среда, 30 сентября 2015 г.

Growth Factor Shoulder Training



Here's what you need to know...

  1. People who only lift heavy or do Olympic-style lifting rarely have impressive arms and shoulders. The exception is heavy lifters who add high-rep, isolation work.
  2. Doing only the big basics can lead to strength imbalances that will ultimately impair your performance and size.
  3. The supersets described below cause muscle to contract, which restricts blood flow and leads to the release of local growth factors.
  4. Warning: You need high pain tolerance to do this shoulder workout!

Few Olympic Lifters Look Lean and Muscular

I love lifting big weights on the big basic lifts. But I can't ignore the fact that "pump" training also works when it comes to building muscle. Plenty of people have built a lot of muscle doing isolation work to a skin-bursting pump, including strength-oriented athletes.
But few Olympic weightlifters, despite hoisting monstrous weights over their heads, have what we'd call muscular bodies. They have solid legs, glutes, and lower back for sure. And some exhibit thick upper bodies.
But most look "solid" instead of lean and muscular. It's true that they use mostly their legs, hips, and trunk to lift the weights, but you'd still expect more muscle in the delts and arms from people who can lift 400-500 pounds over their heads.

Exceptions to the Rule

Chinese Lifter
The exception to this seems to be the Chinese lifters, along with some other Asian countries with similar training systems. Despite being less genetically designed to carry a lot of muscle, their Olympic lifters are a lot more muscular than most other competitors.
This is especially true of the arms, shoulders, and back. If you look into their training you'll see that they actually do a lot of isolation work for higher reps on exercises such as lateral raises, triceps extensions, and biceps curls.
They also do plenty of rows, dips, and pull-ups for higher reps (8-10). They often go for 6 sets of 8-10 reps with short rest periods on several bodybuilding exercises at the end of their session.
Why would athletes who already train four hours a day or more do 30-45 minutes of additional daily work if it wasn't productive?
Well, they understand that muscle moves weight, and that if you have more muscle you can move more weight if your nervous system is effective at utilizing that muscle.
And I've learned through experience that volume builds muscle.

The Problem With Shoulders

Shoulder Pain
Sure, getting stronger will help you get bigger. If you add 100 pounds to all your big lifts you'll surely have a lot more muscle mass. But it's not necessarily the fastest route, especially for muscles like the shoulders.
The shoulders are fragile. The shoulder joint is the least stable joint in the body and very complex. There are more than ten muscles that directly influence the way the shoulder moves, and that joint can move in pretty much every direction.
So it's very easy to become unbalanced and develop nagging and persistent shoulder aches, if not severe injuries.
That's the problem with relying only on the big basics: You stand a much better chance of developing strength imbalances that will ultimately impair your performance, comfort, and ultimately your size.
Furthermore, many strong muscles assist the deltoids. As such, it can become hard to stimulate the deltoids fully with only big lifts.
Sure, the delts receive some loading, but sometimes other muscles contribute disproportionately more and will grow faster. As they grow faster, the shoulders become proportionally weaker and harder to involve – the body will use the stronger muscles to do the job. Injury is then more likely.

Related:  3 Shoulder Killers to Avoid

This is why I like to use time under tension as well as multiple angles to develop the shoulders. In fact, I want to use as many different angles as possible when working the delts directly.
This will not only make the shoulder more functional and injury-proof, but it will also maximize size.

