T Nation

Favorite Shoulder Builders?


#1

Hi CT, what are your favorite exercises to build some big 3-D looking shoulders? Ever since I started implementing olympic lifts my traps definitely blew up a ton but I have very narrow clavicles. Any exercises/tips you recommend for me to bring up my shoulder size? Currently my shoulder exercises are:
Push Press- 4x4-6
Seated Laterals- 3x8-12
Rear Delts- 3x8-12


#2

[quote]jy6537 wrote:
Hi CT, what are your favorite exercises to build some big 3-D looking shoulders? Ever since I started implementing olympic lifts my traps definitely blew up a ton but I have very narrow clavicles. Any exercises/tips you recommend for me to bring up my shoulder size? Currently my shoulder exercises are:
Push Press- 4x4-6
Seated Laterals- 3x8-12
Rear Delts- 3x8-12
[/quote]

A properly done push press covers all your shoulder-building needs… an improperly done will build mostly front delts with little lateral delt stimulation and no rear delts grow.

What do I mean by properly done? The barbell moves in a fairly straight line up from the shoulders to above the head, but then in a backward arc to finish behind the ears at the top.

I sometimes do “full lateral raises” (laterals where the DBs end up touching each other over the head) but these are mostly for shoulder rangoe of motion development. If you can’t grow super delts with push presses you simply do not know how to do that movement the right way.

Furthermore if you do olympic lifts and high pulls, the rear delts should get plenty of stimulation.

So my recommendations are:

  1. Learn to do a push press properly, finishing with the bar behind the ears and the head/chest pushed forward
    2)Dump the garbage sets (raises) and replace it by more push ressing

#3

CT–just out of curiosity, what do you think of Klokov’s presses [behind neck overhead press with a snatch grip] for shoulder development?


#4

[quote]germanicus wrote:
CT–just out of curiosity, what do you think of Klokov’s presses [behind neck overhead press with a snatch grip] for shoulder development?[/quote]

I don’t see it as a great shoulder-builder, but more as a good exercise to get stronger catching a snatch and learning how to externally rotate the shoulders when the bar is overhead.

I used it with hockey players this summer, but mostly as an introduction to the positions of the snatch.


#5

CT–sounds reasonable–thanks.


#6

CT, what about strict OP? Should it be viewed more as assistance and the focus on Push Press when it comes to chasing increased numbers/performance? Or the other way around?


#7

[quote]Waittz wrote:
CT, what about strict OP? Should it be viewed more as assistance and the focus on Push Press when it comes to chasing increased numbers/performance? Or the other way around?[/quote]

I see the strict press as an inferior movement versus the push press. In the push press you should be able to use a significantly heavier load, putting more tension on the shoulders (and other muscle groups). In terms of performance there is no comparison. In terms of only building muscle tissue, a case could be made for strict pressing AND for push pressing. So if someone only cares about improving his look and not on being able to perform as well, the strict press can be a good main exercise.

There is also the fact that not many people can do a proper push press. Most basically use the body to throw the barbell upward, but in a forward arc (bar ending in front of face) which basically does nothing for you. When they dip down they either let their torso tilt forward or their hips move forward which also lead to pressing the barbell forward (avoiding the most important position of the push press: the overhead position).

In a proper push press when you dip down the torso and hips should move down in a fairly straight line (if you have long legs you should push your knees out when dipping down). And when you press up, at the moment the barbell leaves the shoulders you should be on your toes and the chest rolled up toward the ceiling (to press in a slight backward angle).

Then when you lock the barbell overhead, the bar should be behind the ears, not directly above the head with the head/chest pushed forward and the hips slightly back.

To me, the strict press is not a great assistance lift for the push press as it doesn’t teach the same movement pattern. That having been said I do not see the push press as a great assistance exercise for the military press either. They are different lifts.


#8

I’m in agreement with Ct on the push press, just thought I’d throw the shoulder workout we’ve been having really good luck with, based around the standing press, and push press. We do 12 sets total, with the 5th, and 6th set being the heaviest for the day. Lets say your workingh with 5s, you ramp up over 5 sets to your heaviest set of 3-5, in between each set we do facepulls 10-20 ( really slow and strict) Once we’ve reached the heaviest set drop 10% and do another hard set of 4-6. Now the fun part set the weight to 60% of 1RM and do 5 sets, supersetted with side latterals 10-20. These are done at a fast pace, the first set of push press get 10, than 9, than 8, than7, than 6, remember your doing laterals between every set of push press. For the latterals I like just using 25s, and getting 20 perfect reps.

