Shoulder Workout Principles
The first principle any thorough shoulder workout must adhere to is the principle of intensity. Intensity is not some fluffy feeling of exhaustion after the fact. Intensity is quantifiable and precise. It can be measured by multiplying the weight you’re lifting times the number of total repetitions. Then divide that number by the number of minutes required to complete your shoulder workout. This will tell you the intensity of your workout in a pounds-per-minute calculation.
The importance of this simple calculation cannot be overstated. Knowing exactly how strong you are, and knowing the precise intensity of your shoulder workouts gives you knowledge to make adjustments in your workout routine for better results. For example, most gym rats assume that if your shoulder workout is simply comprised of heavier and heavier weights, then you’re stronger and have done all you can. They don’t observe any of the other essential factors, namely, how long did it take you to complete your shoulder workout, and how many times did you actually lift that weight.
If you are able to shoulder press 50 pounds 40 times in 15 minutes this week, and then next week you shoulder workout consists of 25 repetitions of 70 pounds in the same amount of time, which do you think was the more intense workout? Many people will look at the weight alone and determine the second workout was more intense, while in actuality the first shoulder workout required much more energy and force to complete. This is powerful data that allows you to adjust one of three factors for better results, weight, repetitions, and time. If you can’t add weight or increase the reps, but you can complete your shoulder workout in 20% less time than the previous week, then you have made huge strength gains, even thought the weight hasn’t changed.
The second principle you ought to adhere to is that of progressive overload. This is the simple notion that in order to elicit an adaptive response to exercise each shoulder workout should surpass previous limits of strength and endurance. In other words, each shoulder workout should be more intense than the one prior, and now that you know how to calculate the intensity of a workout, it is simple to figure out precisely what you’ll need to lift next time to make gains. Our bodies adapt and grow when pushed passed previous limits, or are overloaded. Progressive overload is the methodical increase of intensity which both allows you to recover in a normal amount of time and still elicits the growth response.
Shoulder Workout Frequency
How frequently you perform your shoulder workout should depend primarily on how strong you are. If you are a beginner, more frequent training is fine as you’ll heal quickly and your body requires less stress to break down. Performing your shoulder workout two to three days a week is fine. As you become stronger and your shoulder workouts become more intense, your body will require more rest in order to recover and build new muscle. You see, weightlifting is the destructive process; muscle growth actually occurs when we’re resting, watching TV, and sleeping. There is and should be no objective standard of rest.
Most bodybuilders train their shoulders once a week. And this is also why most bodybuilders don’t grow very quickly unless they take steroids. There is a good chance your body will require more than a week to recover once you’ve built some size, and someone the size of your average bodybuilder may need two to three weeks of rest. But this doesn’t need to be guess work. Monitor your progress carefully, and if one shoulder workout you are unable to increase the intensity or you’ve become weaker, than you are overtraining and you need to increase the number of days between shoulder workouts.
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Isolation vs. Compound Exercises in Your Shoulder Workout Routine
Constructing a shoulder workout routine is not all that complicated. There are no magic techniques or exercises that promise huge gains. All of the variations out there of shoulder raises are in my opinion excessive. When a muscle is pushed to failure, it grows. There is no special movement which elicits the greatest response. That said, there are a few exercises that work best, and they are the most basic of movements.
The best compound exercises for your shoulder workout routine are the shoulder press and the upward row. A shoulder press, also known as the military press, is simply pushing a barbell straight up from your collarbone directly overhead. This exercise alone is sufficient to add size and strength to the shoulders. The upward row, which is simply pulling a barbell from a hanging position to your upper chest by lifting your elbows up is my second favorite choice, and also very effective. These exercises have the advantage of working several muscle groups, thereby increasing the intensity not only of your shoulder workout, but your total body workout and effort.
The best isolation exercise for your shoulder workout routine is side raises. Hold two dumbbells at your sides, and raise your arms straight up, keeping your arms straight, until they are parallel with your shoulders. This exercise focuses primarily on the shoulder muscles and therefore requires less weight than the other exercises. In terms of forcing your body to grow, compound movements require greater total force and energy output, and therefore are more likely to elicit growth the fastest, but there is a place for side raises in your shoulder workout routine if you need variety. Just remember not to mix things up each time, it’s important you calculate pounds lifted per minute every shoulder workout and this requires some consistency in shoulder exercises.
Your Best Shoulder Workout Routine
The best shoulder workout routine does not exist simply because we are all made differently and we differ in strength. However, YOUR best shoulder workout can now be created according to your own strength. Once you calculate the intensity of your shoulder workouts, you’ll be able to figure out the best workout routine to elicit growth for the following session. This is knowledge that few lifters take to the gym with them, but you can be different. Knowing exactly the amount of weight you need to lift in what unit of time is powerful mass building information, and this knowledge is guaranteed to help you use the exercises above to construct the best shoulder workout routine for yourself.