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Are Raises Enough for Shoulders?

Hi guys,

I’m wondering if anyone thinks raises (both front, lateral and rear) are enough to build big and strong shoulders.

My goals are primarily athletic - I’m a rugby player so I want to be big and powerful so I value both hypertrophy and strength.

You hear a lot about overhead pressing being a vital component of any routine and plenty of guys who write articles on T Nation swear by it. However, Joe De Franco seems to think they’re completely unnecessary. I feel like I should be able to trust him because, as far as I’m aware, he is famous for being an strength coach for NFL players and the like, which would suit my goals.

Bearing in mind that my goals are athletic, are raises enough to build big AND strong shoulders? And will a lack of overhead pressing damage my shoulder mobility?

I’m thinking about including something like a few sets of Clay Hyght’s Delt Triad after 2 bench press variants on my “push” day.

What do you think?

I honestly don’t recommend much heavy overhead pressing if you already do plenty of benching. Can you show us what your normal push/pull/leg days are like? (you know to see how balanced it would be and stress on your shoulders that would already be there…)

[quote]MileyV wrote:
Hi guys,

I’m wondering if anyone thinks raises (both front, lateral and rear) are enough to build big and strong shoulders.

My goals are primarily athletic - I’m a rugby player so I want to be big and powerful so I value both hypertrophy and strength.

You hear a lot about overhead pressing being a vital component of any routine and plenty of guys who write articles on T Nation swear by it. However, Joe De Franco seems to think they’re completely unnecessary. I feel like I should be able to trust him because, as far as I’m aware, he is famous for being an strength coach for NFL players and the like, which would suit my goals.

Bearing in mind that my goals are athletic, are raises enough to build big AND strong shoulders? And will a lack of overhead pressing damage my shoulder mobility?

I’m thinking about including something like a few sets of Clay Hyght’s Delt Triad after 2 bench press variants on my “push” day.

What do you think?[/quote]

The overhead press is the best movement you can do for mass and strength in your shoulders. Raises alone won’t cut it. A standing press is one of the best movements an athlete like you can do.

Do both, the reason DeFranco doesn’t recommend overhead pressing for his athletes is because their shoulders are raised
over the head frequently in their sports.

He avoids it to avoid overuse injuries.

Yeah sure,

This is an example - I will do a different variation on all these exercises after a 2 or 3 week period…

Push day:
Bench press 5 x 5
Dumbbell incline bench press 5 x 10
Delt Triad x 3-5
Skull crushers 5 x 10

Pull day:
Hang high pulls 5 x 5
Barbell row 5 x 10
Reverse dumbbell flyes 5 x 10
Barbell curls 5 x 10

Legs:
Squat / deadlift 5 x 5
Romanian deadlifts 4 x 10
Low foot leg press (work up to a 5RM then drop set)

I do the push and pull twice a week and legs once a week (while the rugby season is still on)

Overhead press should be the staple for shoulder training. Especially for you as a rugby player, think about if your playing and you need to push someone out the way - you don’t do it standing directly standing up, like your benching them away, your normally at and angle leaning down. so you need a variety of chest and shoulder pushing power. Obviously a lot of that comes from other muscle group. But in my experience, shoulder press should definitely be used.

I’d like to have one chest day and one shoulder day a week but I’m worried that that won’t be enough frequency for either of them…

Would you recommend that, or could I swap bench press for overhead press in one push workout each week so that one push day is primarily for chest with some secondary shoulder work and the other push day is primarily for shoulders with some secondary chest work?

Like this:

Push 1:
Bench press 5 x 5
DB incline bench press 5 x 10
Delt Triad x 3-5
Skull crushers 5 x 10

Push 2:
Military press 5 x 5
Delt Triad x 3-5
DB bench press 5 x 10
Skull crushers 5 x 10

No problem with that set up then, feel free to do so. Just give as much or even more effort with your pull day than push, and you should not run into an issues.

However you might want to adopt a more powerlifter style bench if you haven’t already to keep your shoulders safe, (elbows tucked, shoulder blades pulled together and down, moderate to large arch, tear the bar apart ect) and do your dumbbell pressing with a neutral grip if your shoulders start to act up.

Don’t know if it’s much help to you but I find my shoulders feel best and are strongest when I jerk and/or push press, and they seem, in my limited experience, to have a good carry over… Do them out of a rack to conserve energy on uppers, or do them from a clean and chuck them in on leg day. The jerk uses a large amount of leg and ‘torso’ drive especially. If you stick to a push/pull/legs you get to hit shoulders at least twice a week with out sacrificing recovery. Clean also counts as a pull and leg, which can never be a bad thing. Just a thought.

You’ve all been seriously very helpful - I’m taking all of this on board!

Thankfully I’m one of those people who doesn’t have any kind of shoulder problems (touch wood) but I know that if I’m not careful that is liable to change!

My main concern is that training chest only once a week and shoulders only once a week isn’t enough… Do you think the two push days I outlined in my previous post will be enough to make sure my chest and shoulders continue to grow?

Can I ask what you gents do to fit a decent amount of chest and shoulder work into a week?

[quote]MileyV wrote:
I’m wondering if anyone thinks raises (both front, lateral and rear) are enough to build big and strong shoulders.[/quote]
Big, yes. Strong, no.

[quote]My goals are primarily athletic - I’m a rugby player so I want to be big and powerful so I value both hypertrophy and strength.