This whole workout takes around 30mins, and we’ve been using it since Jan. with awesome results, both in strength, and size. The key is to not work to hard on the facepulls (just get blood in) in the first half of the workout, you take your time between sets on the way up, saving your strength for the top two sets. Than go crazy for the last 5 supersets, you should be winded.

This is just what we’ve been doing, just 3 exercises worked brutaly hard, with priority, and volume on the main exercise. Goodluck


#9

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
CT, what about strict OP? Should it be viewed more as assistance and the focus on Push Press when it comes to chasing increased numbers/performance? Or the other way around?[/quote]

I see the strict press as an inferior movement versus the push press. In the push press you should be able to use a significantly heavier load, putting more tension on the shoulders (and other muscle groups). In terms of performance there is no comparison. In terms of only building muscle tissue, a case could be made for strict pressing AND for push pressing. So if someone only cares about improving his look and not on being able to perform as well, the strict press can be a good main exercise.

There is also the fact that not many people can do a proper push press. Most basically use the body to throw the barbell upward, but in a forward arc (bar ending in front of face) which basically does nothing for you. When they dip down they either let their torso tilt forward or their hips move forward which also lead to pressing the barbell forward (avoiding the most important position of the push press: the overhead position).

In a proper push press when you dip down the torso and hips should move down in a fairly straight line (if you have long legs you should push your knees out when dipping down). And when you press up, at the moment the barbell leaves the shoulders you should be on your toes and the chest rolled up toward the ceiling (to press in a slight backward angle).

Then when you lock the barbell overhead, the bar should be behind the ears, not directly above the head with the head/chest pushed forward and the hips slightly back.

To me, the strict press is not a great assistance lift for the push press as it doesn’t teach the same movement pattern. That having been said I do not see the push press as a great assistance exercise for the military press either. They are different lifts. [/quote]

This was extremely helpful and very much enjoyable to read. Thanks CT.


#10

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
CT, what about strict OP? Should it be viewed more as assistance and the focus on Push Press when it comes to chasing increased numbers/performance? Or the other way around?[/quote]

I see the strict press as an inferior movement versus the push press. In the push press you should be able to use a significantly heavier load, putting more tension on the shoulders (and other muscle groups). In terms of performance there is no comparison. In terms of only building muscle tissue, a case could be made for strict pressing AND for push pressing. So if someone only cares about improving his look and not on being able to perform as well, the strict press can be a good main exercise.

There is also the fact that not many people can do a proper push press. Most basically use the body to throw the barbell upward, but in a forward arc (bar ending in front of face) which basically does nothing for you. When they dip down they either let their torso tilt forward or their hips move forward which also lead to pressing the barbell forward (avoiding the most important position of the push press: the overhead position).

In a proper push press when you dip down the torso and hips should move down in a fairly straight line (if you have long legs you should push your knees out when dipping down). And when you press up, at the moment the barbell leaves the shoulders you should be on your toes and the chest rolled up toward the ceiling (to press in a slight backward angle).

Then when you lock the barbell overhead, the bar should be behind the ears, not directly above the head with the head/chest pushed forward and the hips slightly back.

To me, the strict press is not a great assistance lift for the push press as it doesn’t teach the same movement pattern. That having been said I do not see the push press as a great assistance exercise for the military press either. They are different lifts. [/quote]

What would you consider good assistance lifts for the push press and strict press respectively since you feel those don’t corrlelate that closely to each other when performed in that manner?


#11

[quote]Rush88 wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
CT, what about strict OP? Should it be viewed more as assistance and the focus on Push Press when it comes to chasing increased numbers/performance? Or the other way around?[/quote]

I see the strict press as an inferior movement versus the push press. In the push press you should be able to use a significantly heavier load, putting more tension on the shoulders (and other muscle groups). In terms of performance there is no comparison. In terms of only building muscle tissue, a case could be made for strict pressing AND for push pressing. So if someone only cares about improving his look and not on being able to perform as well, the strict press can be a good main exercise.

There is also the fact that not many people can do a proper push press. Most basically use the body to throw the barbell upward, but in a forward arc (bar ending in front of face) which basically does nothing for you. When they dip down they either let their torso tilt forward or their hips move forward which also lead to pressing the barbell forward (avoiding the most important position of the push press: the overhead position).

In a proper push press when you dip down the torso and hips should move down in a fairly straight line (if you have long legs you should push your knees out when dipping down). And when you press up, at the moment the barbell leaves the shoulders you should be on your toes and the chest rolled up toward the ceiling (to press in a slight backward angle).

