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    May 27, 2007 10:47 AM GMT
    Hey guys –
    I’ve been pretty frustrated lately with my deltoids’ progress and so I was wondering what exercises you do for your deltoids.

    Currently, I’m on a split bodypart routine where I hit my shoulders once a week. Every other week I do a free-weight shoulder press (I think that’s the name… the one where you hold the dumbbells near your shoulders and lift up), followed by forward dumbbell raises (again, I think that’s what it’s called…where you take a small weight and raise it forward, perpendicularly to your shoulders), and then I use the rear-deltoid machine my gym has. On the other weeks I substitute the shoulder machine my gym has for the free-weight shoulder press; it has mostly the same the movements though.

    My deltoid-goal is to develop them so they pop out and make my shoulders look larger. Any tips?

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    May 27, 2007 12:04 PM GMT
    All my delt exercises are free weight. Military presses, sometimes with a barbell, usually with dumbbells. Front presses (like dumbbell military presses, except the arms are to the front instead of the side). Side lifts. Upright rows, sometimes with a barbell, sometimes with dumbbells. Monkey rows. And, an exercise I think my trainer calls front lifts, where I lift a pair of dumbbells from my side, up to the front to eye level, with the barbells coming together at the eye level point, and with the barbells held not in a hammer grip but with palms pointing up at a 45 degree angle.
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    May 27, 2007 2:25 PM GMT
    try handstand pushups. they are amazing. kick up against a wall and give it a try. tougher than they look, and will pop your delts out real quick. you will also gain some great strength. if you can't do a full one, just do partials or hold yourself against the wall in a handstand position.
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    May 27, 2007 4:01 PM GMT
    Here are a couple of suggestions -

    First, forget the front raises. Most men overemphasize the front delts, and that puts your shoulders more out of balance. Your dumbbell presses are working your anterior (front) delts just fine already.

    To get the width I think you're looking for, you need to focus more on the medial or middle delt. That's the part that makes the 'cap' over the top of the arm that you see when you face the mirror.

    To hit these, try - with a light weight - dumbbell laterals with very close attention to form:

    Stand near the intersection of two mirrored walls (at first) so you can see both front & side views of yourself. Your arms start at your sides with light dumbbells. With your knuckles facing the mirror in front of you, and your elbows very slightly bent, lift out to the sides, keeping your elbow higher than your wrist, until your elbow is as high as your shoulder. Without pausing, lower the arm until it's almost at your side, but still under tension.

    Keeping the elbow higher than the wrist has the effect of keeping the arm rotated so the medial delt is on top of your shoulder. The natural inclination is to lift your wrists higher, rotating the arm so the strong front delts can assist. You do NOT want this to happen.

    You might have to lean forward slightly at the hips to focus the effort on the medial delt more completely. You'll know when you hit it just right, because the 'burn' will be right in the muscle where you used to get shots when you were a kid. That's the medial delt.

    Some of my clients start with as little as 2 pounds in this exercise, so don't be surprised if you're using a pretty light weight. The amount of weight isn't the point - focusing on the muscle is the point.

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    May 27, 2007 4:57 PM GMT
    Dumbbell laterals are what my trainer calls side lifts, and they are the foundation of my delt workouts. If we're only going to do one delt exercise on a particular day, that's the one. And, on more extensive delt workouts, that's always one of them. And, like you say, form is critical. Gotta keep those elbows up.
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    May 27, 2007 6:16 PM GMT
    Thanks guys, I've been looking to change up my routine and that's some useful advice :)
  • DrStorm

    Posts: 185

    May 27, 2007 8:10 PM GMT
    Joey is 100% correct - one thing he neglected to say, is this - give it time....they WILL grow...take a look around - there are a load of HOT guys on there with well built bodies...80% of them are > 30. Get the point?


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    May 27, 2007 10:18 PM GMT
    I've found that well-executed forward raises work better for me than overhead presses. The latter tend to aggravate my fucked-up rotator cuff while the forward raises don't.