Constant Time Under Tension and Muscle Development

The research is clear: You can stimulate growth without the use of heavy loads by increasing the release of local growth factors during exercise.
This is the foundation of occlusion training as well as the constant-tension rep style. But the latter is the one that is of interest to us today.
When a muscle is contracting, blood flow into the muscle is restricted. Blood will rush in when the muscle relaxes – between reps if the muscle stops contracting and at the end of the set.
As long as the muscle is working and blood flow is restricted via muscular contraction, metabolites will build up in the muscle and this will lead to the release of local growth factors.
That's the basis of this training approach to the shoulders. This program will build muscle rapidly. When I use it after focusing only on the big basic lifts, my physical appearance changes almost instantly, almost like muscle is migrating toward the delts!
To maximize growth factor stimulation, the main thing to focus on is stimulating as much lactate build-up in the target muscle as possible. You need to have a high pain tolerance for this to work optimally!
Lactate accumulation through muscular work is maximized when the muscle is under tension for 45-70 seconds. This program is based on sets falling in that range. And since the shoulders have so much mobility, I prefer to use multiple exercises in each set to strengthen every angle of shoulder movement.
The program itself uses 5 supersets and you will do 3 sets of each, for a total time under constant tension of about 15 minutes. But each of these supersets will work great as a standalone, too. For maximum develop, use all five.

Superset #1  Multi-Press Complex

Each set is made up of 6 different presses and we go from the weakest to the strongest, a concept known as mechanical drop sets.
The 6 exercises, done without any rest, are:
A. Seated Muscle Snatch (seated to avoid using the lower body) or
 Barbell Cuban Press
B. Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip (seated)
C. Behind the Neck Press, Clean Grip (seated)
D. Savickas Press (military press seated on the floor with extended legs and no back support)
E. Bradford Press (standing)
F.  Push Press (standing)
The goal is to do 5 reps for each exercise, but don't freak out if you only get 3 or even fewer near the end. If that does happen, don't increase the weight the following session. Start conservative. By using constant tension, the fatigue and pain will quickly build up!
Do 3 sets of this exercise with about 90 seconds of rest between sets.
Important: You'll note that this superset/complex uses the behind the neck press, an exercise that has been made to be the work of the devil in recent times. People believe that it will potentially hurt the shoulders.
Well, that's true if you have zero shoulder mobility, but being able to press in that position is part of the normal shoulder function.
It's true that some people might have trouble with the behind the neck press, especially those with a severe "shoulder forward" posture, or immense bodybuilders with massive pecs and front delts.
As T Nation contributor Paul Carter has said, if your shoulders are healthy and have good mobility, they cause no issues. If your shoulders aren't healthy, perhaps from too much bench pressing, you won't be able to do behind the neck presses. It's not the other way around.
The behind the neck press is a more complete shoulder exercise. You get a stronger contraction in the lateral and rear deltoids. The military press hits the anterior deltoid hard but is less complete.
Furthermore, don't forget that due to the nature of this complex, you won't be using much weight, so the behind the neck presses won't be traumatic and will actually help you restore full shoulder function.

Superset #2  Dumbbell Press Multi-ROM

This is similar to the good old 21 technique, which is also based on constant tension and lactate build-up, but we'll do sets of 5-5-10 instead of 7-7-7. That means:
A. 5 partial reps doing only the bottom half of the movement
B. 5 partial reps doing only the top half of the movement
C. 10 full reps
On the full reps you want to do the reps smoothly, not stopping at the top or bottom between the phases of the lift. Stop about half an inch before locking out to keep the deltoids under tension.
The partial reps will cause a rapid hypoxic state (lack of oxygen) and a rapid build-up of lactate, whereupon you do your full reps in that state.
Do 3 sets with about 90 seconds of rest in-between sets.

Superset #3  Shoulder Circles/Scott Press/Press

I started using loaded shoulder circles when I did a lot of ring work in my own training. This is a highly underrated exercise and a great movement to prepare the whole shoulder joint for brutal work.
It does so by activating most muscles involved with shoulder movements, and because of that it also makes it an interesting hypertrophy tool since it can stimulate a lot of muscle. It's a great option to use as the first move in a pre-fatigue superset.
The second exercise is a Scott press, which is very similar to an Arnold press in that you're starting the movement with the arms in front of you and rotating them outward as you press up. The difference is that in an Arnold press, you press straight up once you rotate your arms, while the Scott press uses a more circular motion.
As a result, at the top the arm is inclined slightly forward, making the elbows project back further than the wrists. That circular motion hits the lateral portion of the delts more.
Once you're done with the Scott press, you finish your set with regular dumbbell presses but with a slight twist: you'll press while having the outside weight plate higher up than the inside one, and keep it that way for the whole pressing movement. This puts more stress on the lateral portion of the delt.
One set looks like this:
A. Shoulder Circles 10 reps front-to-back
B. Shoulder Circles 10 reps back-to-front
C. Scott Presses 6-8 reps
D. Dumbbell Presses 6-8 reps
Do 3 sets, resting for about 90 seconds between sets.