Then when you lock the barbell overhead, the bar should be behind the ears, not directly above the head with the head/chest pushed forward and the hips slightly back.

To me, the strict press is not a great assistance lift for the push press as it doesn’t teach the same movement pattern. That having been said I do not see the push press as a great assistance exercise for the military press either. They are different lifts. [/quote]

What would you consider good assistance lifts for the push press and strict press respectively since you feel those don’t corrlelate that closely to each other when performed in that manner?[/quote]

My favorite assistance exercise is … doing more work on the main exercise.

I’ve always had my fastest progress in push press numbers when I push pressed more often and had the best progress in strict overhead press when I practiced the strict press more.


#12

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Rush88 wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
CT, what about strict OP? Should it be viewed more as assistance and the focus on Push Press when it comes to chasing increased numbers/performance? Or the other way around?[/quote]

I see the strict press as an inferior movement versus the push press. In the push press you should be able to use a significantly heavier load, putting more tension on the shoulders (and other muscle groups). In terms of performance there is no comparison. In terms of only building muscle tissue, a case could be made for strict pressing AND for push pressing. So if someone only cares about improving his look and not on being able to perform as well, the strict press can be a good main exercise.

There is also the fact that not many people can do a proper push press. Most basically use the body to throw the barbell upward, but in a forward arc (bar ending in front of face) which basically does nothing for you. When they dip down they either let their torso tilt forward or their hips move forward which also lead to pressing the barbell forward (avoiding the most important position of the push press: the overhead position).

In a proper push press when you dip down the torso and hips should move down in a fairly straight line (if you have long legs you should push your knees out when dipping down). And when you press up, at the moment the barbell leaves the shoulders you should be on your toes and the chest rolled up toward the ceiling (to press in a slight backward angle).

Then when you lock the barbell overhead, the bar should be behind the ears, not directly above the head with the head/chest pushed forward and the hips slightly back.

To me, the strict press is not a great assistance lift for the push press as it doesn’t teach the same movement pattern. That having been said I do not see the push press as a great assistance exercise for the military press either. They are different lifts. [/quote]

What would you consider good assistance lifts for the push press and strict press respectively since you feel those don’t corrlelate that closely to each other when performed in that manner?[/quote]

My favorite assistance exercise is … doing more work on the main exercise.

I’ve always had my fastest progress in push press numbers when I push pressed more often and had the best progress in strict overhead press when I practiced the strict press more.

[/quote]

Makes sense, I asked because I was always under the impression that the two lifts kind of ran parallel to each other. In a way they do its not you should be able to push press more than you strict press and if you can strict press a certain weight you’ll be able to push press it, the difference will lie in your timing and execution of the lift. I never looked at them in the way you described as far as the purposes of each though.

Nice thread especially since I do want to increase my overhead numbers with this upcoming 10 day cycle and after more than likely using a combination of hdl methods and strength layers.


#13

[quote]Rush88 wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Rush88 wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
CT, what about strict OP? Should it be viewed more as assistance and the focus on Push Press when it comes to chasing increased numbers/performance? Or the other way around?[/quote]

I see the strict press as an inferior movement versus the push press. In the push press you should be able to use a significantly heavier load, putting more tension on the shoulders (and other muscle groups). In terms of performance there is no comparison. In terms of only building muscle tissue, a case could be made for strict pressing AND for push pressing. So if someone only cares about improving his look and not on being able to perform as well, the strict press can be a good main exercise.

There is also the fact that not many people can do a proper push press. Most basically use the body to throw the barbell upward, but in a forward arc (bar ending in front of face) which basically does nothing for you. When they dip down they either let their torso tilt forward or their hips move forward which also lead to pressing the barbell forward (avoiding the most important position of the push press: the overhead position).

In a proper push press when you dip down the torso and hips should move down in a fairly straight line (if you have long legs you should push your knees out when dipping down). And when you press up, at the moment the barbell leaves the shoulders you should be on your toes and the chest rolled up toward the ceiling (to press in a slight backward angle).

Then when you lock the barbell overhead, the bar should be behind the ears, not directly above the head with the head/chest pushed forward and the hips slightly back.

To me, the strict press is not a great assistance lift for the push press as it doesn’t teach the same movement pattern. That having been said I do not see the push press as a great assistance exercise for the military press either. They are different lifts. [/quote]

What would you consider good assistance lifts for the push press and strict press respectively since you feel those don’t corrlelate that closely to each other when performed in that manner?[/quote]

My favorite assistance exercise is … doing more work on the main exercise.

I’ve always had my fastest progress in push press numbers when I push pressed more often and had the best progress in strict overhead press when I practiced the strict press more.

