Tips on Shoulder Workout Design

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Unless you are a powerlifter or Olympic lifter, I really can't see the need to perform any isolation work for the anterior deltoid with exercises such as the Front Dumbbell Raise. The fact is that the anterior deltoids usually receive more than enough development from the high volume of chest work that most lifters employ—if they have even a moderate level of machismo—so additional work will probably result in overtraining. What most bodybuilders need is to work very hard on exercises for the lateral and posterior heads of the deltoids.

Regardless of the exercises performed, one of the most confusing aspects of designing a shoulder workout (or any workout, for that matter) is determining how many sets and reps to perform. Powerlifters and Olympic lifters have built impressive shoulders using low reps for multiple sets, whereas there are plenty of bodybuilders who have achieved fantastic deltoid development by concentrating on high reps and fewer sets. I believe that the best approach is a combination of both methods, which means that you would perform periods of high reps, alternated with periods of lower reps.

If you need to get into a shoulder specialization program, you will have to cut back on the amount of work you devote to other bodyparts, particularly the chest muscles. And for maximum results, the shoulders should be trained first in a training session.

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