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Nick Tumminello’s Full Spectrum Bodybuilding: Shoulders

FSB-Shoulders

Are you looking for a training system that will ensure every shoulder workout you do is as effective as possible at building bigger and stronger delts? Well look no further because you’ve come to the right place!

By Nick Tumminello

Full Spectrum Bodybuilding (FSB) is a plug and play training system we developed at Performance U to more effectively put workouts together in order to create the optimal training stimulus for muscle growth.

Everything you need to know about our FSB system is covered in my first article in this series – Full Spectrum Bodybuilding: 101.

Also, to get caught up on the FSB workout articles I’ve done so far:

Go here to check out my Full Spectrum Bodybuilding: Chest

Go here to read my Full Spectrum Bodybuilding: Quads

In this article I’m covering how we use the FSB system to build shoulders like boulders!

3 Types of FSB Exercise Classifications for Shoulders

In the FSB system we categorize exercises as three types based on how they create a Point of Maximal loading on the muscle (PML). This classification system includes compound and isolation exercises with both free weights and plate loaded machines. The three types are:

1. Exercises that create the most load (PML) on the muscle (or muscle group) in the lengthened position. These exercises create the most muscle damage – that’s a good thing!

2. Exercises that create the most load (PML) on the muscles in the mid-range position. These exercises aid in increasing motor unit-recruitment.

3. Exercises that create the most load (PML) on the muscle (or muscle group) in the shortened position. These exercises tend to create the best muscle pump.

In each of our FSB Shoulder Workouts (below), we’re sure to incorporate one exercise from each category in every workout to ensure that we’ve done all we can to maximize muscle growth.

Additionally, in each FSB workout, we also include at least one exercise using a CAM style machine because they allow us to keep a consistent resistance on the target muscle(s) throughout the entire range of motion. This is a benefit that is unique to CAM style machines and cannot be gained from free weights and cables.

The Best SHOULDER Exercises in Each FSB Category:

Exercises that create a PML on the shoulders in their lengthened position:

Push Back Push-Up
Band Lateral Raises
Side Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raises (on flat bench)
Dumbbell Front Raises (on incline bench)
Cable One-Arm Side Raises
Cable One-Arm Front Raise

Exercises that create a PML on the shoulders in their mid-range position:

Barbell Overhead Press
Dumbbell Overhead Press
Arnold Shoulder Press
Shoulder-to-Shoulder Press
Side Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raises (on incline bench)
Angled Barbell Press

Exercises that create a PML on the shoulders in their shortened position:

Dumbbell Side Raise
Dumbbell Front Raise

CAM Machine:

Shoulder Press Machine (preferably from Technogym or of a similar design)
Later Raise Machine

Note: Rear-delts have intentionally been left out of this article, as they will be included in the Back training installment of this FSB series.

Properly Performing the FSB Shoulder Exercises

Most of the exercises on this list are classic moves that you’re already familiar with. Here’s the breakdown of exercises that may be new to you and a few new tips for getting more out of old school bodybuilding exercises.

Push Back Push-Up

It’s well known that push-ups are a great way to build your chest and triceps. But, with a little purposeful creativity, we’ve developed a new push up variation, which we call the “Push Back Push Up”, that will turn this classic battle-tested move into a shoulder builder.

X-Band Lateral Raises

Performing lateral raises with a rubber resistance band anchored under your feet with the handles crossed creates a 45-degree (diagonal) force vector for your shoulders to work against. This hits your delts in a different way than when using dumbbells, which create a purely vertical force vector (due to the pull of gravity).

Here’s how we combine both an X-band and dumbbells to make our lateral shoulder raises much more effective:

Side Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raises (on flat bench)

On the side lying lateral shoulder raise, the hardest part of the action is where your hand is close to your hip, which is the easiest part of the action when performing traditional (standing) lateral raises. Changing your body position under gravity creates unique loading patterns which hit your delts in a different manner.

Side Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raises (on incline bench)

Side Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Lying on an incline bench shifts the PML on the delts to a different part in the ROM.

Put simply, changing body position helps us to continually create a new training stimulus from classic exercises like lateral raises.

Dumbbell Front Raises (on incline bench)

Much like side raises, when performing the standing front raises, the most difficult part of the action is when your arms reach a 90-degree angle with your torso. However, when performing front raises on an incline bench, the most difficult part of the action (i.e. the PML) is much earlier in the range of motion when your arms are around 45 degrees to your torso.

