Just when you thought you had the perfect weekly workout routine nailed down, new and inventive exercises come along that offer plenty of reason to either be added to that routine or to replace an exercise you’ve been performing for some time.
In this instance, we’re talking about the shoulders – an incredibly important muscle group, since the shoulders are responsible for allowing an array of upper body movements. If you can effectively build up all three sections of your shoulder muscles (front, middle and back), you’ll appear broader and really start to fill out your t-shirts and shirts.
The latest shoulder workout we believe you should definitely be trying comes from 49-year-old fitness trainer Paul Sklar. Paul regularly posts videos of himself working out, often making use of routines, tricks and hacks he’s developed, all with the common goal of helping you whack on those gains.
Check out fitness trainer Paul Sklar’s shoulder workout series in the video below.
What he calls his “favourite shoulder and trap series of all time”, Paul’s rather brutal shoulder workout requires the use of a barbell with some weight added on, and two exercises performed back to back. These are a clean and an overhead press.
A clean refers to the clean lift in Olympic weightlifting. While an Olympic powerlifting coach should be the only person to teach how to perform it effectively, this is more the case when you’re looking to lift some serious weight. In the case of Paul’s shoulder workout, keeping the bar relatively light, should mean you can follow some simple instructions.
Starting with the barbell hanging in front of your thighs, you then want to bend your knees slightly and push up, using the force generated to help you lift the bar up to your shoulders and collar bone. It’s often suggested the clean lift is a pull movement since it’s believed it’s your shoulders and traps that pull the bar upwards. However, much of the movement relies on the force you generate through your hips and legs, making it more of a push movement.
With the barbell at your shoulders, you now want to perform an overhead press. This requires you to remain standing tall and lift the barbell over your head, using your shoulders and traps.
Paul says that during the overhead press, “you want to make sure you keep your glutes and your core tight. Also make sure your elbows remain underneath your wrists to increase power transfer.”
His routine requires you to perform one clean lift, followed by one overhead press. Then, another clean lift with two overhead presses. The single clean remains constant throughout the movement, while the overhead press increases by one rep, up to a maximum of five reps.
Paul adds: “If you get it right, you should barely be able to move the barbell at the end of the series.” If you find you are struggling as you increase the number of overhead press reps, then you can incorporate the push press, which sees you bending your knees and pushing up during the overhead press to help with momentum.
Again, if you’re attempting this shoulder workout series for the first time, make sure to keep the weight to a minimum. Your muscles will inevitably become fatigued as you progress through the reps, and if you attempt to press the weight over your head and it’s too heavy, you run the risk of sustaining an injury.
“Pay close attention to form and watch the gains happen.”