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8 Best Shoulder Exercises That Build Huge Shoulders

8 Best Shoulder Exercises That Build Huge Shoulders

Back isn't for pretty-boys. The typical overly-tanned commercial gym prima donna rarely has a back worthy of a second glance, which isn't surprising considering it's not on the list of bar-star approved body parts.The back is the blue collar muscle group. You can't watch it get all pumped and swole while you train it, and the workouts are usually basic, brutally heavy, and exhausting. So when a new lifter shows up at the gym with yoked traps, wide lats, and 3D rhomboids, you have to respect them a little.They've spent years pulling some seriously heavy iron to achieve their comic book proportions. They've paid their dues. They deserve the attention.For bodybuilders, there's no such thing as having a back that's too big. Legs can over shadow the upper body, arms can grow disproportionate to the shoulders or chest, but no judge will ever deduct points for having too much back.At the highest levels, back is the muscle group that separates the best from the rest, so the bigger and freakier, the better. Haney, Yates, and Ronnie are among the greatest bodybuilders ever to set foot on stage and it's no coincidence that they also possess three of the best backs in bodybuilding history.Powerlifters and strongman competitors must also have tremendously strong backs. The back is the prime mover in the deadlift, which in a powerlifting competition is performed last and often decides the winner. You can't "gear" a deadlift (use special powerlifting equipment) and the only way to get a bigger one is to earn it through pulling heavy iron.A strong back is also vital to having a big squat and bench. You can't move huge weights in the squat without the back strength to support it, while in the bench strong lats are critical to being able to lower big weights in the proper groove and driving the bar off the chest. Ed Coan, the greatest powerlifter of all time, has said that the two most important muscle groups for powerlifting are the glutes and the back. Do you need a better endorsement?Even if stepping on a bodybuilding stage or powerlifting platform isn't in your plans, a big, strong back is still worth working for. For athletes, any sport that involves pulling, climbing, or physical contact will undoubtedly benefit from building a stronger back.Finally, in the real world, a big strong back is highly functional. Anytime you pick up something heavy, the back is doing the majority of the work, so when you lift a heavy box at work, it's your back strength that will determine your success.Deadlifting is the base upon which back strength is built. Deadlifts stress every major muscle group in the posterior chain, from the base of the erectors to the top of the traps. Ronnie Coleman and Johnnie Jackson possess two of the thickest and most powerful looking backs to ever grace a bodybuilding stage, and both men are capable of deadlifting over 800 pounds.Training the deadlift is surprisingly simple. Hit it hard and heavy and then let your body rest and grow. Deadlifting rep schemes are generally lower than most other compound movements. Sets of 5-10 reps work best for bodybuilding purposes, and for pure strength it's common to work up to heavy triples, doubles, even singles on a regular basis.Deadlifts have no need for fancy techniques like drop sets, super sets, or rest-pause sets. While it isn't a highly complex movement, it's an incredibly taxing one, and you have to be mindful not to over do it. This is especially true if you're also squatting heavy and performing heavy rowing movements.One effective system involves working in short three-week waves, followed by a down or deload week. Essentially, the weights are increased each week for three weeks with a corresponding decrease in the rep range, and then trained lightly or not at all the fourth week. I've had considerable success with this methodology.As you get stronger, volume and training frequency will usually need to be decreased to keep overtraining at bay. For those able to deadlift more than 700 pounds, deadlifting every other week works well.The lower back should still be trained hard during in-between weeks but with different exercises, such as good mornings, weighted back raises, and pull-throughs. This allows the lifter to train consistently heavy, facilitating significant strength gains, but also mitigates the likelihood of overtraining.There is no better exercise for back width than good old fashioned chin-ups.Note: When I refer to chins, it's the variation performed with either an overhand grip (pronated) or palms facing one another (neutral) grip.Chins are to back width as squats are to leg size. Lat pulldowns can be also used to add back size, but just like the leg press plays second fiddle to the squat, so do pulldowns to old school chins.Chins are most effective using a relatively high set and rep scheme. One of my favorites is to perform sets to failure using only bodyweight until I hit 100 reps. This usually takes me 4-5 sets, ranging from 25-30 rep sets at the start to 15 or so by the last set.I make a point of rotating my grip every set to hit the different areas of the upper back for complete back development. I begin with a very wide grip, move to a shoulder width/neutral grip for the second set, and then use a close grip on the third set. I return to the wide grip for the next set and continue the rotation until all reps are completed.While all variations of chins work the lats, wide grip chins preferentially target the outer lats and teres major, while the medium, close, and