Superset #4  Dumbbell Lateral Complex

This is my favorite medley/superset to isolate and annihilate the delts. It hits them from multiple angles, which is important for full development.
Four different variations are used, all done back-to-back without rest:
A. Top-Half Front Raise (from parallel to the floor, to overhead) 4-6 reps
B. Lateral Raise 4-6 reps
C. "Y" Lateral Raise with thumbs up 4-6 reps
D. Outside-In Raise 4-6 reps
Perform 3 sets, 90 seconds in between.

Superset #5  Bus Driver/Front Raise

The first movement is the "bus driver" exercise where you hold a plate at arms length in front of you and rotate slowly. It's a hugely underrated movement.
The bus driver puts the whole deltoid group under constant tension and works angles that aren't normally trained in the gym. It's an excellent way to finish the shoulder workout and make the joint more resilient to injuries.
The second movement is the front raise using three different grips: narrow, shoulder-width, and wide.
Using the different grips makes this a mechanical drop set: When you can't do an exercise any more, you continue to do reps by changing the leverage. By taking a wider grip you shorten the resistance arm, which will make the movement a bit easier, allowing you to get more reps in without having to decrease weight.
The change in grip might also bring some new motor units into the mix, which is a benefit since the more motor units you recruit and fatigue, the more you'll grow.
A. Bus Driver 6-8 reps per side
B. Front Raise dumbbells about 1-inch inside shoulder-width, 6 reps
C. Front Raise index finger in line with outside edge of deltoid, 6 reps
D. Front Raise wide grip, 3-4" wider than shoulder width, 6 reps
We're shooting for 6-8 reps per side for the bus driver exercises and about 6 reps for each of the three grips on the front raise, but really the goal is to fatigue and to pump up the muscles as much as possible. If that goal is accomplished, it doesn't matter if you did 5 or 10 reps per position.
IMPORTANT: When you do your barbell front raises, imagine rotating your elbows up instead of just lifting the arms up. This will increase the activation of the lateral head of the deltoid.

Maximize Results

Get ready to quickly put size on your delts, especially if you're someone who is used to heavy pressing work.

Related:  Delts on Fire

This program is based on maximizing local growth factor release as well a sending a ton of nutrient-rich blood into the muscle. This means that using Plazma™ before and during your workout to maximize the amount of anabolic nutrients in your blood will lead to even greater results.

The 4 Most Common Injuries for Lifters And How To Prevent Them



Here's what you need to know...

  1. The rate of shoulder injuries rises with excessive reps, excessive machine use, and often bodybuilding-style programming.
  2. Lower back injuries increase when flexing or extending the lower back under heavy loads. Keep the spine neutral.
  3. Knee injuries are high when the knees don't track properly throughout the lifts. Keep the knees from collapsing inward if you want them to be healthy.
  4. Upper back and neck injuries occur with poor posture. Fix a hunched over back to prevent cervical spine injuries.
T Nation Poll

Lifting Isn't Dangerous

Not inherently at least. And not compared to a number of other types of athletic endeavors.
Resistance training is actually pretty safe. What makes lifting unsafe are the missteps, and sometimes just plain idiocy, many individuals bring to the practice.
From bastardizing technique and butchering form to pumping ego instead of muscles, some people have given weight training a black eye.
If lifting is dangerous in the eyes of the ignorant, we better figure out what exactly "lifting" entails so we can be sure to keep these lifting-phobes a safe distance from the squat rack, bench press, and other physically catastrophic environments.