    Same deal with upright rows -- they almost always end up injuring my shoulder.
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    May 27, 2007 10:56 PM GMT

    Behind the neck is the worst... Dips as well. When the bar is lowered behind your neck, you force your shoulder joint to go into internal rotation and extension. In this position, a few things happen:

    1. The surfaces where the rotator cuff muscles attach to the humerous goes right under the bony underside of the AC joint of the acromion, if you alredy have some sort of impingement sydrime, this is very compressive and you can be rubbing the rotator cuff tendons.
    2. This position is the where the supraspinatus rotator cuff muscle is at its longest and most twisted position. And with weigths in eccentric onctrction, you are asking it to contract while lengthen while beeing twisted and stretched...
    3. This position stretched the anterior capsule of the shoudler joint. Capsules and ligaments, once stretched, does NOT return to shorter length, its irreversible. The looser the anterior capsule, the more unstable the joint, the more displacement the humeral head inthe glenoid, the more the rotator cuffs can get into a twisted position and rubbing odf the labrum and the AC joint occurs.
    4. Prolonged impingment of the acromion will result in a forward hooked shaped bone spurr of the AC joint, digging into and even shearing your suparspiantus rotator cuff tendon. Then there is nothing they can do except perform a acromionplasty: shaving off the underside of the AC joint.

    This does not happen inone of 2 years, it can take a few years to get there, but it does get there....
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    May 27, 2007 11:10 PM GMT
    Also want to point out some myths...

    Full range of motion of doing shoudler presses to the lowest position is not that great of an idea for the following reasons:

    1. Mechanically speaking, the shoulder does not have a long acormion that extends out like huge shoulder pads, and there is no sessomoid bone like the patellar for the knee. THEREFORE, when you drop your arms below 90 deg side to side (90 deg shoulder abduction,) the deltoid is not at a mechanical advantageous position to do much work of rotation but it just pulls the humerous head straight up, jamming into the acromion. What is working hard at this range of motion is the suprapsinatus, NOT the deltoid. This has been confirmed by EMG studies (electro meylogram: nerve conduction tests.)
    2. The deltoid does not really kick in until passing 90 deg abd.
    3. The rotator cuffs are the deepest and inner most layer of SMALL muscles that is mostly slow twitch, and it is NOT meant to perform hihg loads like the deltoid. It is ALWAYS weaker than the deltoid, that is why when doing shoulder presss, it is much harder when you lower the bar below 90 deg abduction (even though 90 deg preoduces the most amount of torque ane reauires the most force to counter becasue of the lever system), because you are asking the suparspinatus to do the same load as the bigger and stronger deltoids.
    4. When lowering the bar below 90 deg abduction, the way the shoulder joint capsule fibers are arranged, the shoulde HAS to go into internal rotation and extension to perform this task. As mentioned above, this is a very stressful position to the shoulder joint to various structures (cuff muscle, capsule, labrum.)

    So since you are really stressing the joint capsule/ligament, and the weaker and smaller rotator cuff mucles when you lower the bar below 90 deg, AND you are not even really working the deltoids (confirmed by EMG objective findings), it is questionable practice to lower the bar so low...
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    May 27, 2007 11:17 PM GMT
    One more thing...

    The lateral raises.. Some advice form injury preention point of view.

    While keeping the wrist lower than the elbows possibly do fire the deltoid more, but this is essentially shoulder abduction with humeral internal rotation, as pointed out numerous times above.

    This is actually an aggrevationg orthopedic test called "Empty Can." You are jamming the tubercles into the acromion and compressing all structure in the subacromial space...

    I know trainers and body builders like to use this alot, and it maybe very effective in building the deltoid, BUT, IF your ratio oof genohumeral inferior glide is lees than abduction due to out of proprotionally weak cuff muscles, you WILL injure your shoulder, maybe not in a year, but in a few years...

    One of the this we tell patients with shoulder issues is NEVER to abduct while internally rotate the humerus. If the humerus is not internall rotated, the wrist will ALWAYS be higher than the elbows...
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    May 27, 2007 11:19 PM GMT
    And upright rows will not only screw up your shoulders, but also your wrists. Form the perspective of injury, BAD BAD BAD...
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    May 28, 2007 12:03 AM GMT
    Upright rows have never given me any problem. The first time I did them, the straight bar was a little hard on my wrists, so I've done them with an easy-curl bar ever since (and sometimes with dumbells).
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    May 28, 2007 1:08 AM GMT
    As I said, not yet! Maybe you are doing very light weights, but its not something that takes a few months to a year to develope. But once its there, it is never the same again.

    Otherwise we would be out of business!
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    May 28, 2007 1:57 AM GMT
    PSBigJoey is dead on track with his suggestions.

    Do NOT overwork your anterior (front) deltoids. It'll cause your clavicles to roll forward and you'll end up with shoulder impingement. That means, you don't need to be doing bunch of heavy bench presses (do inclines instead); no lifts to the front of your shoulders. Do them to the back. Be sure to work your posterior (rear deltoids). Study the shoulder joint. There are 5 planes of motion in your shoulders. Do shoulder presses / dumbbell presses behind or even with your head. Keep your reps up. You don't need a shoulder injury. Below 8 is kinda silly. 6 reps at the lowest. Powerlifting invites injuries. Do side lateral raises for medial (middle) deltoids. To front raises and reverse dumbbell flies for posterior delts. Don't forget exercises for rotation as well. NEVER stretch a cold muscle unless you are an advanced and well conditioned athletes. Muscle hypertrophy is an indication of LOCAL muscular endurance. Bear that in mind when lifting. Use proper form.