underhand grips shift the emphasis to the lower and inner lats. I also perform a very wide grip variation, which I refer to as "ultra wide grip chins," where I take a neutral grip on a special bar that's wider than most wide grip bars. This hits the outer back especially hard.One other key point is to focus on using the lats and to work through a full stretch of the muscle at the bottom of the movement and a full contraction at the top. Don't concern yourself with whether your chin actually clears the bar; the last few inches of the movement involve mostly the biceps and not the upper back.Many will have a hard time performing even a few decent reps due to excess body fat or low strength levels. Fortunately, many commercial gyms have chinning machines with counter weights that assist in the chin movement until you can perform bodyweight chins proficiently.Another effective solution is to use a Jump Stretch band, made popular by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell fame. Simply loop the band around the center of the chin bar, pull one end through the opening of the other end and cinch it up tight. Then step into the bottom loop with both feet and the band will provide the necessary assistance. Experiment with different strength bands until you can perform chins on your own.There are several effective rowing variations and your specific leverages will determine which works best for you. However, rotating between all the movements often yields the best results. The most useful variations for building thick slabs of upper back muscle are the standard barbell row, T-bar rows (done old-school style with a barbell and V-handle), and heavy dumbbell rows. These exercises should all be performed with a moderate to high volume and rep range and with as heavy weight as possible. The upper back is a large, complex body part and needs to be hit heavy and hard, and from multiple angles.Of course, any back article I write wouldn't be complete without mentioning what Jim Wendler has dubbed the "Kroc row." The Kroc row is nothing more than a very high rep dumbbell row performed with a ridiculously heavy dumbbell. Done correctly, Kroc rows should leave you gasping for air like a drop set of heavy squats while building upper back size and strength like nothing else.Kroc rows build strength that transfers well to improving the deadlift lockout, and when performed without straps will build a vice-like grip. Emphasis should be placed on the weight and the number of reps achieved. My personal records are 175 lbs. x 40 reps, 205 lbs. x 30 reps (both without straps), and 300 lbs. x 13 reps (with straps). Kroc rows can be performed with one hand and one knee on a flat bench, or while standing bent at the waist with one hand braced against a dumbbell rack.Focus on getting a good stretch at the bottom by lowering the shoulder until the lats are fully extended, and pulling the dumbbell up in a straight line until it lightly brushes the upper abs/lower chest area.Do NOT try to keep your elbow tucked and pull the dumbbell to your belt line, the form preached by every pencil necked personal trainer and keyboard warrior. Due to the leverages involved, this overly strict technique severely limits the amount of weight that can be used and is ineffective for all but the newest of trainees.Think of this overly-strict form as the lat training equivalent of a triceps kickback whereas Kroc rows are heavy close grip bench press. One will add slabs of muscle and build freakish strength while the other only looks good if wearing a pink leotard.Here's a recap. A. Deadlift Week one: Work up to one heavy set of 5 reps in 4-5 sets. Week two: Work up to one heavy set of 3 reps in 4-5 sets Week three: Work up to a heavy single in 4-5 sets. Week four: No deadlifting. RepeatB. Chin-up Warm up. Then perform as many sets as necessary to total 100 reps, alternating each set between a wide overhand grip, a medium neutral grip, and a close neutral or underhand grip. Each week try to achieve the 100 reps in fewer sets. When you can achieve this in four or fewer sets, add weight.C. Kroc rows Work up to one all-out set (with each arm) of 20-30 reps with as heavy a dumbbell as possible. Every week strive to set a new rep PR. When able to perform 30 reps, increase the weight. Don't do the wimpy where you keep your elbow tucked!A thick, wide back looks freaky on stage and means serious business wherever life takes you. A thick chest and massive quads might look impressive, but nothing transfers from the gym to the real-world like a powerful set of lats, traps, and erectors.It's a statement of strength and power that commands respect. It's time to shake up your workout, stimulate new muscle gains, and lose some fat. Try this training template. Foods you should be eating, plus foods to avoid or at least cut back on. Check out the lists. Easy to make, packed with protein, stupidly delicious. Get the simple recipe here. Sets of 50-100 reps, performed with a minimum number of pauses, can be used to break plateaus, build muscle, or burn fat. Here's how. Is doctor-prescribed HCG monotherapy better than testosterone replacement therapy? Here's what you need to know. What would happen if you did push-ups and bodyweight squats every day? It's crucial to health anyhow, so you've got no excuse not to take it. Add this to your coffee to increase exercise performance and boost mental energy. Most people don't get enough of it. And now we know this can lead to muscle strains and hernias. Here's how to wake up and prepare your body for your toughest lower-body workout. It builds your shoulders and strengthens your core, but most of all