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hit4me

Florida, USA

my orthopedic Dr. and Physical therapist and my Chiropractor all have advised me to stop doing any kind of shoulder press exercises and shrug exercises due to a pinched nerve in the neck

they tell me to perform all types of laterals with light weight and high reps (i.e.12 to 15)but do not go higher than shoulder height
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Crotalus

I knew of this 'Shoulder Shocker' routine but just gave it a try today.

Wow ... what a killer ! After the front raise and laterals I could not believe how weak I was for the seated clean and presses .... embarrassed but happy I have this great new cycle to do.

Two cycles was it ... shoulders were fried !
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

Crotalus wrote:
I knew of this 'Shoulder Shocker' routine but just gave it a try today.

Wow ... what a killer ! After the front raise and laterals I could not believe how weak I was for the seated clean and presses .... embarrassed but happy I have this great new cycle to do.

Two cycles was it ... shoulders were fried !


I tried it too. Very humbling.

If you read the original thread, he makes some clarifications to some oversimplification in the article.

* Stop your overhead first and take a break.
* Start the band pulls right away.
* When you start back up on direct delt work, limit any shoulder work to lightER DB raises and the like.

AFTER, you have done these for a while, then cycle in the Shocker for 2-3 weeks.
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Crotalus

simon-hecubus wrote:

I tried it too. Very humbling.

If you read the original thread, he makes some clarifications to some oversimplification in the article.

* Stop your overhead first and take a break.
* Start the band pulls right away.
* When you start back up on direct delt work, limit any shoulder work to lightER DB raises and the like.

AFTER, you have done these for a while, then cycle in the Shocker for 2-3 weeks.


I was close ; been away from over head pressing about a year and been using nothing but raises . Missed the band pulls ...

Yeah, I couldn't believe how those light dumbells stayed on my shoulders after about 7 reps of the C&P like they weighed 100 lbs !

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entsminger

Virginia, USA

===Scott==
Back in my prime I used to workout at this real grimy plate head gym. There were these big guys who were heaving up monstrous poundage's to press and I would stand there with my 10 pound dumbells doing strict slightly leaning forward side laterals. I could tell they were laughing at the weights I used but my delts were much better developed than any of them.
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Average Al

A big overhead press (> BW) is a most impressive feat of strength. It requires quite a bit of muscle, and great core strength. It likely helps to have a favorable build (shorter arms, a favorable ratio of forearm to upper arm length, and good attachment points for the front delts).

As to whether or not it is safe: maybe it depends on how you perform the movement.

I know that if I flare my elbows wide, and try to do dumbbell presses, or do something like a behind the neck barbell press, it causes a good deal of pain in my shoulders, most certainly impingement of some kind tearing up muscle tissue. But if I keep my elbows pointed forward, and allow my arms to rotate to a comfortable position as I am extending, then I'm just fine.
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PTDaniel

In regards to shoulders, I like dumbbell scaption. Also when I "overhead" press, I barely clear the top of my head with the bar at the end of my ROM. The deltoids are in active insufficiency once your arms are higher than parallel to the ground so movement beyond this point is primarily trap and tricep contraction.
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hdlifter

In all my years/decades of training, only two moves ever did anything significant for my delts.

1) Scott Press (as I've covered before)

2) High Pull (thanks to Bill Sahli)

Had I done those from day one, avoided PBN (which was THE delt builder back in the day), and all the other exercises I wasted my time on, I would have had wider, thicker shoulders far sooner.
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Crotalus

At the gym today and saw a guy doing seated presses with 100 lb dumbells , multiple sets of around 6 reps or so. He was training alone so he cleaned them himself and used good form.

Very impressive although if you saw the guy on the street , you'd never think he could it. He looks like he trains, but you'd never think he'd be handling 100 lb DBs like he did.

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StuKE

Crotalus wrote:
At the gym today and saw a guy doing seated presses with 100 lb dumbells , multiple sets of around 6 reps or so. He was training alone so he cleaned them himself and used good form.

Very impressive although if you saw the guy on the street , you'd never think he could it. He looks like he trains, but you'd never think he'd be handling 100 lb DBs like he did.



According to so many articles over the years, he should have huge, cannonball delts from those multiple sets with 100 pounders. The truth is, it doesn't guarantee anything. The link between heavy weights and huge muscles is not so black and white.
I used to press my bodyweight on a bar for 5 or 6 reps twice a week. I weighed around 70kg and used full range with an Olympic bar. Not a huge weight I admit, but still, my bodyweight above my head for reps. The thing is, a guy much bigger than me, perhaps 90kg or more would press at the same time,not with me but near me and I never saw him use more than 40 kg AND he didn't make it look easy. He was not as muscular as me but obviously much bigger muscles and he wasn't fat, plus he was a regular, not a newbie.