What's Considered Lifting?

We can break lifting down into four major categories:
  1. Traditional weight training – bodybuilding
  2. The sport of lifting weights – powerlifting, Olympic lifting
  3. Sport performance training – athletics
  4. Crosstraining – classes and boot camps
There's more, but these are the major players.

The Four Most Common Lifting Injuries

#4  Cervical Spine Injury

Cervical Spine
The cervical spine – upper back and neck – is most notably vulnerable to injuries in both the soft tissue and joint structures such as the discs and ligaments due to heavy bracing techniques, poor spinal posture and loads of ugly repeated flexion and extension movements.
Soreness and joint stiffness due to bracing in a neutral cervical position under heavy loading is part of the iron game, but flailing your head around and putting undue stresses on intricate body structures is just plain stupid.
If you don't know what I'm referring to, just think of turning the dumbbell shrug movement into a mosh pit at a Slip Knot concert. Don't be that guy.
The most innocent of all just may be transferring poor spinal posture from your daily sedentary life into the gym and not realizing you're putting yourself at risk.
The average American has a forward head posture which causes hyperextension of the upper segments of the cervical spine, and lower segmental flexion. That's a recipe for a nasty neck tweak on your next squat or deadlift if not corrected.

Prevent It

Fix your posture. Get a neutral spine. For the cervical spine, I can't think of a single position that is of more importance than the braced and neutral neck position.
Drive your chin directly backwards towards your spine and create a slight downward gaze with your eyes. This position holds true for every single movement, no matter if it's upper body or lower body specific.

#3  Knee Injury

Most assume the knee is highly injurious. There is some truth to this joint being more vulnerable than others due to its anatomical properties and orientation relative to the ankle and hip complexes.
But there's more to the story.
First, the structure of the knee joint is very immobile by nature, as it is a hinge joint with only two true degrees of freedom, meaning it only moves into flexion and extension.
Less relative motion from the knee in combination with poor gross movement through joints that are supposed to be highly mobile – like the many synergistic joints of the ankle complex in addition to the ball and socket type hip joint – put undue stress over non-contractile tissues like ligaments and cartilage.
This kink in the kinetic chain is most notable for lifters in quad-dominant movements like squat and lunge variations.

Related:  Squat Depth: The Final Answer

While global instability of the knee joint may be a chicken-or-the-egg argument with the co-morbid factors like stiff and immobile joints above and below the level of the knee, many chronic natured injuries also become symptomatic over the front side of the knee at the patella.
Increased tone and tightness through the quads can increase compressional and shear forces through the kneecap, causing increased rates of patella-femoral friction and irritation.
Functionally shortened and stiff quads in combination with poor patellar movement is exacerbated with poor squat mechanics such as anteriorly drifting knees and valgus drop, and also in lunge-type movements when the knee joint is forced into terminal flexion.
If this sounds like a pretty big problem that most lifters need to address, it is. Pay attention, this simple cue below can clean up your movement and give those pissed-off knees just enough of a break to recover for good.

Prevent It

Pay attention to knee tracking. There are loads of different lower body movements that involve both the squat and lunge variations.
Though each movement is unique and has many important factors to execute crisp, clean reps, starting off with an appreciation for where your knee should be positioned relative to your foot can clean up even the most pitiful form pretty quickly.
When reaching the bottom position for both the squat and lunge, the patella should be tracking over the lateral aspect of the foot.
Some coaches teach these movements with the knee directly over the midline of the foot, but I have seen this cue fall apart in terms of mechanics of motion many times.
By targeting the midline of your kneecap to track directly over your pinkie toe, the glutes and hamstrings are able to be targeted with just enough torque and spiral tension loading that the unwanted valgus collapse and anterior knee translation is minimized almost automatically.

