T Nation

Shoulder Exercise Selection

I would like to inspire folks to think with this post. No specific questions that I need answered, just a question I would like to share to hear you guys beliefs on the topic.

I noticed that in 99% of shoulder routines you see in the magazines and on the internet, they involve 3 staple exercises. The shoulder press, the lateral raise, and the rear deltoid fly.

My question is why do we hammer our front delts (which get major stimulation when we flex at our shoulder, I.e every time we press) with shoulder presses and when it comes to medial and posterior deltoids we perform isolation movements. Why not hit the side deltoid with a compound exercise. I mean the medial deltoid laterally abducts the humerus, why do we think we need to keep our arms straight to do that?

This is true for every exercise that involves keeping the arm straight, all keeping a straight arm does is double the lever arm length making the exercise harder to progress. So why do we twittle away with lateral raises and rear delt fly (and straight arm pushdowns, and chest flies, and front raises) ?

Well, which compound exercise hammers away at the side or rear delts?

Cause it works…

[quote]zraw wrote:
Cause it works…[/quote]

Ok, I looked at your avatar, and thought I saw a fitness model or an IFBB fitness pro. Then, I saw your username. You get sicker every god damn. I can you see turning pro in a couple of years. Great job and great motivation, keep up the good work!!!

[quote]LoRez wrote:
Well, which compound exercise hammers away at the side or rear delts?[/quote]
Upright rows with a wide grip or with dumbells and rear delt rows/face pulls. There’s no such think as an “isolation” movement for a muscle located on the torso. There’s no reason to ever keep your arm straight during an exercise.

[quote]zraw wrote:
Cause it works…[/quote]
But is it optimal?

  1. Rear delts are stimulated with every pulling exercise when we train back.

  2. Upright rows bothers my shoulders. They are risky for impingement.

  3. I do band pull-aparts for warmup every single workout.

  4. Side raises at different angles and different rep ranges plain work for medial delts…meaning they have done more for me than shoulder presses.

[quote]Hilldog wrote:

  1. Rear delts are stimulated with every pulling exercise when we train back.

  2. Upright rows bothers my shoulders. They are risky for impingement.

  3. I do band pull-aparts for warmup every single workout.

  4. Side raises at different angles and different rep ranges plain work for medial delts…meaning they have done more for me than shoulder presses.[/quote]

  5. Correct.

  6. They bother your shoulders because you do them with a narrow grip and pull the weight up to your chin.

  7. Nice!

  8. You only do side raises because the pros told you too or you read it in a magazine/article.

The function of the Side deltoid is to laterally abduct, we don’t need to keep the arm straight to do so. Doing so just puts us at a mechanical disadvantage. My point of this post was not to disrespect anyone but encourage people to recognize that most of us treat our side deltoids and rear deltoids like there a special case and need “isolation exercises” to grow, suggesting this is like suggesting isolation movements are superoir, which we know there not. When it comes to training a muscle on the torso, the arms should never be straight. You wouldn’t do a front raise instead of a shoulder press, right?

[quote]youngster543210 wrote:

[quote]Hilldog wrote:

  1. Rear delts are stimulated with every pulling exercise when we train back.

  2. Upright rows bothers my shoulders. They are risky for impingement.

  3. I do band pull-aparts for warmup every single workout.

  4. Side raises at different angles and different rep ranges plain work for medial delts…meaning they have done more for me than shoulder presses.[/quote]

You wouldn’t do a front raise instead of a shoulder press, right?[/quote]

I would. It depends on the reason you are training a movement, but even from a powerlifting perspective, a compound movement isn’t always better than an isolation one.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]youngster543210 wrote:

[quote]Hilldog wrote:

  1. Rear delts are stimulated with every pulling exercise when we train back.

  2. Upright rows bothers my shoulders. They are risky for impingement.

  3. I do band pull-aparts for warmup every single workout.

  4. Side raises at different angles and different rep ranges plain work for medial delts…meaning they have done more for me than shoulder presses.[/quote]

You wouldn’t do a front raise instead of a shoulder press, right?[/quote]

I would. It depends on the reason you are training a movement, but even from a powerlifting perspective, a compound movement isn’t always better than an isolation one.[/quote] Yes it is. Especially when it comes to the torso.

