If you want to have a successful training session, you’re going to have to use your shoulder muscles. Your shoulders are used in virtually every movement – pressing, rowing and pulling, and even exercises that target completely different muscle groups such as squats, where the bar once again rests on your shoulders. This means that you want to protect your shoulders from any injuries, but also that you want to make them big and strong in order for them to be able to withstand all of the stress.
If you haven’t been in the gym for very long, sometimes you can make mistakes in the gym which can prove fatal to your routine. If you can avoid these mistakes, you can be much more productive, but a lot of people still make them because of lack of information or because they’re just copying what someone else is doing. Don’t use these strategies and you’ll be fine.
Trying to Go Instantly from Zero to 100 (Pounds)
Warming up is well worth it – even though it can take valuable minutes of your well-planned time, it will help you prepare for your workout. A good warm-up will put more blood in your muscles, but it will also ready your shoulder joints and rotator cuffs which is crucial for resistance. Finally, a good warm-up will help you improve your flexibility and your range of motion, as well as the connection between your mind and your body, which means you will be more focused and won’t lose your grip because you’ll be getting each rep done with absolute focus.
However, before you get to the shoulder routines, do some quick sets consisting of external and internal rotations. Also, it would be beneficial to do some arm circles, side wrist pulls and elbow circles, as they will help with getting your shoulders at maximum capacity. After this, you can warm up with a set of every exercise that you plan on doing later on. Note that this set shouldn’t take more than five minutes to complete, but at the end you should be ready to put in a hundred percent in your workout.
Putting on Too Much Weight and Losing Your Form!
Picture this: you see two people in front of a dumbbell rack, performing lateral raises with some weights. One of them has two 25 pound weights in his hands, and keeps putting out rep after rep with perfect form. The other one has two 50 pounds weights in his hands, but he keeps swinging the weights and having them drop, all the while never achieving an acceptable form. If you really need to ask who is doing the right thing and who is just wasting their time, you need to continue reading.
When you lift weights you want the weight to be under your control the entire time. You should control it, but it shouldn’t control you. If you warmed up correctly, your mental focus should be top notch, so make sure to isolate the muscle or area that you’re training as good as possible. If you can’t put on extra weight to keep your form, don’t – having good form will work better for your shoulder strength and development than putting more weight on the bar.
If you’ve ever been at the dumbbell rack, you know how good it feels to go to the heavy end and pick up a pair of huge dumbbells, and you can even put on some extra plates to feel extra strong, but the more weight you put on, the risk of injury increases as well. If you want to have long term, sustainable muscle gains, make sure that you’re in complete control of your current weight before you put on even more.
Focusing on Presses!
When you visit your gym, you probably notice a lot of people standing near the mirrors, doing presses. It doesn’t matter which press it is – whether it’s a barbell or dumbbell, some kind of machine or the Smith – in the end they are still presses that work on your shoulders.
However, you should know that doing presses isn’t the only thing that pumps up your deltoids – and you don’t even have to lift any weight over your head. For example, you could do barbell front raises which will isolate your front deltoids. If you keep proper form while you’re doing them, they will take a much smaller toll on your wrist, elbow and shoulder than they would if you were to do presses.
Doing the Same Boring Thing Over and Over Again!
Most routines that try to develop your shoulders seem bleak and boring after a while, and everyone experiences this sooner or later. You do your lateral raises, your shrugs, your dumbbell raises and your bent-over raises, but even though these movements are awesome and a lot of gym people benefit from them, they can get dull over time. If you want to make your deltoids better than ever, the next time you work out, start by working on your side deltoids instead of your front ones. To get to the rear ones, do upright rows with cables, lift kettlebells or switch out your dumbbells for weight plates. After a while, you need to set a challenge for yourself or it will get dull.
All in all, these four things should be enough for you to completely avoid the big mistakes when working on your shoulders. Of course, people will look at your weirdly because you’re doing something different than them, but I guarantee you will have the last laugh when they see how big your shoulders are getting after a few weeks. They might even repeat what you do!