    Basically, common sense 101.
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    May 28, 2007 2:02 AM GMT
    I'm doing upright rows in the neighborhood of 60 lbs. Dunno if that is considered "very light" or not.

    As for doing my part to sustain the bodywork industry, I get Rolfed every three weeks, and I get an occasional massage.
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    May 28, 2007 2:23 AM GMT
    60 pounds maybe light, but it all depends on the degree of wrist Ulnar deviation you have and how lax you are... Trust me, its not a good thing to do...

    As far as anterior deltoid, yes its not great for impingement, but not because of the position of the clavicle/acromioclavicular joint. It has to do with the protraction of the scapula as it tilts forward and the AC joint pointing DOWN in relation to the humeral head.. Additionally, if done with the palm up, you stress the long head bicipital tendon and you risk tendonitis (this position is the orthopedic testing known as the Speeds Test.) Thumb turned down, you risk jamming the AC joint together and also grinding your labrum (this position is the orthopedic testing for SLAP leisions known as the OBrien Test.)

    I think there is some confusion on impingement...

    There are 4 types of impingement classified on location and structures alone, and then 4 other more classified by degree...

    The 4 types of impingment by structure and location are:

    1. Primay anterior superior mechanical/bony impingement. MOST COMMON. This is the suprasinatus getting impinged under the subacromion either by a lot of inflammation of the tendon and decreased sapce due to uncontrolled superior glide form a weak cuff muscle, or actual bone spurr formed around the AC joint digging into the supraspinatus after years of stressful exercises such as the lateral raises...

    2. Secondary soft tissue laxity impingement. COMMON with throwing athelets. This when the shoulder is lax and the motion of the humeral head catching cuff muscle tendons during external rotation with abduction motion. This impigenes both the superspinatus and the infraspinatus/teres minor complex and possibly also the long head bicept tendon.

    3. Very rare... Stenotic coracoid bony impignement, or TUFF's leison. This is impingment of every sturcture under a abnormally lateral and posterior coracoid process of the scapula. Since the short head of the bicept teond is attached to the coracoid process, this fiber can also be stressed.

    4. Internal/Posterior Glenoid impigment. Rare but seen also with throwing athelets with laxity in shoudler. Happens mostly with secondary impingement syndrome, but the movemetn is now involving the labrum, causing possible SLAP or Bankar leisions (sever cases with dislocation and Hill Sach leision.)

    The 4 CLASSES of impingement by degree are:
    1. Type I, < 25 years age, no tears, maybe tendonitis.
    2. Type II, 25 -40 years old, chronic scarring, no tears.
    3. Type III, > 40 years old, with small cuff tear.
    4. Type IV, > 40 years old, with massive or complete tear.

    I know this was a bit over kill, but impingement is actually MORE COMPLICATED than what I posted here... This is a severely hosrt version...

    Anyone with quesitons about the shoulder can email me privately...
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    May 28, 2007 2:28 AM GMT
    Oh Pradox..

    Keep doing upright rows and you riks not only primary impingment of the shoulders but also developing a ligametus injury to your wrist known as Dequervin's Syndomre... And this is not a muscular injury and no masage will help with this one, you will need to be splinted and your wrist will never e the same... I am tired so I am not going to explain it here... Google it..

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    May 28, 2007 4:46 AM GMT
    I got deQuervain's tenosynovitis when I used to have a rowing machine, because I was really gripping the handle a lot. When I switched to an open-handed grip, like I do with rock-climbing, where it's just my fingers wrapped around the handle, palms facing down, and thumbs sitting loosely alongside the hands, it mostly went away. But then that machine bothered my wrists in other ways so I got rid of it.

    But yeah, deQuervain's. Not fun. I get very minor occasional tendinitis along that tendon (the FCR) from rock climbing, if the FCR muscle belly itself is tight from climbing the night before, the tendon gets some friction going. In those cases, the best thing I've found is to do upward-facing wrist curls with reasonably heavy weights (20 or 25lbs) so that I can do about 20 reps, 2 or 3 sets, and move extremely slowly. It fatigues the forearm muscle so it relaxes a bit, I find, giving me immediate relief, and it also builds up the tendon tissue over time.
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    May 28, 2007 12:39 PM GMT
    I looked at the Wikipedia entry for DeQuervain's syndrome, and I would think it must be caused by the same kind of wrist motion used to test for it. And, yeah, if I did upright rows with a straight bar, my wrists would bend like that. However, when I do upright rows, I don't let my wrists bend like that. My wrists are always kept in a straight, neutral position because I use either dumbells or an easy-curl bar.

