T Nation

Problems Training Shoulders

With extremely narrow shoulders (the distance from my neck to the end of my medial head is not even a hand’s length), as well as high attachment points on almost all of my muscle groups (especially my calves), I find it very difficult to target my shouldersâ??particularly my anterior delts. I’ve read several articles here on the site from John Meadows, and have gained a lot of helpful training information; I have ceased to neglect the posterior head.

My question, however, is with longer arms and smaller shoulders (in terms of length- from top of shoulder to bottom of shoulder) I’m wondering whether a smaller ROM would be more effective in keeping constant tension on the muscle. Obviously, I will find out best just by trying it and I intend to tomorrow, but this thought just sort of appeared to me in a vision from God lol.

Also, when doing barbell presses, do you have your palms facing the ceiling (wrists bent back) or with your palms facing the wall in front of you (knuckles pointed towards the ceiling) Sorry for that weak description haha. Been stalking the forums for a while now but decided to join up, first post here. Thanks guys, any advice is appreciated.

Do not overcomplicate things. For now, do overhead presses with a strength focus. Once you can press three quarters of your body weight overhead for reps with good form (no leaning back) your shoulders will look different, promised. I also found that medium to high volume (say, 5x6-8 2x a week) works pretty well.

^solid advice

Also, if you’re having problems feeling your shoulders working, go do 5x20 of seated dumbbell overhead press, and pause each rep at the bottom, you’ll definitely feel them working.

From the Book of Meadows, Amen:

What about those of us who are advised against overhead work due to rotator cuff issues?

Bradford presses, and scrape the rack presses for those with rotator cuff issues. I don’t do normal overhead presses anymore, only bradfords and raises of various kinds (normally rear delt or rear delt supersetted with other heads) and I think my shoulders (especially rear delt) and traps are my best body parts.

Thanks for the responses guys. I also have noticed in the mirror that during presses and raises especially my traps are taking most of the motion. I’m guessing that’s just because of the narrow shoulders but I’m not sure. Any tips for relaxing the traps so the shoulders are hit? And the Bradford press has always burned my shoulders out nicely, and I’m wondering if that’s due to the smaller ROM (you’re only pressing high enough to clear your head going from behind the head to front)

Interesting, I’ve never seen the Bradford press. I’ll try it.

I have a problem with side and rear delts as well (rear delts also contribute to shoulder width I think). I have a really hard time activating them without having the traps, rhomboids, teres, etc. take over.

[quote]G_maN50 wrote:
Also, when doing barbell presses, do you have your palms facing the ceiling (wrists bent back) or with your palms facing the wall in front of you (knuckles pointed towards the ceiling) Sorry for that weak description haha. Been stalking the forums for a while now but decided to join up, first post here. Thanks guys, any advice is appreciated.[/quote]

Check out jlascek on youtube, he explains wrist position on the press really well.

[quote]matias95 wrote:

[quote]G_maN50 wrote:
Also, when doing barbell presses, do you have your palms facing the ceiling (wrists bent back) or with your palms facing the wall in front of you (knuckles pointed towards the ceiling) Sorry for that weak description haha. Been stalking the forums for a while now but decided to join up, first post here. Thanks guys, any advice is appreciated.[/quote]

Check out jlascek on youtube, he explains wrist position on the press really well.[/quote]

Damn this video was perfect, I was doing all three of those errors on my press! Thanks a ton man

Just killed shoulders using proper grip and it really made a difference and I actually felt the burn for once hah and the Bradford press topped off the workout well. For anyone who’s curious, I had my wrists bent back during my barbell presses and I’ve noticed I also do this for chest presses as well- obviously this isn’t correct gripping. Simple mistake but it goes a long way. Thanks guys, much appreciated

I’ve never really had an issue with other muscles taking over, I do my rear delt work bent over various with or on a bench at different angle and use a pronated grip. For the other heads, I don’t have any issues either, a trick for if you are going to do them standing is to tilt your chin/head back and looking up. What grip you use also matters no matter what head you are trying to train.