T Nation

Update to growth factor shoulder training - width complexes


I received many positive comments about my Growth Factor Shoulder training but I also received some demands about other options focusing more on shoulder width.

This morning Nick and I did a version of the workout focused on developing more width. So here are 5 new shoulder supersets following the "Growth Factor" principle, but aimed mostly at improving shoulder width.


A1. Incline (30 degrees) lateral raise
A2. Seated (90 degrees) lateral raise
A3. Incline partial lateral raise
A4. Seated partial lateral raise
A5. Front raise

Note that we shoot for anywhere between 6 to 10 reps on the first exercise then go to fatigue on the other ones.


B1. Deadstart lateral raise (DB resting on bench, no tension)
B2. Standing lateral raise
B3. Deadstart front raise
B4. Standing front raise


C1. Heavy partial lateral raise
C2. Lateral raise
C3. Lateral raise overhead


D1. Chest supported hybrid raise (between front and lateral raise)
D2. Incline (45 degrees) lateral raise
D3. Standing lateral raise


E1. Heavy partial machine lateral
B2. Full range lateral


Hey CT,
is it even possible to combine them all?
Using the normal Growth Factor and than add the new complexes for width in one big workout? :open_mouth: :stuck_out_tongue:





Either one of these full workouts lead to a point where it's impossible to increase the pump anymore. In fact you might feel the pump going down if you do too much, which is a bad sign...

I'm all for volume, but the body does have a limited capacity to respond to stress.

The videos are being uploaded right now.

You can do both if you decide to specialize on your shoulders for 4 weeks. But this means doing them on separate workouts, and reducing volume for other body parts.

When I specialize on a specific bodypart I train it 3x a week and reduce the rest of the body into 2 workouts and reduce volume for the "other" (non spec muscles) otherwise the body will not be able to recover.

For example you could do:

DAY 1 - Back / Biceps
DAY 2 - Shoulders heavier (presses) / Chest (minimal)/ Triceps
DAY 4 - Shoulder pump work (Growth Factor Training)
DAY 5 - Legs
DAY 6 - Shoulders pump work (width exercises)

When doing a shoulder spec program you can maintain a decent volume for back, legs and biceps (still lower than usual, but not too much) BUT chest work REALLY has to be reduced to a bare minimum since pretty much all chest exercises do involve the chest. So I'd do maybe 3-4 sets of a press exercise for the chest and 3-4 sets of an isolation exercise, MAXIMUM. And I'd put it on the heavier shoulder day so that the shoulders will get enough rest during the week.


Oh boy oh boy this is great stuff, thank you
It reminds me of the HSS-100 workouts.
It really comes to the right time with me focusing
on my delt-work in the moment. Thanks again


Here we go... updated with the exercises


What if someone wanted to specialize both delts and chest? You've said before that one can specialize two bodyparts simultaneously. But as you said delts are used a lot on chest exercises, so how would you structure such a specialization if at all?


I likely wouldn't specialize on both at the same time.

The way you spec on two muscles is to do both on the same workout, normally altenating one set/superset for one muscle with one set/superset for the second one. The first muscle resting while the second one is working, and vice-versa.

But since the delts are involved in most chest movements that wouldn't work.

Doing both separately in each workout would require you to cut down the volume to 2 supersets for each muscle. For example:

DAY 1. Chest (heavy, 2 exercises, 4-5 sets each) / Delts (heavy 1-2 exercises, 4-5 sets each) / Triceps (very low volume)

DAY 2. Back / Biceps


DAY 4. Chest (2 different pump supersets done for 3-4 sets each) / Delts (2 different pump supersets done for 3-4 sets each)

DAY 5. Legs

DAY 6. Chest (2 other pump supersets for 3-4 sets each) / Delts (2 other pump supersets for 3-4 sets each)



Interesting. Seems indeed that doing individual spec phases for one muscle at a time would be the smarter choice here. Thank you for the detailed answer!


It almost always is. Especially if you are using a lot of pump work. I find that working several muscles in one session works if you are focusing more on heavy, low reps lifting. But when using maximum pump/growth factor release I always prefer to only train one muscle at a time as much as possible.


Really interesting - I'm finishing a fat loss phase and am really looking forward to using this program.

Is it possible to do a duel focus on shoulders and arms with pump work (2 days per week each) whilst keeping 1 day for big lifts? Or is it better to focus on the shoulders in this instance?

It's always tough to work out how to train arms as they are 2 separate muscle groups.

Any help appreciated, thanks a lot! :slightly_smiling:


That's a lot of lateral raises!


Would you consider arms an exception to the "one muscle at a time" specialization rule? Or could you do a "biceps" specialization (what would that even look like)?


You don't have to use them all. Each superset can be used as a standalone for your shoulder workouts.


I will definitely try them. Already tried a couple of the growth factor complexes from the article. Thanks.


Awesome, thank you for doing that CT.


Are these supersets also done for up to 3 sets apiece?


Yes, that is the ideal number from my exzperience




Looks like fun!

One question CT: was the "Note that we shoot for anywhere between 6 to 10 reps on the first exercise then go to fatigue on the other ones" applicable to all supersets?


Most of them. The exception is when the first exercise is partial reps, then we shoot for 15-20.