    But, the shoulder/impingement issue is definitely one that I will talk to my trainer about. And, as I think about it, these days, he only has me do upright rows once in a while. When I first started training and was using very light weights, I did them every week.

    Thanks for bring those issues to my attention!
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    May 28, 2007 2:16 PM GMT
    Not a problem...

    As far as shoulders, the internal glenoid impingement was not even on the diagnosis list until within the last 7 years.. We are still learning about how the shoulder joint complex works.

    Trainers are great at what make the muscles fire/contract, but there are still a lot of myths out there that is not widely known by trainers and bodybuilders. I know, they come to me when their injuries took years to develope and already become chronic and will need periodic treatments... 2 examples are how far to lower the weights when doing shoulder presses (bar or free weights, in front of or behind neck,) and lateral raises. As with EMG testings done in the past, during shoulder presses, you work on the suprapsinatus rotator cuff muscle more than the deltoid when the weights are lowered below 90 deg, but this is where the movement feels very difficult, and many trainers mistakenly think of this as working the deltoid extra hard... And lateral raises, while it does indeed isolate the mid head of the deltoid and work them hard, it is in itself actually an orthopedic mechanical test for primary impingement syndrome (orthopedic tests are meant to put the joint into a damaging position to aggrevate symptons, that is why ortho MD or a PT will always tell you to expect to be sore the next day and the actual tests hurt!) So of course with a normal shouolder, and if you have good rotator cuff strength RATIO, and you have a flat acromion, then this exercise is great. You are essentially "testing negative" for "Empty Can" test... BUT if you do have a poor ratio of cuff strength, and on top of that a hooked acromion, sooner or later, you will get primary impingement...
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    May 28, 2007 2:21 PM GMT
    Paradox: Just as NYC says, I did upright rows for years before I injured myself. I'd done them with a barbell, a Smith machine and with a curl bar. There's just no reason to take the risk. If you go to any informed site, they'll tell you the same thing.

    Chucky: I did the 5x5 and so-called DC routine for over a year and I think it's what fucked up my knees (you max out every workout).

    During the last year, I've been doing HST, which also employs 3 sets of 5 reps but never at your max. You do a full-body workout 3x a week. It is boring as hell but I've been pleased with the results.
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    May 28, 2007 3:22 PM GMT
    One more misconception about shoulder "5 planes of motion"...

    If you are thinking about the glenohumeral joint as in flexion, abduction, extension, internal rotation, and external rotation... It is NOT that simple...

    The reason is because the shoulder joint complex is actually the glenohumeral joint AND the scapular moving on the thoracic cage, and then to a less extend, the acrominoclavicular joint.

    Flexion is not just flexion... Pure glenohumeral flexion without AC rotation and scapular protraction and posterior tilt is pathological. And the normal flexion movement has a certain ratio fo all these motions in the scapular and AC joints. IF the ratio is not right, it is also pathological...

    Abduction is not just abduction... Again, pure glenohumeral abduction without scapular depression, medial rotation, and mild retraction is also pathological...

    Winging of the scapular is never normal..

    And certain motions, such as extension with internal rotation is NEVER a good position for all 3 joint structures of the shoulder complex...

    As you see, it is NOT all that simple as the "5 planes of motion"...

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    May 28, 2007 3:35 PM GMT
    And one pointer for all who is seeking rehab: How to screen for BAD PT's...

    For shoudlers, if the PT just gives you a theraband and make you "strengthen" your "rotator cuff muscle" and does nothing else..., THAT IS BAD PT.

    Shoulder rehab is rehabing the ratio of the scapular and glenohumeral motions in conjunction with eachother. If the whacked GH & scapular motion ratio has a component in poor rotator cuff strength ratio, sure, work on the weakend ones, and this is usually multi factorial. BUT work on the rotator cuff only with other scapular motion and muscles such as serratus anterior and middle trapezius worked together within the same exercise! Standing there with a theraband and do purely isolated external rotation with no scapular retraction and shoudler abduction is pretty much useless...
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jun 16, 2007 11:24 PM GMT
    Thanx guys...
    I've learned a lot reading thru this thread
    shoulders (deltoids) have really been a pain
    for me they've been slow to grow and prone to injury my entire workout life
    I'm going to start employing some of the things I've read hear