Shoulder Flexibility and Strength

Flexibility checkIt all started last week when Alberto mentioned the unusually named YTWLs. Whilst googling to find out exactly what these were I stumbled across the article '8 weeks to monster shoulders' by Alwyn Cosgrove and Chad Waterbury on T-nation. A good read.

Flexibility checkTrying out the flexibility tests - particularly the one involving touching fists behind the back (or coming somewhere near it) I discovered that a) I'm not equally flexible on each shoulder, and b) it's much more painful doing the left arm over / right arm under test. I suspect I'll need to address this difference before adding any real strength to the shoulders.

The pain (only whilst doing the test) is at the base of the right anterior deltoid, and there are several ways to stretch this (Exrx proves its worth yet again). My current thinking is to add a little deltoid stretching to the end of current bench workouts; and to add the serious shoulder strengthening to the workouts after a few weeks or so. The ROM isn't too bad at the moment - I simply want to attain the same flexibility on each side (and get rid of any pain in the process) before I start strengthening things.

On to the workout itself. A busy weekend gave the lat a chance to recover properly, and this morning I ended up doing a quick ME BENCH session. Only a day behind schedule - will no doubt catch up tomorrow.

Of the two major exercises the first is a combination I haven't really played with : close grip benching with a low incline. This warmed up the triceps and shoulders nicely for the subsequent seated half presses, and a new PR came along for the ride.

Finished up with a bit of anterior deltoid stretching - I'm keen to see whether this will have much impact over the next couple of months.

Bench press (15°, close grip) 2x20@20/44. 2x10@30/66, 10@40/88, 8@50/110, 5@60/132
Seated half press 4x12@40/88

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Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 35) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

Find out what he's up to via Twitter, Google+, Facebook; and of course his online home. Enjoy.

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New Combo.As triceps strength seems to be a major factor in overall bench press performance, I gave them another thorough going over today. This combined with the fact that it's been a while since I found myself doing floor presses suggested the combination of close-grip floor pressing as today's max exercise. This actually felt a lot more natural than normal close-grip presses, partly due to the restriction of the floor. I can see myself working this one in to the routine as an occasional workhorse rather than simply a max lift. As per last week, the tricep work continued in the form of seated triceps extensions and dips. The seated extensions are always interesting - the setup of the bench racks (which are unfortunately welded on) means that anything less than a perfect movement ends up hitting the racks. The upside of this is a slow, strict movement. A few sets of chins certainly got the sweat hitting the floor, largely due to the music playing at the time - 'Jump Around' by House of Pain, which seems to encourage any movement to be done to the pace of the song. Having successfully woken up the biceps whilst doing the chin-ups, I killed them off with a few sets of barbell curls. Seems as though the left arm has a bit of catching up to do there, so it looks like a bit of dumbell work is on the cards.

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