You hear a lot about overhead pressing being a vital component of any routine and plenty of guys who write articles on T Nation swear by it. However, Joe De Franco seems to think they’re completely unnecessary. I feel like I should be able to trust him because, as far as I’m aware, he is famous for being an strength coach for NFL players and the like, which would suit my goals.[/quote]
DeFranco is a top coach, no doubt about it. But the overwhelming majority of coaches do advocate overhead presses as a fundamental strength builder, especially for athletes.

I don’t see how that could happen, no.

This is totally not the kind of lifting plan I’d recommend in-season. It’s just too much on all fronts. It’s also not designed to make strength or athleticism the number one priority. What you’re doing is primarily set-up to focus on building size.

“Chest day” and “shoulder day”, again, indicate that your number one priority is muscle size. If that’s your deal, no problem at all, but it sounds like you’re saying/meaning one thing while doing another. If your concerned about the size of particular muscles (chest, shoulders, whatever), use the off-season to attack them. In-season is for playing games and maintaining strength levels.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
This is totally not the kind of lifting plan I’d recommend in-season. It’s just too much on all fronts. It’s also not designed to make strength or athleticism the number one priority. What you’re doing is primarily set-up to focus on building size.[/quote]

What would you recommend then??? It’s basically an upper/lower split (the WS4SB routine) but I’ve divided the upper body section into pushing and pulling because I couldn’t fit everything into my lunchtime gym sessions. How can splitting your workouts into push/pull/legs make it more geared towards hypertrophy? Are you saying I should do full-body workouts?

[quote]MileyV wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
This is totally not the kind of lifting plan I’d recommend in-season. It’s just too much on all fronts. It’s also not designed to make strength or athleticism the number one priority. What you’re doing is primarily set-up to focus on building size.[/quote]

What would you recommend then??? It’s basically an upper/lower split (the WS4SB routine)[/quote]
The “original” WS4SB is a 3-day split (upper, lower, upper) with one ME-type day, the leg day (which includes at least one unilateral exercise), and one higher rep day. Your training doesn’t resemble any of this.

The particular split isn’t why I’m saying it’s designed for muscle-building. It’s the exercise choices and, most significantly, the volume (sets/reps).

With in-season training, full-body or upper/lower splits are where it’s at. The priority is performing at 100% on game day and in practices, and doing just enough in the gym to maintain strength levels. Low volume training (10-15 total reps per exercise, so 3x3, 2x5, etc.) on the bare basics (with little to no “accessory” work) is the best route there.

As Chris has said, you’ve got a serious amount of volume considering you’re in season. You should really be in the weight room no more than 3 days a week. 5 x Delt Triad is way too much, especially to be followed up by 5x10 skullcrushers.

Regarding pressing exercise selection, I’d say every athlete should have some sort of standing press. A good alternative to a barbell overhead press would be the standing Landmine press. It’s somewhere between overhead press and bench press, and for rugby, it will give you that much needed forward torso angle that you might see in a stiff arm or scrum. I especially like it for people who have trouble with technique or pain during overhead lifts.

I’d have to say that most of my athletes need a bit of accessory work for weak points. That goes doubly so for taller, long limbed athletes. This may include some isolation work for the extremities (long limbs) or “core” (long torso) - two sets per muscle group is usually enough (ie, 2x10 skullcrushers or 2 sets of the Delt Triad).

Don’t try to make too much progress in the weightroom in season. Just get nasty at your sport and maintain strength and lean mass. If you’re losing mass, eat more, don’t do more exercise.

x2 on that Landmine suggest…my go to unilateral press behind one arm PP

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
The “original” WS4SB is a 3-day split (upper, lower, upper) with one ME-type day, the leg day (which includes at least one unilateral exercise), and one higher rep day. Your training doesn’t resemble any of this.[/quote]

My program is almost exactly that (and you’re supposed to be able to modify WS4SB anyway)! I just divide upper body into push and pull days because I have limited time for my workouts!

I’ve been training at quite high volume because I don’t want to wait until the off-season to gain some mass and I might not even have much of an off-season because of 7s in the summer.

Basically this season I’ve moved from playing Under 18s to Senior rugby and I feel like I’m still too skinny so I’m desperately trying to put on weight, so yes I have sort of been focusing on hypertrophy a bit more than I should. I was under the impression that WS4SB allows you to gain weight whilst in season but perhaps I was wrong.

Hopefully I’ll gain enough weight in the off-season that I won’t feel like I need to gain more throughout the season and I can just maintain it. With that in mind - is conjugated periodization a sensible way to go? Considering I’m not particularly strong either!

[quote]MileyV wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
The “original” WS4SB is a 3-day split (upper, lower, upper) with one ME-type day, the leg day (which includes at least one unilateral exercise), and one higher rep day. Your training doesn’t resemble any of this.[/quote]
My program is almost exactly that (and you’re supposed to be able to modify WS4SB anyway)![/quote]
Day 1
Heavy upper body lift 4-6x3-5
DB press variation 3-4x6-10
Row variation 4x10-15
Upper back 2-3x10-15
Weighted abs 3-4x10-15

Day 2
Heavy leg exercise 4-6x5
Unilateral leg exercise 3-4x8-15
Hamstring exercise 3-4x6-10
Grip 3x time

Day 3
Upper body press 3x max reps
Triceps exercise 3-4x5-10
Vertical pull 4x8-12
Shoulder exercise 3x10-15
Curl variation 3x8-10

What part of your current training resembles anything like that?

So yeah, no, sorry. Your program is very much not “almost exactly” like the original plan. Yes, DeFranco’s plan is open for some tweaks withing the existing template, but you’re doing an entirely different program that you created.