#2  Lumbar Spine Injury

Lower Back
Though lower back pain affects nearly 80% of people every single year to some extent, a majority of lifters just aren't putting themselves in harm's way in terms of lower back dysfunction.
Sure, if you're a high level athlete that really straddles the line between optimal performance and potential injury there may be an argument that lower back pain and injury is the most prevalent in all of lifting. But from the research and thousands of living and breathing case studies, the numbers just don't match up.
The last time you trained at a commercial gym, were there more people on machines, or in the squat rack, or pulling weights from the floor?
Probably the machines. There are three to four squat racks at bestin the commercial gym setting and pulling from the floor is near impossible due to the strategically engineered octagonal plates that will leave you with bruised shins before you pull a PR.

Related:  4 Gym Machines That Need to Die

As for the high level athletics, there are a couple of interesting findings when it comes to the sports of powerlifting and CrossFit.
For the most part, recent research has shown CrossFit to be pretty back-friendly, except where powerlifting movements are concerned. Throughout the other specialties in CrossFit, such as endurance and Olympic lifting, lower back injuries are nearly non-existent.

Prevent It

Keep a neutral spine. Awareness of your spine's position is crucial to keeping it neutral when challenged with heavier loads, more demanding metabolic environments, or just reacting and correcting a lift that starts to lose form quick.
For the general purpose of lifting and weight training, there are three main lumbar spine positions to define: flexion, extension, and neutral.
Flexion through the lower spinal segments can be injurious, especially as other factors such as load, speed, and articulations of other joints come into play.
What most people don't realize is that excessive extension of the lower spine can also be equally as shitty in terms of injury prevention.
Don't flex or extend excessively when lifting. Use a semi-neutral spinal posture.
A neutral spine, through not perfectly straight, can be achieved by bracing your lumbo-pelvic stabilizers like the four layers of abdominal musculature and other surrounding structures and closing down the distance between the pubic bone and the bottom of the sternum.
The maintenance of this position will play a key role in not only protecting the back, but cleaning up your lifting form as well.

#1  Shoulder Injury

Bodybuilding-style training has carved its way into the general lifting population for the greater portion of the last two decades.
Many machines can be useful, but chronic adherence to movements that have no need for requisite shoulder stability or position to perform can be a slippery slope for joint and soft tissue health.
Another big issue is determining the correct settings to place (sometimes overly) complicated machines on to create force planes that target the muscles, not non-contractile tissues like the tendons, ligaments and joints.

Related:  Lifter's Shoulder: The Cause & The Cure

How about all those pretend choreographed lifting classes with the 10-pound barbell and four pound weights? That still counts as lifting. Love it or hate it, this is where a majority of people find themselves in the landscape of fitness.
Want to know a good way to ensure that you end up with a painfully dysfunctional shoulder that will keep you up at night with the kind of deep aches that may warrant a trip to the radiologist?
Do one of those pump classes containing 1,000 reps of dumbbell curls, followed by another 2,000 reps of overhead presses without any hope of keeping tight form or challenging muscles.
Follow that scenario up with heavy planking in heavy internally rotated shoulder positions, and there you have it, you're shoulders will be wrecked in no time.

Prevent It

Create spiral tension and torqued setup.
Not sure what that means? For all loaded movements, machines, free weights, barbells and kettlebells alike, there needs to be an emphasis placed not only on movement execution, but also optimal setup to ensure proper positioning and stability before a movement even begins.
The upper extremity is one of the most reactive regions of the body for creating functional spiraling and torque throughout its joints and tissues, thus leading to a highly centerated shoulder position capable of high performance and safety.
From the bench press to the machine press, pull-up to row machine, this same spiral loading mechanism can play a huge role in learning neutral positions of the shoulder that create a foundational setup to work off of once the movement begins.

Related:  More on Spiral Loading

The first step is finding this position and getting an appreciation for it. From there, maintenance throughout sets in different actions and planes of motion will ensure that you won't be falling victim to a largely preventable shoulder injury down the road.