To perform this exercise, lie on an incline bench as if you were going to do an incline bench press and do your front raises from that position.

Cable One-Arm Side Raises

By using your outside hand to perform the side raises (the one that’s furthest from the cable) you create a 45 degree (diagonal) load vector on the delts that you don’t get when using dumbbells, which create a purely horizontal load vector.

Cable One-Arm Front Raises

This follows the same concepts as above, just applied to the front raise.

Shoulder-to-Shoulder Press

This is one of our favorite shoulder press variations because it really pumps up your shoulders, feels natural to do and adds a new shoulder-training stimulus to traditional overhead pressing. It also brings in some activation from the core muscles to stabilize your torso.

Angled Barbell Press

This is like a standing incline press but more shoulder intensive. Plus, since you’re on your feet and only pressing with one arm, this move lights up your core muscles in order to maintain your body position against the offset load which gives this move an “athletic” component.

Furthermore, we’ve found this exercise to be a very shoulder friendly alternative to overhead pressing for those who experience pain or have trouble performing traditional shoulder presses.

If you like this exercises as much as we do, you’ll love the Angle Barbell Training: The Best Landmine Exercises DVD we did with Bert Sorin, owner of Sorinex Equipment and inventor of the Landmine and angled barbell training.

FSB Shoulder Workouts

Below are four sample FSB Shoulder workouts using the exercise applications provided above.

Here are a few notes to help you better understand the rationale behind these FSB workouts:

- In each of our FSB workouts, we shoot for a total of 12-20 total sets per muscle each week. Unless we’re training a muscle group multiple times per week, we’ll do all the sets in one workout

- We usually choose one exercise from each of the 4 categories (the three above + CAM Machines).

- To increase the overload and workout volume, we’ll included 2 exercises that create the PML on the shoulders in the mid-range.  These are usually overhead pressing variations since we’ve found they give us the biggest muscle-building bang for our buck.

Workout 1

PML in Mid – Arnold Shoulder Press 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (each leg)
PML in Stretch – Dumbbell Front Raises (on incline bench) 3 sets x 10-15 reps
PML in Short – Dumbbell Side Raises 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps
CAM Machine – Machine Shoulder Press 2-3 sets x 10-15 reps

Workout 2

PML in Short – Dumbbell Front Raise 3- 4 sets x 8-15 reps
PML in Stretch – Cable One-Arm Side Raise 2-3 sets x 10-15 reps(per arm)
PML in Mid – Barbell Overhead Press 4-5 sets x 6-10 reps
CAM Machine – Machine Lateral Raises 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps

Workout 3

PML in Stretch – Cable One Arm Front Raise 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
PML in Mid – Angled Barbell Press 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps (each arm)
PML in Short – Dumbbell Side Raises 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps
CAM Machine – One Arm Machine Shoulder Press 2-3 sets x 10-12 reps
PML in Stretch – Push Back Push-Ups 2 sets x max reps (burnout)

Workout 4

CAM Machine – Lateral Raise Machine 2-3 sets x 10-15 reps
PML in Stretch – Side Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raises (on flat bench) 2-3 sets x 8-12 reps (each arm)
PML in Stretch – Push Back Push-Up 3-4 sets x max reps
PML in Short – Dumbbell Front Raises 3 sets x 45-60 seconds
PML in Mid – Shoulder-to-Shoulder Press 2-3 sets x 6-10 reps (each side)

Additional FSB Training Tips

Order of Exercises

For the most part, we follow the general rule of thumb of performing compound exercises before isolation exercises. However, occasionally we’ll mix up the order of our exercises to create training variety.

Order of PML

There’s no order for performing exercises based on their PML. This is another component of the FSB workouts we often mix up to further spice up the workouts.

Sets & Reps Schemes

Any set/rep schemes can be applied to the FSB system to keep “shocking” your muscles. The sets/rep recommendations (above) are kept general to explore all the available options for sets and reps is beyond the scope of this article series.

Adding in Other Muscles to your Workout

Each article in this FSB training series focuses on a specific muscle group and only provides exercises and workouts for that group. As many bodybuilders commonly do, we often train multiple muscle groups together on the same day.

In the final installment of my FSB article series, I’ll bring it all together and show you how to combine workouts from each article into sample weekly training splits.

Coming Up Next…

The next article in this series will cover FSB for HAMSTRINGS!

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