[quote]youngster543210 wrote:
You wouldn’t do a front raise instead of a shoulder press, right?[/quote]

Are you sure about that one?

I must respectfully disagree.

I know its going to sounds cliche, but certain exercises work better for certain people. You’re asking what we think about the generic routines, and more specifically why those of us that do lateral raises do them. When they answered cause they work, how are you going to argue that they don’t for that person? Personally I stick with one compound, 2/3 lateral and 1/2 rear. Just depends on the goal for the day. I don’t think a person can develop an aesthetic shoulder without ISO movements.

[quote]zraw wrote:

[quote]youngster543210 wrote:
You wouldn’t do a front raise instead of a shoulder press, right?[/quote]

Are you sure about that one?[/quote]
Yes.

[quote]gato10 wrote:
I know its going to sounds cliche, but certain exercises work better for certain people. You’re asking what we think about the generic routines, and more specifically why those of us that do lateral raises do them. When they answered cause they work, how are you going to argue that they don’t for that person? Personally I stick with one compound, 2/3 lateral and 1/2 rear. Just depends on the goal for the day. I don’t think a person can develop an aesthetic shoulder without ISO movements. [/quote]

The best exercise for everyone is the one that allows for the most consistant progress. No one could make the argument that they can make better progress on laterals than a compound movement.

[quote]youngster543210 wrote:

[quote]gato10 wrote:
I know its going to sounds cliche, but certain exercises work better for certain people. You’re asking what we think about the generic routines, and more specifically why those of us that do lateral raises do them. When they answered cause they work, how are you going to argue that they don’t for that person? Personally I stick with one compound, 2/3 lateral and 1/2 rear. Just depends on the goal for the day. I don’t think a person can develop an aesthetic shoulder without ISO movements. [/quote]

The best exercise for everyone is the one that allows for the most consistant progress. No one could make the argument that they can make better progress on laterals than a compound movement.[/quote]

This is turning into a joke

Im out

[quote]youngster543210 wrote:

[quote]gato10 wrote:
I know its going to sounds cliche, but certain exercises work better for certain people. You’re asking what we think about the generic routines, and more specifically why those of us that do lateral raises do them. When they answered cause they work, how are you going to argue that they don’t for that person? Personally I stick with one compound, 2/3 lateral and 1/2 rear. Just depends on the goal for the day. I don’t think a person can develop an aesthetic shoulder without ISO movements. [/quote]

The best exercise for everyone is the one that allows for the most consistant progress. No one could make the argument that they can make better progress on laterals than a compound movement.[/quote]

No one? Really? You really really think that?

youngster543210, can you post pictures showing how effective your approach has been for you?

Actually I think that’s exactly what most are saying; that they have seen better shoulder development/progress when using isolation exercises . Regardless of what you think is best, it just isn’t for some. On a secondary note it seems to me that you’re trying to convince uomething you believe, not actually taking what we say and turning it into a legitimate discussion. If you wanna know why we do laterals I’d guess its because most of us can’t feel our medial head work as much on compound lifts (regardless of grip position).

[quote]gato10 wrote:
Actually I think that’s exactly what most are saying; that they have seen better shoulder development/progress when using isolation exercises . Regardless of what you think is best, it just isn’t for some. On a secondary note it seems to me that you’re trying to convince uomething you believe, not actually taking what we say and turning it into a legitimate discussion. If you wanna know why we do laterals I’d guess its because most of us can’t feel our medial head work as much on compound lifts (regardless of grip position).[/quote]

The fact that you think there is room for “something I believe” in regards to the human body shows why yo would do a lateral raise instead of a upright rows. We put names to exercises so people no what were talking about when we say “lateral raise”. Exercises are just functions of the muscles, the orientation of the forearm has absolutely nothing to do with the contraction of the medial deltoid. Keeping the arms bent does not “involve” the biceps, the biceps flex the elbow joint, they do not abduct the humerus. Those are the facts, you can dispute them all you want but you will be incorrect.