it looks cool. Here's your step-by-step guide. You may not be doing P90X, but plenty of your schmuck friends are. Let them read this and save them from mediocrity. Newbies and lifters who can't make gains anymore have something in common. Take a look. Think you know everything about arm training? Think again. Check out these proven techniques for biceps, triceps, and forearms. One row to build your back and biceps, boost your deadlift, and even improve your posture. Check it out. Jim Wendler's 5/3/1/ program promises slow and steady gains that will eventually turn you into the strongest guy in the gym. And it delivers, every time. You can't really improve your deadlift unless you really know what happens when you pull serious weight. Here’s your guide. Despite the draconian laws and the alleged health risks, steroid use continues to rise in America. But here's what you don't know. One rep, three phases. This overload method will not only challenge you, it'll pack muscle on your weakest body parts, fast! Sometimes success involves studying the habits of unsuccessful people and then doing the opposite. Here are five of their bad training habits. This much-maligned piece of gym equipment can do something no other machine can do. Check this out. Leg day shouldn't involve knee pain. Here's how to make your knees feel great again so you lift heavier and crush PRs. Partial reps, isolation exercises, high rep sets: All bad in the eyes of performance and strength coaches, but all very effective for building slabs of muscle. Bodybuilding is full of programs used by "enhanced" lifters, but most people don't take drugs and can't get good results. This effective program is for them. Here's how to target this often neglected muscle. It's Free!Expert Insights To Get Stronger, Gain Muscle Faster, And Take Your Lifting To The Next Level



165 to 210252Dumbbell, Physio-BallLow Impact, ToningFar too many people focus on abdominal work, and then completely neglect the complimentary back muscles. Aside from all of the superficial benefits in regularly training this particular aspect of your core, strengthening your back muscles can play a huge role in warding off lumbar pain, stiffness, and injury. Make sure that you warm up before jumping right into this home workout video with at least 5 minutes of light cardio. Back Bows – This Pilates exercise is a great way to use your own bodyweight to tone your upper and lower back. As an added bonus, lifting your legs up off of the ground, along with that upper body, ends up toning your obliques, glutes, and hamstrings as well. Russian Twists – Doing the twisting motion at an angle engages your entire core; obliques, abdominals, and general lumbar region. You can easily make this more challenging by holding onto a dumbbell through the motion, or by lifting your feet up off of the ground and balancing on your tailbone. Pilates Swimmers – While the primary benefit of is that these are a low impact way to engage both the lower and upper back simultaneously, these actually end up being a total body exercise. It might take a few awkward motions before you get your arms and legs in synch, so don’t get frustrated if you take an extra few seconds to get your upper & lower body coordinated. Make sure that you use smooth, controlled motions and never jerk in order to get more range of motion as this can increase the likelihood of injury. Roll Downs – Standing tall with a light pair of dumbbells, roll your upper body down towards the ground as far as you can before uncurling as you come back up. Make sure to roll shoulders forward and focus on “rolling” your back down downwards, keeping your chest and shoulders relatively close to your thighs. As long as you choose a light weight, this is great for your lower back. Kneeling Supermans – This is a low impact back exercise that feels great as a sort of a partial stretch. Make sure and squeeze at the top of each motion in order to get the most toning from the movement – not only in the upper and lower back, but also in the glutes. Reverse Fly – For this motion that targets the rhomboids of the upper back, keep your back flat and a slight bend in your knees. Aim to get your arms just above the level of your chest, with your hands roughly out at the level of your ears. If you don’t have dumbbells, don’t let that stop you; you can always use resistance bands, water bottles, or cans of soup. Physio Ball Back Extensions – For this one, you will need an open wall in order to steady your feet as an anchor to complete the extensions over the ball. Make sure to get as full a range of motion as you can by wrapping forward over the Physioball as far as you comfortably can before raising back upward. Controlled, slow motions should be your priority with this movement. Medicine Ball Pendulum Swing – Keep your back and legs straight for this motion, rotating very slowly in order to fully engage the back and obliques. This should not literally be a “swing”; you should be in full control of the movement through the entire range of motion – do not use momentum. If you don’t have a medicine ball, a dumbbell works just as well. Make sure that you stretch thoroughly after this workout. Though the key muscle groups in this workout are the lower & upper back, most of the exercises are dynamic enough that they end up incorporating many other muscles, bumping up the calorie burn a bit; we estimate that this routine burns 165-210 calories total.Copyright © 2017 Fitness Blender. All rights reserved.Terms and ConditionsCopyright © 2017 Fitness Blender. All rights reserved.Terms and Conditions





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