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Average Al

You might enjoy this article about overhead pressing, written by the legendary Bob Hoffman of York Barbell:

"I have laid claim to the title, for some time, of the world?s worst presser. I know another instructor who is just as bad but he doesn?t brag about it as I do. All through my lifting career my poor pressing ability has been the bane of my existence. When I first received my barbell back in 1923, I made a bad press with 80 pounds and a clean and jerk with 150. A year later I could only two hands press 115, yet could clean and jerk 225 and bent press 150. Most any fairly strong fellow around the Y could press 115 so it was thought that my ability on other lifts was just knack. When I lifted shortly after my auto accident in 1932 against the German American A.C. in the first contest which we won from them, I pressed only 121 and cleaned and jerked 236. In our contests of 1931 and 1932 when the York Oil Burner A.C. was rising to the top of the weightlifting world, I repeatedly pressed only 135 and clean and jerked 260. In one contest I pressed 135 and clean and jerked 265."

"Just what is the trouble when a man can?t press, you?re wondering. I have lots of young men ask me to watch them pressing when they come to York, to tell them if their poor pressing ability is a question of bad leverage. Usually it is just lack of practice and shortage of strength. The width of shoulders in proportion to the length of the arms has something to do with it. The development of the shoulders has an important bearing on the pressing question, but the real reason for one?s pressing strength is the proportion of the length of the upper to the lower arm. Good pressers have long upper arms, poor pressers have short upper arms. If a man is so built that the Humerus bone of the upper arm is long in proportion to the length of the ulna and radius of the lower arm, that man can not hope to be a good presser."
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Average Al

Average Al wrote:
You might enjoy this article about overhead pressing, written by the legendary Bob Hoffman of York Barbell:

"I have laid claim to the title, for some time, of the world?s worst presser. I know another instructor who is just as bad but he doesn?t brag about it as I do. All through my lifting career my poor pressing ability has been the bane of my existence. When I first received my barbell back in 1923, I made a bad press with 80 pounds and a clean and jerk with 150. A year later I could only two hands press 115, yet could clean and jerk 225 and bent press 150. Most any fairly strong fellow around the Y could press 115 so it was thought that my ability on other lifts was just knack. When I lifted shortly after my auto accident in 1932 against the German American A.C. in the first contest which we won from them, I pressed only 121 and cleaned and jerked 236. In our contests of 1931 and 1932 when the York Oil Burner A.C. was rising to the top of the weightlifting world, I repeatedly pressed only 135 and clean and jerked 260. In one contest I pressed 135 and clean and jerked 265."

"Just what is the trouble when a man can?t press, you?re wondering. I have lots of young men ask me to watch them pressing when they come to York, to tell them if their poor pressing ability is a question of bad leverage. Usually it is just lack of practice and shortage of strength. The width of shoulders in proportion to the length of the arms has something to do with it. The development of the shoulders has an important bearing on the pressing question, but the real reason for one?s pressing strength is the proportion of the length of the upper to the lower arm. Good pressers have long upper arms, poor pressers have short upper arms. If a man is so built that the Humerus bone of the upper arm is long in proportion to the length of the ulna and radius of the lower arm, that man can not hope to be a good presser."


For some reason, the link didn't post. For the full article, google "The Best Way To Military Press (1937) by Bob Hoffman"
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Crotalus

StuKE wrote:
According to so many articles over the years, he should have huge, cannonball delts from those multiple sets with 100 pounders. The truth is, it doesn't guarantee anything. The link between heavy weights and huge muscles is not so black and white.


Yeah, very true.

I got so caught up in that training philosophy for so long .... but couldn't help it ... explained the way someone like Dr. Ken did, nothing made more sense to me.





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Nwlifter

Crotalus wrote:
StuKE wrote:
According to so many articles over the years, he should have huge, cannonball delts from those multiple sets with 100 pounders. The truth is, it doesn't guarantee anything. The link between heavy weights and huge muscles is not so black and white.


Yeah, very true.

I got so caught up in that training philosophy for so long .... but couldn't help it ... explained the way someone like Dr. Ken did, nothing made more sense to me.







coincidence, just talking about the strength and size myth with a couple fellow email friends, here is the email I sent them with my thoughts.



-----------------

Many people who have tried low frequency super high intensity training have reported they experienced great gains in strength with anything from very little muscle mass all the way to muscle size losses. This can be confusing, most were taught, and much of the science information shows that muscle size and strength are highly related. So how can a person get significantly stronger and not proportionally grow larger?

