Sunday, Monday, happy days, Tuesday, Wednesday, happy days, Thursday, Friday, happy days. The weekend comes, your right arm numbs, I’m here to help you.

   In fact, the shoulder issues you’ve had are worse. Amidst all of the pressing and pulling, mostly pressing, you forgot to target one of the most important muscles for well-rounded, healthy, shapely, shoulders. The usual thinking of a body builder or weight lifter needs to be adjusted. The whole world of fitness is evolving around the bodybuilding world, yet even pros are still doing the same splits and movements.

   Everyone wants the “Aesthetic V”, the boulder shoulders, the “skin toned shoulder pads”. So many people have trouble developing them thanks to the often under loved rear deltoids. In fact, with all of the pushing in bench press, incline press, shoulder press, flies, all of these contribute to your imbalanced shoulder. They all develop the anterior shoulder, leaving your posterior shoulder under active.

   Your hips and shoulders are the two most important and complex muscle groups to develop strength and mobility in. Imbalance will cause immobility and hinder strength. The rear deltoid is going to help you broaden your chest through shoulder retraction and decrease risk of shoulder injury. Bringing your shoulders back to a normal anatomical position will also give the appearance of that “aesthetic V”.

   Some basic yet under utilized movements can help; these movements are fun and a true testament to your upper body strength. First, the four motions, which engage the rear deltoid: extension, transverse abduction, and lateral rotation or external rotation.

   Shoulder Extension can be performed through Dumbbell Pull Overs and Straight Arm Cable Pull Downs. There are also machines to perform this motion. In the words of Eric Cressey ,“The pull over has fallen out of favor with the masses, after being popular in the past. People thought it would expand your rib cage and things like that” he continued, “I’m not sure why, as it definitely has some utility on a number of fronts.” If you still think it expands your rib cage, stop listening to the body builder in your gym that won a show that one time. Do your own research and get on this amazing movement pattern!

   Transverse abduction is achieved in movements such as a face pull. The typical row does utilize the posterior deltoid, but to be honest, there is more posterior deltoid activation the further your elbow gets from the latissimus dorsi or “lats”.

   Lateral Rotation is also known as external rotation. This is perhaps the most used posterior deltoid movement; unfortunately it is often improperly used and performed. In my eyes, getting the most bang for your buck while avoiding high injury probability is always the goal. The big issue is that this movement should not be too heavily loaded, in relation to other movements of course. Use bands and cables to perform the movement and not dumbbells. Additionally, perform the movement with the shoulder raised as if you are about to throw a dart at the bar. This will be the finishing position and keep you within the proper range of motion.

   Hit these movements, heel and develop your shoulders. Athletes, especially throwing athletes, should focus on extension and banded lateral rotation. If you are a body builder or something similar, keep a balance of all three movements, as well as with the other muscles of the shoulder. If your posterior shoulder is underdeveloped, increase it’s volume (or amount of total reps) by 20% more than the other movements of the shoulder and slightly cut down on the pressing volume.

by Herb Olsen

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