Plateau Busting Shoulder Workout Routine

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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Shoulder Workout Routine

Shoulder workout: Training plateaus are a fact of life for the hard-training physique athlete. When adaptation (growth) comes to a halt, you must expose the muscles to a different training stimulus.

shoulder workout routine

The two most important factors in creating muscle hypertrophy are tension and fatigue (Telle). The amount of tension applied to the muscles determines how many muscle fibers are recruited; once those fibers are recruited they must be fatigued. Muscles that are recruited but not fatigued will not become bigger nor stronger (Zatsiorsky, 2006).

In a nutshell, to overcome a plateau we must apply an unaccustomed stress that applies sufficient tension and creates significant fatigue.

One of my favorite plateau busting methods is what I call “Kitchen-Sink” training. This is a high-volume method incorporating multiple exercises for the target area. This type of training creates a tremendous pump and dramatically improves the work capacity of the trained area; the end result being bigger and stronger muscles.

shoulder workout routine

Kitchen Sink Training: Deltoids (shoulder muscles)

You will use short rest intervals and perform a high volume of work. This type of protocol is similar to the fast-paced, high-volume workouts made popular by training legend Vince Gironda.

Since the deltoid muscle is composed of a high percentage of slow twitch fibers, high volume and moderate to high reps are needed.

These exercises are grouped in pairs; perform all sets of A1, A2 exercises before moving to B1, B2 and so on.

Pay attention to the tempo of each movement. If you are unfamiliar with tempo prescriptions, Charles Poliquin explains in depth here: Tempo Training

Plateau busting shoulder workout routine:

A1)       Standing DB Shoulder Press – elbows out, palms forward

3 sets X 6-8 repetitions, 3011 tempo, rest 15 seconds then perform A2)

A2)       Seated Lat Pulldown to Neck, wide grip – Pull bar to collarbones, elbows out

3 sets X 8-10 repetitions, 2020 tempo, rest 60-90 seconds then return to A1)

B1)       Barbell Front Raise-Wide Grip-full range

4-6 sets X 6-8 repetitions, 2010 tempo, rest 45 seconds then perform B2)

Place hands 4-6 inches wider than A/C joint (shoulder joint); keep elbows slightly bent and pointing out to sides; raise bar 6 inches above head and lower the bar in a controlled manner. NO MOMENTUM

B2)       Bent-Over Rear Deltoid Lateral Raise

4-6 sets X 8-10 repetitions, 2010 tempo, rest 45 seconds then return to B1)

C1)       Side-lying 1-arm lateral raise

3-4 sets X 8-10 repetitions, 2020 tempo, rest 30 seconds then perform C2)

Notes: Lie sideways on a bench while supporting yourself on your forearm. Hold DB against your thigh and raise DB until you make a 90 degree angle between your arm and torso. Slowly lower weight to start position.

C2)       Standing Cable External Rotation – elbow bent at 90 degrees

3-4 sets X 12 repetitions, 2010 tempo, rest 30 seconds then return to C1)

That’s it!

Follow this shoulder workout routine twice/week for 3 weeks.

Author: Erick Minor

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