[/quote]

Makes sense, I asked because I was always under the impression that the two lifts kind of ran parallel to each other. In a way they do its not you should be able to push press more than you strict press and if you can strict press a certain weight you’ll be able to push press it, the difference will lie in your timing and execution of the lift. I never looked at them in the way you described as far as the purposes of each though.

Nice thread especially since I do want to increase my overhead numbers with this upcoming 10 day cycle and after more than likely using a combination of hdl methods and strength layers.[/quote]

Well, if you see the push press as a slightly cheated strict press, then yes both are similar. But I’ve never seen anybody put up big push press numbers thinking this way. The push press is a lot more than a military press in which you use a little momentum to get the bar started. If done right it is a fairly technical lift that has a different recruitment pattern than a military press.

Normally those who see the push press like a cheated military press might push press 20-30lbs more than they can strict press whereas I’ve seen several people with good push press technique, push press 100lbs or more than they can strict press. For example all of the hockey players that I train push press between 70 and 130lbs more than they can strict press (that last one is not a typo).


#14

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Normally those who see the push press like a cheated military press might push press 20-30lbs more than they can strict press whereas I’ve seen several people with good push press technique, push press 100lbs or more than they can strict press. For example all of the hockey players that I train push press between 70 and 130lbs more than they can strict press (that last one is not a typo).
[/quote]

Wow! I guess I really need to work on my technique then… my best Strict Military Press is 80kg and Push Press is floating around 105-110kg. I need to work on my leg drive more… I have a very shallow dip/knee bend. I will try your positional strength layer using the Double Pause Push Press to target this weakness.


#15

[quote]Ricochet wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Normally those who see the push press like a cheated military press might push press 20-30lbs more than they can strict press whereas I’ve seen several people with good push press technique, push press 100lbs or more than they can strict press. For example all of the hockey players that I train push press between 70 and 130lbs more than they can strict press (that last one is not a typo).
[/quote]

Wow! I guess I really need to work on my technique then… my best Strict Military Press is 80kg and Push Press is floating around 105-110kg. I need to work on my leg drive more… I have a very shallow dip/knee bend. I will try your positional strength layer using the Double Pause Push Press to target this weakness.[/quote]

A shallow drive is fine. More explosive individuals tend to do better with a shallow drive. I would think that your timing is a bit off and that you are not throwing the chest to the ceiling enough.

That having been said a 25-30kg is in the acceptable range.


#16

I have to say in the overhead position that ct describe… in which the bar is overhead behind your eyes … totally feel my rear deltoids light up … by the end of the push press workout my entire shoulder area wasn’t pumped but felt solid … the next day my upper back was completely sore


#17

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Ricochet wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Normally those who see the push press like a cheated military press might push press 20-30lbs more than they can strict press whereas I’ve seen several people with good push press technique, push press 100lbs or more than they can strict press. For example all of the hockey players that I train push press between 70 and 130lbs more than they can strict press (that last one is not a typo).
[/quote]

Wow! I guess I really need to work on my technique then… my best Strict Military Press is 80kg and Push Press is floating around 105-110kg. I need to work on my leg drive more… I have a very shallow dip/knee bend. I will try your positional strength layer using the Double Pause Push Press to target this weakness.[/quote]

A shallow drive is fine. More explosive individuals tend to do better with a shallow drive. I would think that your timing is a bit off and that you are not throwing the chest to the ceiling enough.

That having been said a 25-30kg is in the acceptable range.[/quote]

That “throwing the chest to the ceiling” cue just might be my problem… I must have missed that tip before. I am definitely not doing that. Thanks!


#18

That “throwing the chest to the ceiling” cue just might be my problem… I must have missed that tip before. I am definitely not doing that.

These little but great bits of Info that CT tells us about are golden.They make you realize that just a small tweak to a movement can make you have that ah ha moment and able to perform the the exercise the right way.


#19

[quote]concepthenry wrote:
I have to say in the overhead position that ct describe… in which the bar is overhead behind your eyes … totally feel my rear deltoids light up … by the end of the push press workout my entire shoulder area wasn’t pumped but felt solid … the next day my upper back was completely sore[/quote]

Behind the ears, not eyes


#20

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]concepthenry wrote:
I have to say in the overhead position that ct describe… in which the bar is overhead behind your eyes … totally feel my rear deltoids light up … by the end of the push press workout my entire shoulder area wasn’t pumped but felt solid … the next day my upper back was completely sore[/quote]

Behind the ears, not eyes[/quote]

whoops … meant to write ears … sorry