Think of Sherlock Holmes??If you eliminate the impossible, what ever is left, now matter how unlikely, must be true??.

OK, let?s do that. What is solid for sure facts with this scenario?
Fact 1 Strength did go up, a lot
Fact 2 Muscle size did not increase proportionally, or maybe didn?t increase at all
Fact? 3 3 Muscle strength is always related to muscle size

Ah ha, it?s number 3, it?s the only one that isn?t absolute solid fact. Number 1 and 2 are actual solid data, number 3 is an assumption that we take as fact. So how is this wrong?

The problem is this. Science shows us that a larger muscle has more potential force. But the actual force a muscle exerts is absolutely variable with how strongly it?s activated. We are also told, wrongly, that once were past beginner stages, we can fully activate our muscles.
Coaches and researchers have found that even super highly trained experienced weightlifters can increase their force by almost 20% over what they ?thought? was their absolute maximum, just through the excitement and stimulation of being at a competitive meet. Hypnotism has increased people?s strength by 30% over what they could exert voluntarily when absolutely ?trying as hard as they could?. Those people who lift part of a car up to save a loved one are estimated at putting out double or more of their supposed maximum force. Reading up on what happens, is when we try to put out maximum force, there are many neural inhibitory signals dampening that maximum neural output, it?s to protect joints, tendons and other structures, but when life or death is as steak, the surge of hormones along with a super neural output can override those signals and allow actual maximum muscle force, or very close to it.

Now, let?s look at the S.A.I.D. principle in regards to training. Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. What that means is, the systems that are demanded the highest from, are logically stimulated the most and will adapt the most. Ok, that?s simple.
Then let?s put that with super high intensity training. We take a load that we can do say roughly 8 times, each rep, due to fatigue is harder to complete. So with each rep, effort increases, inhibitory signals increase and we are consciously trying to override those, finally we get to a point in the set where our effort isn?t over riding those signals enough to keep force above what?s needed and failure occurs. If we ?knuckle down? and really really try, sometimes we might get one more rep. So what during that set was trained the hardest? The systems that control effort/neural ouput (through the overriding of inhibitory signals). So what system is going to adapt the most from that type of stimulus? Those same systems. So a week later, when you grab that same load, now you get 10 reps. It wasn?t from increased muscle size, you just got better at using your existing muscle mass, your brain learned how to ignore those inhibitory pulses and this let you push further into the ?effort zone?.

OK, that explains a rep or two, but you might say, ?what about people who add 100 to their bench?? Let?s look at what we are TRULY capable of. Take a mother who in the gym might be lucky to deadlift 150 lbs, even if you offered her 10,000 dollars, it?s all she can lift. Now lets say her child is pinned under a car and she lifts it and frees the child. AND, let?s be realistic, she didn?t lift ?the car? , she lifted one corner, up a bit, so she didn?t lift 3000 lbs, not 2000, not even 1000, probably more like 500-600 lbs. But, just for this purpose, let?s say it?s even less than that, maybe 400? How about 300 even? 300 is probably too low but to be safe, let?s say it was 300 lbs. But look at that, in the gym, 10 grand on the line, 150 lbs, but actually she can lift 300 if her CNS is full out for real. That?s 2x her voluntary maximum! So is it really, that far fetched to think that a person wouldn?t be able to increase their bench from 200 to 300 (only 50%, not 100-200% like the mother above), over a whole year or more of ?neural learning?, purely from those neural means? I think it?s very realistic, not only is it realistic, but unlike number 3 above that doesn?t match reality, this absolutely matches what so many people see who train with low volume, low frequency, super high intensity training. If their lifts are going up that much, with little to no muscle gain, the ONLY reason is that it stems from neural gains. Now we know, for sure, that number 3 is not a fact, that it IS wrong.

Another point that?s interesting, and further proof of this style of training being ?neural heavy? is this?
People who train like this, find that super high effort training requires really low frequency, they need 7, 10 or more days to recover strength after a workout. Many many studies have shown that physical muscle recovery from any training, if it?s something were accustomed to, happens in a few days. If someone is requiring a very long recovery time after neutrally intensive training, (super high effort) it?s revealing that it is in fact the nervous system that is ?inroaded? so heavily in the first place. This further works in line with the S.A.I.D. principle from above.

Lastly, when people do use their ?super human strength?, such as lifting a car off a loved one, most end up with torn muscles, joint injuries, damaged tendons, etc. This is from those inhibitory protective signals being overridden. Many people have seen or heard people report that super high intensity training can lead to injuries, this is HOW that is true. If one learns to use a higher and higher load, without physical adaptations to strengthen those structures, eventually there is a good chance that force will exceed tensile strength and an injury will occur.

