T Nation

Link Between Shoulders & Back Width

I’ve been lifting for a couple of years now and i have in the past been corrupted by the bro-science. one of the main things that i’ve heard in some of my old gyms is that doing pull ups will give you a wider back. i’m not in any sense trying to argue against this but from what i understand when i have heard people say this i get the feeling that they mean that they will get broader shoulders.

i understand that there is delt involvement in this movement, so yes, from this their shoulders will get wider but is there any other link between a wider back and wider shoulders? do the traps play any role in the broadness of our shoulders or does training the traps give us the yoke on our necks? Are the lats limited in the size to which they grow by the broadness of our shoulders?

thanks in advance…

You can not change your clavicle width. You can only make your medial delts grow, giving the illusion of a wider girdle. Lats have nothing to do with shoulders

You cannot make your shoulders any wider than they are, you can only make them appear wider. Shoulder width is determined by your skeletal structure and you are stuck with what you’ve got. I have narrow clavicles and thus narrow shoulders–a curse, yet I’m trying to make up for it by concentrating on building up size in my delts and lats.

Overdeveloped traps will pull up on your shoulders, making them appear even narrower, so someone like me has to be careful not to go overboard on traps. The potential size of your lats is certainly limited by skeletal structure, but it also has a lot to do with where your lats “insert”.

Some insert high and some low. The lower your lats insert, the larger you will be able to make them (because there is more initial mass to work with as a matter of genetics).

ok cheers guys. The width of my shoulders is roughly 19 inches measured from the furthermost portion of the medial delts. is 21 inches a reasonable goal for dealt growth? i currently have very very flat delts and i’m just wondering how much i can increase this by (granted i know its a question of genetics but i’m wondering more about whether it seams possible to add 2 inches to my current width).

i was thinking about upping the training to twice a week for delts. i realise this is a bit of a rookie question but i’m currently doing overhead presses for shoulders following wendlers 5/3/1 routine as my shoulders are really quite weak and we dont have weights light enough to do delt raises in my gym (30lbs is lowest), do you reccomend that i use the strength program for the first workout then a highter volume program for the second using cable stations etc?

Do sports like swimming have any effect on clavicle development, cause swimmers have very broad shoulders and it doesn’t look like delt hypertrophy?

[quote]Betzy wrote:
Do sports like swimming have any effect on clavicle development, cause swimmers have very broad shoulders and it doesn’t look like delt hypertrophy?[/quote]

I think that has more to do with how they weight next to nil, and the lack of any mass around their waist combined with protruding bones give the illusion of a wide clavicle.

Swimmers don’t have broad shoulders because they swim, they swim because they have naturally broad shoulders, it gives them a mechanical advantage. For example compare two swimmers with the same height, the one with more shoulder width has a natural advantage in swimming, thus making it more likely that he will be more successful in his sport.

That is why most top swimmers you see have really broad shoulders, because they were born with them.

[quote]lcsilva wrote:

Swimmers don’t have broad shoulders because they swim, they swim because they have naturally broad shoulders, it gives them a mechanical advantage. For example compare two swimmers with the same height, the one with more shoulder width has a natural advantage in swimming, thus making it more likely that he will be more successful in his sport.

That is why most top swimmers you see have really broad shoulders, because they were born with them.[/quote]

x2

[quote]sj89 wrote:
ok cheers guys. The width of my shoulders is roughly 19 inches measured from the furthermost portion of the medial delts. is 21 inches a reasonable goal for dealt growth? i currently have very very flat delts and i’m just wondering how much i can increase this by (granted i know its a question of genetics but i’m wondering more about whether it seams possible to add 2 inches to my current width).

i was thinking about upping the training to twice a week for delts. i realise this is a bit of a rookie question but i’m currently doing overhead presses for shoulders following wendlers 5/3/1 routine as my shoulders are really quite weak and we dont have weights light enough to do delt raises in my gym (30lbs is lowest), do you reccomend that i use the strength program for the first workout then a highter volume program for the second using cable stations etc?[/quote]

Cables are far superior than dumbells for side lateral raises.

cheers bonez, just tried the cable raises. they felt much better with regards to continuous tension and form and they seem to make me more concious of when i’m cheating as well