Q: I’m using Jonathan’s 10-Week Size Surge Workout [in the 3D Muscle Building e-book], and for shoulders, it has dumbbell upright rows as the first exercise for midrange work; then I do incline one-arm laterals for stretch, and then standing laterals [contracted]. I added two sets of dumbbell presses after that for more shoulder size, as you’ve suggested, for some overhead shoulder work. My question is, Why do you sometimes recommend presses first? Aren’t those dangerous for your shoulder joints?
A: We only do behind-the-neck presses first if we use a technique that allows lighter weight, such as negative-accentuated (six-second lowering), 4X, 10×10, TORQ, etc. As you said, in the quest for shoulder size, heavy weights on behind-the-neck exercises can wreck your rotator cuffs.
For heavy pressing at the start of a shoulder workout, we use either Smith machine military presses (to the front) or dumbbell presses…
So why presses first at all? Variation. We sometimes get burned out doing dumbbell upright rows first. We still feel that DB upright rows are the Ultimate Exercise for the medial-delt heads; however, pressing is a decent midrange option for the shoulders every so often, even if they emphasize the front heads more than the sides.
The side heads do come into play on any type of overhead press, whether you do them to the front or behind the neck. But the behind-the-neck version tends to emphasize the side head more than front presses because your arms stay back in line with your torso. That’s why we use the behind-the-neck version when we can—but, like we said, only with lighter weights. In other words, not on during any power-week training if or when we do that.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Protect Your Family!
Mike Westerdal is a renowned personal trainer and national best-selling physical preparedness author, but he’s also a father and a husband… who would do anything to protect his family.
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