So in a nutshell, logically, super high effort training (maximum neural output through overriding neural inhibitions) is the main aspect trained and is the main system (also logically) that adapts.


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S.M.Punisher

It's not about placing too much emphasis on getting stronger. But how one goes about it. Just because you're not demonstrating consistent strength gains in the exact same movement patterns doesn't mean you're not getting stronger.

You could be training with a lot of variation and gaining new muscle tissue, but because you don't really practice a certain groove of a movement week in week out the strength that comes with the new muscle goes "under the radar." But it's necessarily there, and it's actual muscular force potential - without taking into account neural/skill factors. Muscle can be neurally wired up with focused training to be able to demonstrate more strength in a specific movement pattern. More muscle always equals more potential strength. And it also means more force can be generated in an unexpected/unfamiliar (untrained) movement if need be (as I think I remember Brian Johnston pointing out on here some time ago).

Another scenario would be muscle gained on a higher-rep, higher-volume protocol while at the same time losing "strength" on more maximal lifts. All that's happening there in my opinion is a loss of neural adaptation that can be regained later for even bigger lifts with the new muscle built.

I'm convinced that the relationship between muscle size and actual muscle strength (different from neuromuscular strength/skill) is close to linear. You can't compare two people, one who lifts more than he looks capable of with another whose size appears to belie his poundages, and call into question the relationship. Individual to individual, to get significantly bigger you have to get significantly stronger - at least in a generally applied as opposed to a skill-specific sense. How you choose to go about it is another matter.

As Mentzer said - what are you supposed to do, get weaker?

I also suspect that people who have very efficient nervous systems, or rather people with a lot of potential to enhance their neuromuscular efficiency, while they may make great athletes or develop great strength (as I read Jones talking about in My First Half Century) will have a lot of extra work to do to gain muscle compared to a more average, less neurally gifted individual. It seems the body would prefer to a point to take advantage of the higher neural potential rather than actually build muscle.

Someone way stronger than he looks in a given movement will just have to get even stronger - if that's even possible given what his joints may be able to handle - if he wants to build muscle comparable to a person making up for a lack of supreme neuromuscular/athletic endowment with all that muscular bulk!
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Nwlifter

Yes, the rub is, a larger muscle has more potential strength, but just getting stronger, may or may not be from an increase in muscle size. People apparently have a lot of untapped strength potential, just from 'learning' to use our existing muscle mass. Training in such a way that taxes the nervous system and 'teaches' it to use muscle mass better, does just that....
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StuKE

I bought into the Dr Ken mindset too. I loved reading from hi and others about pushing harder and harder, going beyond what you thought possible each session. I don't mean past failure as such, but squeezing more reps out before failure. Of course, it is not bad advice as such, but it is flawed and can set you up for injury or burnout. Are we supposed to believe that you can only get bigger if you get stronger?

So if we have added 100 points to our 6 rep max bench (and let's say now we can now do 300 pounds for 6) does that mean if we don't keep pushing past that 300 we will never get bigger? Ok, suppose over the next 6 months we push it to 325 pounds for 6, or what about 2 years later, we are doing 375 for 6. Great! But eventually, over the years we would need to be benching 450 for 6.... It just isn't happening.

I'm 43, I was lifting decent weights for my size from my late teens, into my 30s. Can I really out lift my younger, more motivated, better rested, less busy and better focussed self? Nope. I can lift the same more or less on some exercises, perhaps I could lift more if my life had less distractions one, I had less niggles, injuries and wear and tear, but would I be able to at 50?

So if I can't lift as heavy as I did at 25, so I can't grow my muscles, what am I even training fore? A bit of a simplified point, but all I am trying to say is that strength is not everything in training.
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HeavyHitter32

Nwlifter wrote:
Yes, the rub is, a larger muscle has more potential strength, but just getting stronger, may or may not be from an increase in muscle size. People apparently have a lot of untapped strength potential, just from 'learning' to use our existing muscle mass. Training in such a way that taxes the nervous system and 'teaches' it to use muscle mass better, does just that....


Spot on.
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Nwlifter

Good thoughts!

str night is bot everything in training.

Ummm...
Oh strength is not everything in training?


I agree, the thing is, is hypertrophy is NOT for the purpose of being stronger, the muscles add fibrils to 'do some of the work' so the muscle isnt' fatigued as bad if you were to repeat that work level again. Strength is a 'side effect.
Hypertrophy is to prevent that deep of an 'inroad' from occurring again from that work level.

