By VAHVA Fitness on December 5, 2019
Can you hold this for just 90 seconds? Test your SHOULDER STRENGTH with this isometric hold and see how strong you are.
Are you lacking definition in your shoulders or just have trouble increasing your shoulder strength?
If that's the case, it's possible that you have been training your shoulders in a wrong way all along. This is actually a very common problem and the problem lies in how the different shoulder exercises are performed.
A lot of people train the shoulders by doing overhead presses using dumbbells or barbells. This is a good exercise but also an easy exercise to do "incorrectly".
For example, people often use momentum generated by their legs, hips or spine. Or they use the initial explosion to lift the weight and then lower it down quickly which minimizes the time under tension.
With the lateral raise, it's even more common to use hip drive and trapezius muscles (shrugging the shoulders) to perform the exercise which take activation and time under tension away from the shoulders (the muscles the person thinks he or she is targeting).
Time under tension (TUT) is the most important attribute when it comes to training any area of the body. You want to keep the tension in your shoulders as much and as long as possible to fully develop them.
Many times, using heavy weights leads to poor form and execution such as this. This is why we advocate using light weights. Not only can you increase the resistance to the targeted area but you also ensure the form is solid.
In the bodyweight circles, people rarely do the overhead press with weights but they do the bodyweight equivalent: the pike push up with the hope of eventually reaching the full handstand push up.
We utilize both the weighted overhead press and pike push up. The problem with the pike push up (or the handstand push up) is that people commonly use the hips and spine to help them do the repetition.
To do the pike push up correctly, you would need to keep the legs, hips and spine as rigid as possible and purposely aim to place as much resistance as possible on the shoulders.
Very few are good at this. When you do this, suddenly the exercise becomes way harder than before which can surprise even many advances trainees.
However, there is one BULLETPROOF METHOD to develop the shoulders which is hard to do wrong.
It's called an isometric hold which done correctly eliminates all the shenanigans and absurdity people do with their shoulder training.
A lot of people may think that this is only for endurance but 90 seconds is still in the realm of general strength training.
30 seconds is often considered ideal for strength, 60 ideal for muscle growth. In reality, they all develop strength. Especially the 90 seconds hold.
Long isometric holds ensure you are properly activating the correct muscles and that they are activated under resistance for sufficient amount of time (time under tension).
To truly develop the structure of the body and dig deep into the body, you need slow controlled repetitions or controlled isometric holds like this.
You may feel this exercise in your core and legs since it's a long duration hold. However, it should mainly feel in your shoulders (lateral deltoids).
You can move the resistance more towards your triceps (arms) if you take a narrower stance with your arms. If you take a narrow stance and pull the elbows in, you are targeting the front deltoids.
The amazing thing about long holds like this is that you will develop supportive strength –your ability to support your bodyweight in that position.
If you like to do movement flow, the monkey movement, capoeira or cartwheels, then this supportive strength in your shoulders will be very useful and make your movements more stable and supported.
Shoulder stability such as this can help with reducing the risk of injury because you actually have the strength to hold your shoulders in a stable position. This means your shoulder joint and tendons will be protected by the strength of your shoulder muscles.
It's extremely important to fully develop the muscles and the structure to maximize your performance, improve your muscle tone and keep the joints safe.
If you need complete structural training, check out Athlete 20XX. We use everything in the program including dumbbells and barbells but it's dominantly (70%) a bodyweight program.
Another good option is our Movement 20XX program but it focuses more on moving the body than digging deep into the structure (although mobility drills and active flexibility material does this as well!).
Both programs are excellent for beginners to start and they eventually gets as advanced as any program can get (not exaggerating here).
The more advanced you get, the more important structural training such as this becomes.
This is because complete beginners can get results with almost anything but eventually the luck runs out. If you are a beginner, this is still one of the best and most sustainable ways to get strong and do it effectively.
Moreover, isometric training and controlled slow tempo training is how you fix the body and get rid of joint problems. For every problem you have, there is always a solution you are just not aware of yet.
In the beginning, we trained like everyone else for many years of our training career and we got the same results: aching joints in several places of the body (mainly lower back, hips, elbows and shoulders) and results that were not really methodological at all.
Our training was ultimately based on luck and thinking that heavier weights and more difficult exercises produced the results. But this was only partly true.
Results, whether it is strength, mobility or fixing injuries don't need to be random and based on luck. With the right exercises, the right execution and proper effort, anything is possible.
The problem is getting these three right. A lot of people are doing the right thing but do it badly. Some do the right thing properly but don't know how to push themselves in training to really reach the next level.
We can show you how to master all of these 3 and a lot more. We teach more in our 100% FREE mobility class called A Day of Mobility. You can learn more about it here.
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