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  2. Calhoon G, Fry A. Injury Rates and Profiles of Elite Competitive Weightlifters. J Athl Train. 1999 Jul-Sep;34(3):232-238.
  3. Hamil P. Relative Safety of Weightlifting and Weight Training. J Strength Cond Res. 1994 Feb;8(1).
  4. Siewe J, Marx G, et al. Injuries and Overuse Syndromes in Competitive and Elite Bodybuilding. Int J Sports Med. 2014 Oct;35(11):943-8.
  5. Siewe J, Rudat J, et al. Injuries and Overuse Syndromes in Powerlifting. Int J Sports Med. 2011 Sep;32(9):703-11.
  6. Weitz B. Minimizing Weight Training Injuries in Bodybuilders and Athletes. Topics in Clinical Chiropractic. 1997;4(2):46-56.
  7. Keogh J, Hume PA, Pearson S. Retrospective Injury Epidemiology of One Hundred One Competitive Power Lifters: the Effects of Age, Body Mass, Competitive Standard, and Gender. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Aug;20(3):672-81.
  8. Hak P, Hodzovic E, et al. The Nature and Prevalence of Injury During CrossFit Training. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Nov 22. [Epub ahead of print].
  9. Weisenthal BM, Beck CA et al. Injury Rate and Patterns Among CrossFit Athletes. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2014 2.

вторник, 29 сентября 2015 г.

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Strengthen Your Shoulders


June 11, 2013 | Nick Tumminello

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Looking for a challenging full-body exercise to test your core strength and stability? Try Adrian Peterson's Double Swiss Ball Push-Up, which blasts the small stabilizer muscles that are key to maintaining balance and form in all of your lifts.
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Next Video: Can You Handle Adrian Peterson's BOSU Plank With Abduction?
It's no secret that bodyweight training is a valuable exercise technique. It effectively challenges your muscles anywhere and anytime. However, if you don't know how to target your shoulders, it can be challenging to build them with only your body weight. (Try Thomas Jones' shoulder mass workout.)
Try these five simple bodyweight shoulder exercises to get bigger and stronger shoulders without using equipment. Perform two to three of them during an upper-body workout. Try to perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise, but adjust these numbers based on your fitness level.

1. Handstand Push-Ups

Don't be scared of the name—you don't ask a have to be able to perform the same type of handstand as a gymnast. Use a wall to support your body and maintain the position while you perform the presses.
Watch the video below to learn how to perform Handstand Push-Ups.

2. Pike Push-Ups

If you are unable to do a Handstand Push-Up or you're uncomfortable with the exercise, Pike Push-Ups can serve as a great alternative. Assume a position where your legs are supported so you don't have to press their weight and balance your body. However, don't be fooled. Your core must work even harder on this exercise than during Handstand Push-Ups.
Watch the video below to learn how to perform Pike Push-Ups.

3. Push-Back Push-Ups

We developed the Push-Back Push-Up at Performance University to convert a Push-Up from a chest and triceps exercise to a shoulder exercise. Put simply, it's a hybrid Push-Up variation that calls for a pressing action similar to what you perform during an Incline Press.
Watch the video below to learn how to perform Push-Back Push-Ups.

4. Reverse Burpees

We also developed the Reverse Burpee at Performance University as a more dynamic and explosive variation of the Push-Back Push-Up.
Watch the video below to learn how to perform Reverse Burpees.

5. Shoulder YTL Circuit

The shoulder YTL Circuit primarily works the rhomboids, middle trapezius and lower trapezius, but it also hits the deltoids. The other exercises above also hit the deltoids. So this will ensure that all of your shoulder muscles are strong and will help prevent injury.
Watch the videos below to learn how to perform the Shoulder YTL Circuit.

Shoulder Y's

Shoulder T's

Shoulder L's

Watch the video below to learn the best ways to perform the circuit.