Photos by Per Bernal
It’s not about the weight. Steve Kuclo hoists heavy metal, but it’s not about the weight. He grows his shoulders by utilizing impeccable form and stressing the targeted deltoid heads on rep after rep. Lots of reps. Though he does only four exercises for delts, he racks up as many as 300 repetitions in each delt workout. That’s about twice the total for most bodybuilders, including Mr. Olympia. But, as Kuclo explains, he feels that higher reps and proper form are the keys to shoulder growth. It’s not about the weight. It’s all about the muscle.
FLEX: What’s first in your shoulder routine?
STEVE KUCLO: I always start with an overhead press, either Hammer Strength, dumbbell, or barbell military. With the Hammer Strength, I do a unique superset on that. First, I go the standard way, facing forward, for 12 to 15 reps, and then I turn around and face backward for another 12 to 15 reps. Another thing I do is I put a foam roller or some kind of pad between me and the seat back, which changes the angle a little bit.
FLEX: Why do you do both the forward and backward presses one after the other?
STEVE KUCLO: They hit my shoulders in two different ways and work two different delt heads. The pad between me and the seat back helps to emphasize this even further. I feel the standard, face-forward presses more in my medial delts. Then when I turn and face backward, I feel those more in my front delts.
FLEX: Do you pause at all between the forward and backward presses?
STEVE KUCLO: Just 15 seconds or so, the amount of time it takes to get turned around and maybe strip some weight. I’m stronger facing forward than backward, and, of course, those first 12 to 15 reps are going to take a lot out of me. So sometimes me and my training partner, Dan Newmire, will need to reduce the weight for those second 12 to 15 reps, especially on the last couple of sets.
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