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Feedback About Back/Shoulder Specialization Routine


Hey there

i’m 17 and i’ve been training for about a year, with decent results (as others have pointed out in my previous thread as well) so far.

i’m currently doing a slow cut and i will be back to bulking in june.
by the time i get back to bulking, i would like to start working on some specific aspects of my physique in which i think i’m particularly lacking at the moment.

namely, those are shoulders and, to some extent, back.
my delts are pretty small, and my clavicles aren’t particularly widde (although not particularly narrow either), and i really want to achieve a broad-shouldered look as much as possible and more than anything else. to that regard, training the delts (especially the middle and rear) and my back (because of the v taper created by the lats and the postural benefits given by frequent pulling-based training) will do wonders in my opinion.

in this split i’ve tried to put together, i’ve given back and delts priority as far as frequency and volume go. i will post my thought process behind every workout below the split itself, together with my main concerns regarding it.

so here it is

A chest tri delts
B back bi
C legs middle delt
D back bi
E chest tri delts
F legs back bi

Incline Db press 6 6 8 10
Flat Bb press 3x6-8
Low to high cable fly 4x12
Seated Db OHP 8 8 10
Db lateral raises 4x10-12
Shoulder press machine 3x10
Rope Tricep pushdown 3x8-10
Overhead cable Tricep extension 3x10-12

Chin up 4x8-12
One arm Db row 3x8xarm
Wide grip cable row 3x8-10
Face pull 4x12
Standing cable curl 3x10-12
Rope curl 3x10-12

Leg press 12 10 8 6
Leg extension 3x10-12
Leg curl 4x8-12
Pull through 4x8-12
Leanaway Db lateral raises 15 12 8, 2x6 partials with heavy dbs
Db Scott press 3x8-12

T bar row 4x6-8
Front lat pull-down 3x8-12
Cable row 3x8-10
Face pull 4x12
Cable pull apart 4x10-12
Standing cable curl 3x10-12
Rope curl 3x10

Incline Db press 6 6 8 10
Low to high cable fly 3x12
Standard cable fly 3x12
Standing Db lateral raises 3x10-12
Seated Db OHP 8 8 10
Cable lateral raise 2x8
Rope pushdown 3x8-10
Overhead cable Tricep extension 3x10-12

Squat 4x5
Leg press 6 8 10 10
Leg curl 3x12
Pull through 3x10-12
Front lat machine 3x8-12
One arm Db row 3x8xarm
Wide grip cable row 3x8-12
Face pulls 4x8-12
Standing cable curl 3x10-12

  • the logic

so as you can see this is an 8 day split.
since most of us agree that frequency is one of the most important factors to take into account if we want to give a specific muscle group priority, i’ve decided to train back 3 times a week, together with delts (the front gets worked twice weekly, whereas the other two heads thrice per week)

i’ve split the volume so that i can work those muscles with a decent intensity and not end up burning them out session after session

if you do the math, you will quickly see that it’s 30ish weekly sets for back, and just about the same number for shoulders. the other muscles have a slightly lesser volume to accommodate for the increased overload on those prioritized muscles.

on workout A, it’s chest, tris, and delts. i start off with chest before moving on to shoulders. there i perform 3 sets of ohp with relatively heavy weight, followed by lateral raises done with db, one arm at the time, bent over at a slightly 30ish° angle and a slight bent in my elbows. those are done without cheating and with a relatively slow tempo. after that, i move on to machine shoulder press and really focus on feeling the muscle burn, with slow eccentrics

workout B is mainly focused on lats and vertical pulling. wide grip rows and face pulls are meant to work the rear delts more than the other muscles

on workout C after legs, i hit the middle delts with lean-away laterals, followed by 2 sets of partials with heavy dbs. after that, i will do 3 sets of scott press, an exercise i found on a t-nation article which i’ve found to be really effective for hitting the side delt

workout D is mainly about rhomboids and horizontal pulling.

on workout E, i don’t do as much horizontal pressing to avoid too much stress on the delts, which already get worked a lot by themselves. so my pecs get worked mainly with flying movements.
this time i will do laterals first, and then move onto ohp to pre-fatigue the middle delts.
after that, 2 sets of cable laterals with focus on the strecthed portion (so i will let my arm come all the way across my body)

on workout F, i work back with slightly less volume and intensity because it will get worked again in 2 days

  • concerns

my main concern is that back and delts will actually get overtrained and will not grow. on the paper, this program looks kinda good to me, but i haven’t got enough experience to tell if all that volume is too much and if workouts are spaced enough one from the other.

i would like to know if splitting the volume across so many different workouts could lead me to not really working the muscle every time, thus wasting time not really training.

any feedback is really welcome guys


Just realized I posted this in the wrong section. If an admin could move this to bigger stronger leaner I would appreciate this… Thanks


No. Just no.

You are over analysing your upper body and treating your legs as an after thought.

Everything you wrote screams beginner. Start simple.

Frequency is not the main factor. You are missing pieces when saying that. Look up frequency vs volume.

Both CT and Jim W talk about it.

But just no to that wall of crit.


I will look up what you said about frequency vs volume

Aside from that, could you please elaborate on what’s wrong with the routine? I’m in no way challenging what you said (in fact I was prepared for negative feedback), I just truly want to learn

Thank you



You need in the trench experience.

This is not a specialized routine. This is a pur volume mish mash.

Look up Waterbury for his routines. Anything by Dan John. CT has some good programming ideas. WS4SB might be a good start if you want to be more sport oriented.

