“Believe it or not, this is one of the exercises I see people doing incorrectly in almost any gym I visit,” Winklaar says. “I see guys circling their shoulders at the top, which is an injury waiting to happen.” Some people include these on back day, but Winklaar doesn’t think he can hit them as hard once he’s completed a heavy back workout that includes a killer set of deadlifts, so he adds them to his shoulder day. “There’s no better way to directly hit the traps than with shrugs,” he says. He alternates between barbell and dumbbell shrugs, noting that each has its benefits.
HOW TO DO IT: For dumbbell shrugs, start with your palms facing each other and the weights hanging at either side; try to hold them out about two inches from your body, keeping in mind that locking your elbows and hanging your arms straight down slightly relaxes the muscle and doesn’t activate the trap as much as possible. As you move the weight up, keep it in a straight up-and-down motion, never rotating forward or backward at the top. Hold at the top for a one-second count, then slowly lower back down. Winklaar notes that it’s also important not to hyperextend your elbows—another beginner’s mistake he often sees. Lower the weight only to where you started and no lower, or you risk injury to the elbow joint.
HAMMER STRENGTH SHOULDER PRESS
Winklaar warms up with the Hammer Strength shoulder press. He starts with a few light sets, but rather than rush through them quickly, he slowly moves through 20 reps in order to get blood fowing into the muscles. Since the machine locks your body into place, avoid going all-out on this one, instead using it as a warmup for the front delts.
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