Q: I’m using the full Positions-of-Flexion delt routine [from the 3D Muscle Building e-book], but my shoulders still suck. I do dumbbell upright rows (midrange), incline one-arm laterals (stretch), and standing laterals (contracted). I also do dumbbell presses after that and bent-over laterals [for rear delts]. I do two working sets for each exercise. I’m wondering if I should add more exercises and more sets. Or should I just train harder?
A: It sounds like you’re pretty frustrated, so you’re probably blasting your delts damned hard already. Training harder probably isn’t the solution.
How about increasing volume? A few more sets may produce more mass; however, before you go that route, which can sap recovery ability, we suggest you try some exercise manipulation…
As we’ve mentioned before, the delt fibers in all three heads run at many different angles and trajectories. That’s because that muscle controls a ball-and-socket joint—the shoulder must be able to move the arm on a variety of planes at various angles.
Also, keep in mind that as any muscle contracts, different fibers engage and disengage along the stroke. That means as you lift your arm in a lateral raise, different fibers fire throughout the movement.
On laterals, most trainees don’t get their arms parallel, much less higher than parallel. That’s fine for those who have superior fiber number and recruitment, but if you’re somewhat deficient, you may be missing fibers that fire at the very top of the stroke. To get that top-end contraction, your upper arms must get above shoulder height. We suggest you substitute one or both sets of your standing laterals raises with one-arm leaning laterals…
Hanging onto an upright, feet next to the base, and leaning out at arm’s length changes the angle of medial-head contraction, focusing on the top end of the stroke, the area most trainees miss.
Also, one-limb, or unilateral, movements have been shown to innervate the target muscle more effectively, forcing more fiber activation. You’ll definitely feel it. And if you do the exercise correctly and don’t go overboard with the weight, the one-arm leaning laterals should produce new delt roundness, helping you look side-to-side wide.
You can work that unique contracted-position exercise into any POF delt routine in any of our e-books. For example, to get a fascia-expansion effect, as explained in X-Rep Update #1, superset one-arm leaning laterals (pictured above) with incline one-arm laterals (pictured below)…
That gives you continuous tension and maximum contraction at the top end of the lateral range with the leaning laterals. Then, with your delt pumped, you immediately move to the incline one-arm laterals—for that same side—to work the bottom range of the lateral arc and achieve a full stretch on the medial head.
Full-range work for max-fiber recruitment plus fascia expansion to allow new growth is a double-barreled mass accelerator. Fascia expansion is an innovative method to make Positions-of-Flexion’s full-range mass-training effect even better—and give you fuller, rounder, eye-popping delts fast. Prepare to grow. [There’s a complete X-Rep POF fascia-expansion workout in the X-Rep Update #1 e-book, as well as more innovative mass techniques.]
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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