Just get a goal and pick a program by someone way smarter then you and be consistent. You don’t need specialized anything. You need all body balanced program.


[quote]decent results (as others have pointed out in my previous thread as well) so far.

i’m currently doing a slow cut[/quote]
Most people in that thread also suggested against cutting. But hey, what do they know.

No, you want to keep working on what you still think you’re lacking - shoulders - instead of what you actually need - legs. Because squats are hard and lateral raises are easy.

The last thing you need right now is a shoulder specialization routine. The second to last thing you need right now is any kind of specialization routine. The third to last thing you need right now is a poorly designed specialization routine like you laid out. Without going into detail, I’ll just point out that if something is “specialized”, other bodyparts are de-emphasized. Nothing in the routine your wrote is significantly de-emphasized, therefore nothing is the priority.

Here’s the thing though: Since the advice last thread didn’t sink it, I’ll suggest you actually do the routine you wrote. Follow it for 8 weeks without missing a workout, eat ample protein, carbs, and healthy fats, and take progress pics the first week of May to show how it went.


Every aspect of a training plan should have a point to it. A specific reason for including it. Your plan contains a lot of redundant movements. It looks like you’re adding stuff for the sake of adding stuff.

I agree that you should follow a plan written by someone else. That said, I also get wanting to write your own plan. Look at established plans and work from there. Use them as a template.


What your height, weight, and max overhead press and deadlift?


Again. No. Just no.

You don’t use a pen and paper with someone else’s template.

You do the damn template, in the gym, as is and learn.

The one thing about the above is throwing a bunch of exercises and seeing what sticks with no basic concepts. Recipe for disaster.


The thing with high frequency training when you want to hit one or two muscles is you really want to do the same number of sets you would normally do in one workout just spread out over the week. So you only want to do 15-25 sets for the week on back. Personally if you really wanted to workout back more just do one of these everyday for 3-4 weeks.

75-100 Band Pull Aparts
2-3 Sets of Blackburns Holds
3-4 Sets of 8-12 Reps Face Pulls

I used to be super into high frequency and for the longest time I always trashed myself because the volume seemed so little. It wasn’t tell I realized how little you have to do to grow with it.

Also when you do pressing or pulling you work your shoulders. They dont just shut off. You hit your shoulders alot in every single one of your workouts. So yeah dont do that.


I think just following a template as-is because you’re told to follow a template as-is, and not understanding why a template works, leads to programs like this monstrosity. A bunch of stuff thrown together with no clear reasons why.

I agree that he SHOULD follow a proven template without making changes. If he is hell bent on writing his own, he should understand how.

While I’m not advocating he write his own, he, and all of us should at least understand why we’re following ________ program.


first of all thank you for your reply.

  1. i know most people on the other thread suggested i don’t cut just yet–but they also said that, depending on my goals, if i currently want to shed some fat for the summer, it won’t hurt me in the long run to do it. we’re only talking about a couple of months after all and i’ve noticed i haven’t been losing any muscle or much strength at all so far, and if i ever happen to, i will adjust my calories accordingly.
    also the first time i bulked (this fall and winter) i didn’t really do a good job (it was a very dirty bulk and i probably got up to 18% body fat) and starting a slow bulk in june will lead to better results if i start relatively lean IMO

  2. while i may not be really lagging in shoulders, again back to goals, bigger delts are something i’m really after aesthetically, so that’s why i want to have them as a priority.
    no, i’m not leaving legs behind. as a matter of fact, i was focusing on my squats quite a lot while i was bulking, and i got up to 220 lbs for 4 sets of 5 going beyond parallel (i’ve been complimented a lot by experienced lifters about my squat technique–i’ve got a video of me squatting 92 kg if by any means you’re interested in taking a look) in just a couple of months.

and btw, i found lateral raises way more painful than squats.
i have to admit traing legs is not as fun as training the upper body, tho

3… i got what you said about de-emphasizing other body parts, thank you for your feedback

i’m 5’ 10’’, 160 lbs.
my deadlift used to be 240 lbsx4x5 before i dropped deadlifts altogether because the movement really didn’t feel right to me (i should probably just man up and start doing them again)
my ohp kept stalling so i dropped it because i just couldn’t feel my delts working, so that i could favor other exercises. it was something terrible like 100 lbsx4x5

thank you for the advice. is there any equivalent of those mini-additions you would suggest if i wanted to add some frequency to my shoulders (in particular the middle delt)?


I know what you are saying, but anybody asking advice on a self written program should not write a program. Rule of thumb.

You start with the basic templates, follow for a minimum of 2-4 months and learn. Period. Nothing bad will come out of doing SS for 4 months to the letter. Nothing. Not for you? Pick another by an accomplish trainer and repeat. You like it and it produces results? Stick to it. You change everything and complain it didn’t work for you? You are an idiot, see template rule of thumb.

Sorry, not rocket surgery.


@Chris_Colucci you just got another nickel…


I was going to say “it isn’t rocket surgery” too!


@JFG Just wanted to say you’ve been droppin’ gems of knowledge all over this forum lately! Thank you!


Any more increase with the “mini additions” you will have to take out a pressing movement. Which I would recommend. There are just too much pressing movements.


Fighting urge too add my two cents into this thread…


Then why bother posting at all?


First watch yourself son… Im more than old enough to be your father .
Second I dont think you honestly want anyone’s opinion.