How I Got My Shoulders

Question

I’ve seen some pictures online and you have great shoulders. Were they always wide, and what exercises have helped most in developing them?

Answer

There’s an old saying in bodybuilding that you can’t hide weak shoulders, and they’re absolutely right

The trouble is that due to all the bench pressing that goes on, the front delts are way over-developed. This pulls the entire upper body forward, which in addition to leading to injuries ruins shoulder appearance IMO.

You can spot these people a mile away by the way their palms are rotated backward. You can usually find them in the bench press area LOL.

This is a tell tale sign they have weak (sometimes non-existent) rear delts and just begging for an injury.

My Story

In terms of how I got there? Here’s my story…

First, my genetics actually favor narrow shoulders – so I had to build them.

I would tell you that in my youth, I did plenty of overhead pressing – both standing and seated. I also did something called the Bradford Press, which is controversial but worked wonders in my case.

I would also tell you that I was blessed with bulletproof shoulders in my youth, so they allowed me to work those pressing movements hard. I never did so called isolation movements for my shoulders either – things like DB side laterals or front raises were never on the table.

Instead, I wound up building them by default. Meaning that because I usually super-setted a pulling movement with a pushing, I built strong front/medial and rear delts doing things like dips and chins, flat DB presses and seated cable rows etc.

In my late 40’s though, I could no longer overhead press due to severe arthritis in my right elbow
and the pictures I saw didn’t lie – I lost a LOT of shoulder development because of it.

What brought my shoulders back fast were two movements: Handstand shoulder presses and shoulder presses using (here it is again), the leverage squat machine.

It took many months before I built up to being able to perform handstand shoulder presses, but boy did they deliver. And for what reason I’m not sure, but I can do them pain free – they don’t seem to bother my elbow in the least.

The leverage squat shoulder presses I perform in very strict style.. no leg drive and sloooow negatives. The pain there is minimal, and the amount of weight I can use substantial. It didn’t take long for my shoulders to come roaring back.

I have Maximus doing something similar, and he had extremely narrow shoulders to begin with. They’re filling out quite a bit now, and his back is coming along with it.

Nothing fancy: Trap Bar deadlifts, supersets dips and chins and he’s doing push presses on the leverage squat. He didn’t want to learn the handstand pushup, so instead I have him overhead pressing with a Trap Bar.

If your gym has one and the sleeves are long enough on each end, I highly recommend it.

Bottom Line

Experiment to find at least 2 compound pressing movements for your shoulders. Always ensure you perform 1 pull for every push, rep for rep and set for set. Easy way to do that is superset things, as it’s a dynamite stimulus for growth anyway. You’ll kill 2 birds with one stone, and be on your way to bowling ball delts in no time…

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Coach Rob Regish

Coach Rob Regish

Rob Regish is an internationally recognized name in the field of health and fitness. He's been a weekly contributor to Superhumanradio.net for almost a decade, answering listener questions from around the world.

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