T Nation

Poliquin's Theory on Shoulders

Poliquin along with Craig Titues are both big advocates of high rep(10-12) work for shoulder size. Thoughts on this?

My shoulders always feel a bit more ‘worked’ when I do high reps. I think if you’re doing (forgive my ignorance here as I don’t know the technical name) side raises or front raises, for example, you should go for higher reps. If you’re doing presses though, I think you should stick with the rep scheme you normally use for chest etc.

The delts are much like the quads in that they respond well to a wide variety of loading parameters. Personally, I feel that people get all the variety they need from their benching, rows, and pullups/downs. There really isn’t any need to do overhead pressing, especially when you consider that it gives a lot of people trouble. A few sets of lateral raises is much safer on the shoulders and can hit the middle head sufficiently.

EC,

what about people like myself that were put together funny in the first place, then slammed our shoulders into other guys for a few years, and then decided to slam our shoulders into snow covered mountains to finish them off? i have only obtained appreciable results from direct overhead pressing movements. i have not nailed the rep range / intensity yet, but none of those other movements seem to do sh!t for me.

thanks,
BFG

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
The delts are much like the quads in that they respond well to a wide variety of loading parameters. Personally, I feel that people get all the variety they need from their benching, rows, and pullups/downs. There really isn’t any need to do overhead pressing, especially when you consider that it gives a lot of people trouble. A few sets of lateral raises is much safer on the shoulders and can hit the middle head sufficiently.[/quote]

I’d say that the best thing you could do is leave 'em alone for a bit and watch them grow!

If they aren’t responding to what you’re doing, you’ve got nothing to lose - especially if your taters are hurting.

[quote]BFG wrote:
EC,

what about people like myself that were put together funny in the first place, then slammed our shoulders into other guys for a few years, and then decided to slam our shoulders into snow covered mountains to finish them off? i have only obtained appreciable results from direct overhead pressing movements. i have not nailed the rep range / intensity yet, but none of those other movements seem to do sh!t for me.

thanks,
BFG

Eric Cressey wrote:
The delts are much like the quads in that they respond well to a wide variety of loading parameters. Personally, I feel that people get all the variety they need from their benching, rows, and pullups/downs. There really isn’t any need to do overhead pressing, especially when you consider that it gives a lot of people trouble. A few sets of lateral raises is much safer on the shoulders and can hit the middle head sufficiently.[/quote]

would you be able to give us a quick run down on why there is no such thing as a medial delt?

Man, is that tongue in cheek or what? :slight_smile:

Medial = toward the midline. There’s nothing medial about the middle delt; it’s actually the most lateral of them all!

[quote]bigpump23 wrote:
would you be able to give us a quick run down on why there is no such thing as a medial delt?[/quote]

And, delts are not the three headed monster from plantet X we’ve been lead to believe. It’s closer to 7, if I recall correctly. Dang near as multipennate as the NY Yankees. (Throw tomatoes now, please)

On the direct stimulation issue, I think EC is generally correct, but this cannot be a blanket comment. And with EC, I’m sure it’s not. I had the best gains from overhead pressing.

And I do like my pressing to be in the 3-8 rep range and for my medial raises (had to man, just had to), front raises and posterior work, I like 10-25.

You must try both ways and see if direct delt stimulation is needed. Many coaches espouse no direct arm work either, but I found that this too was mistaken. When I train my back and chest… well my back and chest grow and all else maintains. To get growth I must apply direct training.

Name of the game, there are very few hard and fast answers. And I have actually grown to like that. It’s like what the old timers used to say: It’s as much an art as it is a science.

Best,
DH

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
Man, is that tongue in cheek or what? :slight_smile:

Medial = toward the midline. There’s nothing medial about the middle delt; it’s actually the most lateral of them all!

bigpump23 wrote:
would you be able to give us a quick run down on why there is no such thing as a medial delt?

[/quote]

Well I really likes me some side lateral raises. Hits both them muscles real good.

DH

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
Man, is that tongue in cheek or what? :slight_smile:

Medial = toward the midline. There’s nothing medial about the middle delt; it’s actually the most lateral of them all!

bigpump23 wrote:
would you be able to give us a quick run down on why there is no such thing as a medial delt?

[/quote]

My assumption was that the delt was one muscle and while you can emphasize, front/side/rear you can never truely isolate one from the other. On cue with what you said Disc I found my best gains from OHPing in the 3-5 rep range and I like to change my reps up for the “side” delts. First exercise is about 6 and under then the rest are around the 10 rep range. Yes I agree direct arm work is a must for ashetic reason

[quote]Disc Hoss wrote:
And, delts are not the three headed monster from plantet X we’ve been lead to believe. It’s closer to 7, if I recall correctly. Dang near as multipennate as the NY Yankees. (Throw tomatoes now, please)

On the direct stimulation issue, I think EC is generally correct, but this cannot be a blanket comment. And with EC, I’m sure it’s not. I had the best gains from overhead pressing.

And I do like my pressing to be in the 3-8 rep range and for my medial raises (had to man, just had to), front raises and posterior work, I like 10-25.

You must try both ways and see if direct delt stimulation is needed. Many coaches espouse no direct arm work either, but I found that this too was mistaken. When I train my back and chest… well my back and chest grow and all else maintains. To get growth I must apply direct training.

