Q: What are some good exercises to add size to my shoulders that don’t tear them out in back? I just feel like military press is beginning to hurt my shoulders. Cable work doesn’t, but I’m not sure it’s getting the job done. Laterals raises are another that seems not to irritate them. I think it’s just when my delts are pulled slightly behind my ears. What can I do?
A: Obviously, using compound exercises are great, but I have to say, the delts respond in the same way the legs do (see leg question) to higher rep, more diverse workouts. And I believe you can grow these body parts doing a variety of things. In that vein, I would say that lateral raises are great, but so are dumbbell presses. Just don’t sit all the way upright. Use a slight decline. I would do a super-set type of routine that infuses a lot of intensity into your workouts to substitute for the weight. I think 4-5 shoulder exercises are great. You should do these in succession, at least 2-3 at a time, if not all 4 or 5.
Take no rest in between until the big set is finished. Try a higher rep, burning kind of routine for a while, using lighter weight to try to give potential injuries a break and strengthen attachments in ways that you cannot use heavy weight. Remember, heavy weight builds mass, but does nothing to help strengthen the bridges and pathways of insertions and attachments. Look at this as an opportunity. And you may like that kind of training. The burn will be almost more intense than the strain of pulling your shoulders back beyond where they should be, but it’ll be a good lactic acid burn, not an injurious burn.
Isolation movements are also good, so use low cable pulleys and lighter weight with deliberately slow movement through the ROM. Use rest-pause, negatives, drop sets, and super-sets and you’ll find you can still grow without jeopardizing your entire upper body repertoire with a shoulder injury.
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