Shoulder Exercises for Mass

Written by Dekel Nesbitt / For Models Observer

Smashing Shoulders with Dekel "Bowflex Barbie" Nesbitt

Like many gym-lovers, during my early years in the gym I looked to the mirror to answer this question of where I should focus my training- for me and most women, it was legs, glutes, triceps and abs . Itís the ďbikini - ready workoutĒ and the reason most of us ladies go to the gym - to look good in less clothes. But there are two HUGE problems with this. First one being that posture slowly withers away because Overdeveloped ďbikini readyĒ muscles will internally rotate and slouch the shoulders and upper back - this goes for the guys who focus heavily on chest too. Second, the bikini-ready muscles will eventually stop growing. Our bodies are incredibly smart, smart enough to prevent a muscle from developing if the antagonist muscle is too weak. Even with the perfect routine and nutrition growth will cease because your body knows you canít handle the added strength. As a trainer I come into contact with a lot of women who experience lower back pain, and in most cases itís because there is an imbalance between the strength of their core and back, because they focus heavily on their core and neglect their back. The same goes for shoulders.

Until I began competing in 2015 I didnít focus nearly as much as I need to on training shoulders. I think that definitely plays a huge role in my battle with my posture today. I spent the last year growing and grooming the muscles that for years I neglected and in return the rest of my body grew as well.

Before I go into my routine I want to share some important points on training shoulders:

#1. Listen to your body and watch for signs of shoulder pain - Almost every longtime lifter that I know has experienced shoulder pain at some point. Itís super important to switch your routine up every so often, whether it be changing the equipment for different movements or switching up the movements altogether. The repetitive motion over a long period can definitely put strain on the shoulders and result in shoulder pain and sometimes injury. And let me tell you from experience shoulder pain is NO joke itís one of the most annoying things in the world.

#2. Be careful doing behind the neck press: I always get scared when I see people loading the bar for behind the neck press because I know how easy it is to get injured doing these. Itís always best to go light/moderate for this movement because when the bar is at the bottom of the press, the shoulder muscles are at their weakest and are more prone to a tear. I literally hold my breath when I see people doing heavy behind the head press. I like to go super light with a whole lot of reps.

#3 Pay attention to the body-part split: Iím guilty of over-training especially when Iím a few weeks or days out from a show, but it's very important to give your muscles ample recovery time and not overwork them so they can grow. So you want to be mindful of the order in which you train your muscle groups especially shoulders to avoid injury.

* Warm up: 5 mins elliptical usually so I can get my arms moving.

Circuit #1 - 4 sets
- Behind the neck press (30, 40, 50, 60) * using light 30lb bar
- Upright Row (15, 20, 25, 30) using an empty 45lb bar (unless I feel strong that day Iíll add 10ís on each side and decrease my reps)

- Lateral & Front Raises (20, 25, 30, 35) * use 8-10 lbs for both

Circuit #2 - 4 sets
- Hammer Press, Reverse Press & Military Press (15, 20, 25, 30) * using 15 lb DB
- Bent over flys (20, 25, 30, 35) * 8-10 lb DB
- Alternating rows (15, 20, 25, 30) * using 20-25 lb DB

End with 20-30 mins of intense cardio (I like jump rope and sprint intervals)

* If youíre like me and you get bored easily, switch it up from time to time. Sometimes I swap out military presses for the seated shoulder press machine or bent over flys for seated flys, and sometimes alternating single arm raises instead of front/lateral raises, just for a change of pace and at the same time Iím preventing the dreaded shoulder pain by switching it up
* When doing single joint raises (isolated) it's important to keep the elbows locked in a slightly bent arm position. The opening and closing (which I see a lot of) brings triceps into the mix and decreases the effectiveness of the isolation.

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Dekel Nesbitt

Dekel Nesbitt