1. Pakulski trains shoulders once weekly.
True or False
Answer: False “My shoulders have always been big and strong since I was a kid, and I’ve always been very meticulous with my form. Since my shoulders are such a strength now, I tend to get a workout in only once every 10 to 15 days. In contrast, I work my back twice a week to bring it up. For another bodybuilder, this may be reversed. Work your strengths less and your weaknesses more. Most bodybuilders will want to hit shoulders at least once every seven days.”
2. He usually starts his shoulder routine with:
A) Dumbbell overhead presses
B) Hammer strength overhead presses
C) Lateral raises
Answer: C “I don’t always go with laterals first. I switch it up, depending on how I feel. But more times than not, I emphasize my medial delts first in a shoulder routine. I usually do four or five sets of laterals. People tend to overemphasize anterior delts, but it’s medial delts that give you most of your shoulder width. And when it gets down to it, in bodybuilding you just can’t be too wide.”
3. Pakulski brings the dumbbells together at the top of front raises.
True or False
Answer: True “I lift both dumbbells simultaneously, and at the top [arms parallel to the floor] I bring the dumbbells together. As well as flexing the shoulder, the other function of the anterior delts is abduction of the shoulder joint, which occurs when you bring your arm across the mid-line of your body. So this incorporates both functions of the front delts: flexion and abduction. It also gives me a good squeeze across my chest. Sometimes, I’ll incorporate a shoulder workout with a chest workout, so this is a good tie-in for front delts as well as chest.”
4. What unique way of hitting front delts did Pak-Man learn from training with Charles Glass?
A) One-arm cable front raises
B) Upright rows with bar held one foot in front of body
C) 45-pound plate raises
D) All of the above
Answer: C “I do plate raises sometimes instead of using dumbbells or a barbell [for front raises]. Charles likes them. It seems to work really well for me. I guess the logic is, with the external rotation of the shoulder joint, you kind of get underneath the plate more than you usually do with dumbbells or a barbell.”
5. How does Pak-Man usually do his laterals?
Standing or Seated
Answer: Seated “I usually like to do them seated, which is just a personal preference. I keep my elbows slightly bent and my arms rigid and take ‘em straight out to the sides, very controlled, no swinging. I raise my upper arms to parallel [to the floor] or just slightly above. One thing I do that most people don’t is I actually shorten my abdominal wall by contracting my abs down. This prevents any type of backward lean, and it keeps the tension on my medical delts as opposed to switching it to my front delts at the top of reps.”
6. Which technique does he prefer for increasing the intensity of lateral raises?
A) Descending sets
B) Forced reps
C) Supersetting laterals with upright rows
D) None of the above
Answer: A “I do descending sends on the laterals to up the intensity and bring a lot of blood in there. Pre-contest, I’m really trying to bring the details out when I do laterals. Because I’m doing them only every 10-15 days, I push ‘em pretty hard.”
7. At this stage in his career, he usually does his shoulder presses with
Answer: “a machine.” we would also accept “a weight he can control for 10–12 reps.” “Now, I tend to stay away from dumbbells and barbells for shoulder presses. I tend to get a better contraction and squeeze with a machine, and I’m not concerned with going so heavy, since I ’m not trying to put a lot more mass in my shoulders. If delts are not a strength for you, then you should emphasize free-weight shoulder presses. That said, a weight is a weight, so there’s a place for machine presses in your routine, too. It’s usually easier to target your delts and do a strict, controlled movement with a machine, so I wouldn’t necessarily say less-experienced bodybuilders should use only free weights. Instead, I’d say alternate. One workout, use free weights, and the next workout, use a machine. That way you get the benefits of having to control the weight in one workout but then not having to control the weight in the next workout. Both methods have their strengths.”
8. Which exercise does he like to use for rear delts?
A) Dumbbell rear laterals
B) Machine rear laterals
C) Reverse pec-deck flyes
D) All of the above
Answer: d “It just depends. For rear laterals, I might use dumbbells, I might use a flying and rear-delt machine, and I might use a pec-deck but face the back [pad of the machine]. The execution that I use is different from most bodybuilders. I’m actually trying to get protraction in my scapula. So it’s almost like slouching my shoulders forward and not allowing them to retract at all, and the only thing that’s really moving is my shoulder joints rather than my scapula. I’m trying to take out the midtrap and the rhomboids and just isolate the rear delts. There’s a time and a place for both [methods], but if I’m trying to hit my rear delts, I’m trying to hit my rear delts. There’s also a time I might do the exact same exercise but do it for back. In which case, I’d want to recruit midtrap and rhomboids.”
9. Pakulski always trains rear delts with front and side delts.
True or False
Answer: False “I usually train all three delt heads together, but not always. Sometimes I work only front and side delts together and then hit rear delts with back. Each way has its advantages, and there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way. Go with what works best for you and your workout splits.”
10. The most important factor for shoulder growth is
Answer: “proper form.” “The problem is most bodybuilders don’t know what proper form is. A lot of people will elevate their scapulas, which takes tension off the delts and puts it on the traps. Keep your scapulas depressed to keep tension on the delts. Don’t swing the weight or your body. And don’t raise up, extending your torso, which is the natural tendency, especially if you’re using a little heavier weight than you can control with proper form. Contract your abdominal wall, and keep it contracted throughout the set. That makes a big difference.
Why does Pakulski wear a belt even during exercises where his lower back is not especially stressed?
“It’s an awareness thing. It keeps my breathing short and shal low. And it’s also an attempt to atrophy as much as possible, or at least not stimulate, my abdominal muscles. If your waist is supported by a belt, your abs aren’t going to be activated as much.”
1-5 Below average. Hit the books and try again.
6-7 Average. Could use a little more study.
8-9 Above average. You’re on your way to the next level.
10+ Perfect. Go train shoulders Pak-Man-style.