

Power: 3-6 sets x 1-10 reps with 3-5 min. rest

When you're ready to put them to work, try Ventriglia's ultimate shoulder workout for beginners, or mix and match some of the following ten moves for your personalized routine.

1. Barbell Military Front Press

How to do it: Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip, hands placed shoulder-width apart or a little wider. You can lift the barbell from a squat rack positioned at chest height or clean the bar from the floor to your chest. Without using any momentum, lift the barbell in front of your face, lock out your arms, and descend, making sure you go no lower than your chin. Keep your elbows tucked and facing forward so they don't bow out to the sides. "Be careful not to jut your head forward when lifting the weight up, and avoid arching your lower back," Ventriglia says. Tighten your abs when you lift.

 Prescription: 3-5 x 6-12 reps with 60-90 sec. rest


2. Seated Dumbbell Military Press

 How to do it: Raise an adjustable bench vertically, and sit against it with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights at shoulder level, palms facing out, then press them straight overhead. "Don't let your elbows drop below your ears, and keep your arms bent at 90°," Ventriglia advises.

 Prescription: 3-5 x 6-12 reps with 60-90 sec. rest


3. Dumbbell Front Raise

How to do it: Stand with dumbbells in each hand at your sides, shoulders back, knuckles facing out. Raise one arm, rotating your wrist so your palms face the floor, bringing the weight to eye level. Return the weight to your side, then repeat with the opposite arm. Also, be sure to control the weight, avoid excess arm swing on the descent, and avoid leaning to either side, she adds.

 Prescription: 4-6 sets x 1-5 reps with 1-3 min. rest


4. Leaning-away Dumbbell Lateral Raise

How to do it: Hold a dumbbell in one hand, and stand beside a pole or sturdy machinery (like a squat rack). Place your feet together close to your anchor point, and grab the pole (with the hand closest to it). Lean away from the pole, keeping a straight light from your ankles, hips, and shoulders. Raise the dumbbell laterally to eye level, then repeat. "Avoid collapsing at the hips and swinging the weight rapidly or uncontrollably. Use a lighter weight if necessary," Ventriglia says.

 Prescription: 1-3 x 12-20 reps with 0-60 sec. rest

5. Bus Driver

How to do it: Grab a plate of desired weight. Fully extend your arms before you, locking out at the elbows. Rotate the plate fully left, then fully right, as if you were turning a steering wheel. Keep the motion slow and controlled, and don't drop your arms.

 Perform for time: 1-3 x 1 minute with 0-60 sec. rest


6. Landmine Press

How to do it: If you don't have a landmine device, wedge one end of an Olympic bar into the corner of a wall, with sandbags underneath to keep it in place. (Wrap the end in a towel so it doesn't scratch the wall.) Load the other end of the barbell with your desired weight. Stand or kneel, then grab the end of the bar with both hands and use an overhand grip. Press the bar from the top of your chest to overhead, locking out your elbows. Lower to chest level, then repeat.

Prescription: 4-6 sets x 1-5 reps with 1-3 min. rest



7. Upright Row w/ EZ Curl Bar

How to do it: Stand with feet together. Grab an EZ curl bar of desired weight with an overhand grip, palms facing down. Your hands should be just shy of shoulder-width apart. Row the bar up the front of your body to your chin, then lower. Return to your waist and repeat. "Avoid excess arching in the lower back, bowing out your elbows, and losing control of the movement," Ventriglia says.

Prescription: 4-6 x 1-5 reps with 1-3 min. rest


8. Wide Reverse Flyes

How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and stand with feet hip-width apart or assume a staggard stance. Hinge at your hips, and bring the weights together so they're touching, palms facing one other. Turn the dumbbells so your palms face down and your elbows align with your shoulders. Return to starting position, and repeat. You can also do this while lying on a bench, which removes your ability to assist your shoulders with your hips and isolates your rear deltoids even more.

Prescription: 1-3 x 12-20 reps with 0-60 sec. rest


9. Short Ws Reverse Flyes

How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and stand with feet hip-width apart or assume a staggered stance. Hinge at your hips, and bring the weights together so they're touching, palms facing one other. Turn the dumbbells so your palms face down and your elbows align to your shoulders, but the dumbbells are near your ears. Your upper body will resemble a W. Return to starting position and repeat.

Prescription: 1-3 x 12-20 reps with 0-60 sec. rest



 

 

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