BUILD SHOULDERS LIKE A VIKING

WHAT NORWEGIAN SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT BUILDING MUSCULAR DELTS


ARTICLE ESSENTIALS

  • Standing shoulder presses may be a better growth stimulator than seated exercises
  • Dumbbell press could be the ultimate delt builder!
  • Training your delts with the right exercises increases muscle stimulation for better growth results from a protein-rich diet
  • It's about making smart exercise choices - not just lifting the heaviest weight

Broad shoulders and round, defined delts are synonymous with a powerful, visually appealing physique. However, without applying some thought to how you're training them, you could be missing out on maximising your gains. Simply put – a group of training experts have recently uncovered what they believe to be the best exercises to use, if you're looking for awesome shoulder development. Thankfully, their findings are easy to apply – check it out.....

IS YOU SHOULDER TRAINING OPTIMAL?

Many weight trainers use the mantra of 'If it ain’t broke.....don't fix it'.

So, when it comes to training the shoulders, using the exercise that enables you to shift the biggest weight and gives you good shoulder development, must be the best one, right? Well, not so fast – not if you want to apply what the latest training science is telling us!

Researchers in Norway have been studying the impact of the stimulation created in the deltoids when trainers use a variety of methods; most notably – seated and unseated presses, with either dumbbells or a barbell [1]. We might add that the mighty Norwegians are renowned for big shoulders - given their Viking ancestry and javelin throwing ability – so it could pay to take heed!

GET BIGGER SHOULDERS THE NORWEGIAN WAY

The Viking researchers took 15 weight trainers with an average of five year's workout experience and asked them to perform the seated and unseated presses with 80% 1 Rep Max. Since this training load is ideal for growth stimulation – the study could be highly relevant for anyone looking to muscle-up their delts.

So what did the study reveal?

RAW STRENGTH

Make no mistake – as this study found, you will be able to lift more weight in a seated shoulder press, than a strict standing press. Furthermore, using a barbell lets you shift more, compared to dumbbells.

However, while this is great for ego-lifting – using the heavy load might not be the optimal method for triggering shoulder growth.

MUSCLE STIMULATION

When the scientists used electrical sensors to analyse the level of muscle fibre stimulation, they found the complete opposite effect. That is – standing dumbbells stimulated more muscle fibres than the heavier seated presses – and using dumbbells is even more effective!

The question is – why are lighter weights and using dumbbells potentially more effective than blasting out the heavy seated presses?

LESS STABILITY = MORE MUSCLE STIMULATION!

The answer is due to a reduction in stability. Simply put, the seated press fixes your body in a firm position and enables force generation from a host of big muscles – especially the back. Similarly, using a barbell during standing presses creates a solid foundation for force production. However, when you bring out the dumbbells, the game changes; the stability has been removed and more delt fibres are activated to control the weight and prevent you from dropping the dumbbell or injuring yourself!

SHOULDER TRAINING - DITCH THE BARBELL?

The results of the study suggests that dumbbells are a must for maximum shoulder stimulation – and arguably they could be the best individual exercise for shoulder growth. However, this doesn't mean that heavier barbell presses should be banished from your workout plan, since they have their own advantages! Firstly, starting your workout with heavy seated or standing presses activates your nervous system, helping to prime your body for effective dumbbell sets. Secondly, heavy delt sets may have a lower over-all level of muscle stimulation, but they recruit high threshold muscle fibres which have excellent growth potential. It's therefore highly effective to start with heavy presses, and then move on to dumbbell work. This also reduces the risk of injury to the delicate shoulder joint. The concept of increased shoulder muscle stimulation with dumbbells, is also likely to be relevant for other body parts, such as the chest – so consider hitting your pecs with both barbell and dumbbell presses for maximum results.

Simple high-impact shoulder workout:

EXERCISE 1
Seated standing shoulder press
3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
EXERCISE 2
Standing dumbbell press
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Tempo note: Use a controlled tempo with your dumbbell presses to increase muscle stimulation.<
EXERCISE 3
Revere/lateral/front dumbbell raise tri-set
8-12 reps of each exercise in a circuit
Perform 2-3 times and really feel the burn!

Maximise protein synthesis for max delt development

This shoulder workout fully activates your fast and slow twitch muscle fibres, creating growth in the rear, mid, and front delts. To create an anabolic environment and respond effectively to the extensive muscle fibre damage elicited – flood your muscles with amino acids during the intra-workout phase by sipping BCAA INTRA HARDCORE™ or AMINO INTRA RIPPEDCORE™ between each set. Post-workout consume a shake containing carbs, whey protein and creatine within 20 minutes, such as OMNI MX® HARDCORE.

References
Saeterbakken AH1, Fimland MS. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Jul;27(7):1824-31. Effects of body position and loading modality on muscle activity and strength in shoulder presses.

 

Related Articles
catalog_product_view