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S.M.Punisher

StuKE wrote:
Are we supposed to believe that you can only get bigger if you get stronger?


Yes.

You might max out the poundages you can reasonably (and safely) expect from a given lift, and therefore you might max out the total amount of muscle mass able to be built from doing that lift in a certain way. But by changing some aspect or some way of executing the exercise or by exploring new exercises you can stimulate new fibers or better stimulate relatively underused fibers that still have significant growth potential left.

I can't even conceive of how you could gain mass and not be able to demonstrate increased strength in at least some variety of movements and/or rep ranges (notwithstanding those in which you already maxed out your potential). Of course, the reverse is possible: getting stronger without adding mass. Neither can I imagine how anyone would even want to gain mass that had no carryover whatsoever to lifting or force generating capability.

And that raises the point that to even have built the muscle in the first place, which would necessarily have had to have been an adaption of the body to an imposed stress, would be proof of an expansion in some aspect of physical capacity. There is no such thing as a non-functional adaptation. If the adaptation of increased muscle mass weren't in the service of additional strength (or strength endurance) capacity, what would it serve?
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S.M.Punisher

Or to put it another way...

Think of the stress that stimulated the adaptive response of building muscle in purely practical terms. It literally involved you losing strength with each rep (or set) you did. If it weren't for that temporary loss of strength there'd be no stimulus. Therefore, the purpose of the adaptive response of muscle growth is to increase the muscle's strength - to make it more resilient to a stress which in essence is a strength-depleting stress.
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StuKE

Nwlifter wrote:
Good thoughts!

str night is bot everything in training.

Ummm...
Oh strength is not everything in training?


Ooops sorry! Yes, you are right. I have corrected it now.
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Nwlifter

I think a big part though, is 'why' we lost strength during a set, think of the S.A.I.D. principle....

If we are trying to get more reps, purely due to effort (ignoring inhibition signals to allow further increases in activation to counter fatigue), those systems, logically, would be the main ones stimulated and trying to adapt.

I'm still positive that hypertrophy isn't trying to make us stronger, it's trying to increase 'strength-endurance' of the muscles by adding more 'workers' (fibrils) to 'share the work', thus preventing that level of work from being such a survival threat if it's repeated again.

Logically, the body is adapting to 'what you did', not what it's guessing you 'might do next time'.




S.M.Punisher wrote:
Or to put it another way...

Think of the stress that stimulated the adaptive response of building muscle in purely practical terms. It literally involved you losing strength with each rep (or set) you did. If it weren't for that temporary loss of strength there'd be no stimulus. Therefore, the purpose of the adaptive response of muscle growth is to increase the muscle's strength - to make it more resilient to a stress which in essence is a strength-depleting stress.


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hit4me

Florida, USA

StuKE wrote:
Nwlifter wrote:
Good thoughts!

str night is bot everything in training.

Ummm...
Oh strength is not everything in training?


Ooops sorry! Yes, you are right. I have corrected it now.


how about just lifting for health reasons....looks, size and strength can be secondary benefits

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StuKE

S.M.Punisher wrote:
StuKE wrote:
Are we supposed to believe that you can only get bigger if you get stronger?

Yes.

You might max out the poundages you can reasonably (and safely) expect from a given lift, and therefore you might max out the total amount of muscle mass able to be built from doing that lift in a certain way. But by changing some aspect or some way of executing the exercise or by exploring new exercises you can stimulate new fibers or better stimulate relatively underused fibers that still have significant growth potential left.

I can't even conceive of how you could gain mass and not be able to demonstrate increased strength in at least some variety of movements and/or rep ranges (notwithstanding those in which you already maxed out your potential). Of course, the reverse is possible: getting stronger without adding mass. Neither can I imagine how anyone would even want to gain mass that had no carryover whatsoever to lifting or force generating capability.

And that raises the point that to even have built the muscle in the first place, which would necessarily have had to have been an adaption of the body to an imposed stress, would be proof of an expansion in some aspect of physical capacity. There is no such thing as a non-functional adaptation. If the adaptation of increased muscle mass weren't in the service of additional strength (or strength endurance) capacity, what would it serve?


Fair enough. I actually was meaning more specifically that we can't just keep increasing our 6 rep max indefinitely (for example), but we could still gain by doing more sets as in cumulative fatigue. Of course, if you can do say 6,6,6,5,3 with the chosen weight, but you increase it to 6,6,6,6,6 over time, then yes, you have got stronger - at least in the you can now do a total of 30 reps as opposed to your previous total of 26.
Increasing weight is important where you can, but it is not the only tool at our disposal.

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