Name of the game, there are very few hard and fast answers. And I have actually grown to like that. It’s like what the old timers used to say: It’s as much an art as it is a science.

Best,
DH

Eric Cressey wrote:
Man, is that tongue in cheek or what? :slight_smile:

Medial = toward the midline. There’s nothing medial about the middle delt; it’s actually the most lateral of them all!

bigpump23 wrote:
would you be able to give us a quick run down on why there is no such thing as a medial delt?

[/quote]

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
The delts are much like the quads in that they respond well to a wide variety of loading parameters. Personally, I feel that people get all the variety they need from their benching, rows, and pullups/downs. There really isn’t any need to do overhead pressing, especially when you consider that it gives a lot of people trouble. A few sets of lateral raises is much safer on the shoulders and can hit the middle head sufficiently.[/quote]

And what do you suggest to lifters with lagging shoulder that have already avoided direct shoulder work? Are lateral raises sufficient or should we then start overhead pressing?

EC, what’s your opinion of upright rows with either d-bell or b-bell? My shoulder work lately has consisted of only two movements…military pressing and upright rows using the b-bell.

Over spring break I had to wing some form of lifting with my kettlebell and a few weight plates. I did a single shoulder workout where I used 90% max and did 6 reps of 1 arm shoulder presses, switched arms, rested, then did one less rep on down to single rep sets. I ended up doing a burnout workout because I could only work my shoulders, so I did another 3 sets of 6 or so. That was the only workout I did that week, and when I came back to school, a girl commented that my shoulders were noticably bigger. But I generally respond best to high intensity/high volume anyway.

[quote]gottatrain wrote:
EC, what’s your opinion of upright rows with either d-bell or b-bell? My shoulder work lately has consisted of only two movements…military pressing and upright rows using the b-bell.[/quote]

I’m not EC but he covers UR rows in Debunking exercise myths part 2. If your shoulder workout is just pressing and UR rows why not throw in a few forms of side/rear delt work? whats keeping you from them?

[quote]Jones wrote:
Eric Cressey wrote:
The delts are much like the quads in that they respond well to a wide variety of loading parameters. Personally, I feel that people get all the variety they need from their benching, rows, and pullups/downs. There really isn’t any need to do overhead pressing, especially when you consider that it gives a lot of people trouble. A few sets of lateral raises is much safer on the shoulders and can hit the middle head sufficiently.

And what do you suggest to lifters with lagging shoulder that have already avoided direct shoulder work? Are lateral raises sufficient or should we then start overhead pressing?
[/quote]

Again Not EC but I think it depends on your chest workout. If you doing multiple sets of heavy barbell work then you probably would be best served to do a few sets of OHp but don’t go overboard with it. Lateral raises are where it’s at, theres so many variations possible heavy sets, light sets, lying laterals, the list goes on and on. So to answer your Q I’d say try it, add 3-4 sets of OHP in and a few more sets of lateral raises

Well, as long as your shoulders are healthy enough to take it, overhead pressing is fine. You just have to markedly scale down the volume on your benching work. I’d definitely include lateral raise variations as well.

[quote]Jones wrote:
Eric Cressey wrote:
The delts are much like the quads in that they respond well to a wide variety of loading parameters. Personally, I feel that people get all the variety they need from their benching, rows, and pullups/downs. There really isn’t any need to do overhead pressing, especially when you consider that it gives a lot of people trouble. A few sets of lateral raises is much safer on the shoulders and can hit the middle head sufficiently.

And what do you suggest to lifters with lagging shoulder that have already avoided direct shoulder work? Are lateral raises sufficient or should we then start overhead pressing?
[/quote]

As noted below, I’m not a fan of barbell upright rows at all. The DB version isn’t as bad, though.

[quote]gottatrain wrote:
EC, what’s your opinion of upright rows with either d-bell or b-bell? My shoulder work lately has consisted of only two movements…military pressing and upright rows using the b-bell.[/quote]

EC, What about shoulder rehab for someone who has had a shoulder seperation and is at 85% of full recovery? Trigger points in the subclavius, rhomboids and shooting pain during heavy lateral raises and shrugs. Intermittent very mild pain in the front of the shoulder. All compound movements are okay.

I personally like the DB upright rows better just because they don’t hurt my wrists like their BB counterparts. Also I found that without direct stimulation via lateral raises, the medial section of my delts don’t grow for shit.

Well, I think the first thing to consider is what got you to 85%. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke!

By “shoulder separation,” I’m assuming that you are referring to the AC joint. This is a very tricky problem, as the AC joint is much different than the glenohumeral joint. The GH joint is a mix of ligamentous and muscular restraints, whereas the AC joint is almost exclusively ligamentous in nature. If you have laxity, you’re stuck with it unless you’re willing to have surgery to tighten things up.

I would certainly avoid problematic exercises. It sounds like anything that elevates the scapula is irritating that AC joint, so you’d be best working with scapular depression stuff (e.g. face pulls, scapular wall-slides) and other exercises that keep the arms below 90-degrees of flexion/abduction (for now, at least).

[quote]nArKeD wrote:
EC, What about shoulder rehab for someone who has had a shoulder seperation and is at 85% of full recovery? Trigger points in the subclavius, rhomboids and shooting pain during heavy lateral raises and shrugs. Intermittent very mild pain in the front of the shoulder. All compound movements are okay.[/quote]