Another month in the books, and it was a busy one. Each weekend this month took me away from home, so getting my training in throughout the week was crucial to get all my training in and face the inconsistencies that come with training on the road. A few ways to de-stress your training if you have a lot of weekend plans:
1.) Hit your priority training days during the week, or when you *know* you will have access to familiar equipment.
2.) Have a loose plan for on the road training days, but don’t get married to it. Meet the objective of each exercise and don’t worry about the modality.
3.) Scout out training facilities ahead of time and try to stay within a reasonable proximity.
Now, for me, shoulder hypertrophy training can easy be done on the road, so I often find myself saving shoulders for when I am uncertain of my facilities. This past weekend, I was in Chicago, IL. Unfortunately, I was not able to logistically make it out to Quads are any of the barbell based gyms, so I made a good ole Xsport work. I went into the gym with a set of objectives and executed accordingly:
1. High rep rear delts: I like to start every training day with an activation exercise for pesky muscle groups. Rear delts are something I have to really prioritize, as my rear delts will absolutely dissolve if I don’t train them regularly. I also like to extend my warm up into the first exercise of every training day by using pretty light weight for high reps. I get good blood flow, and can manage the fatigue. At this gym, I started with dumbbell rear delt flys for twenty reps. As soon as I put my dumbbells down, a gymbro snagged the dumbbells like a wild hyena and retreated to some corner of the gym. Luckily, I am not married to the idea of doing DB rear delts and finished two more sets of rear delt flys on a pec dec.
2. Seated DB Overhead Press–>Hammer OHP: Before I get TOO fatigued, I like to hit a compound movement. Push Press/ Strict overhead press/ Viking press/etc were all out of the question at this gym, as there was just NO room for barbell work. Seated DB overhead Press was on the agenda, and I did a reverse pyramid from 15/12/10/8, adding weight each rep. Or so I thought I would. I did my first set of 15, and the wild gymbro (perhaps a different one, but he was functionally the same dude to me) appeared and collected my dumbbells AGAIN. No problem, over to the hammer overhead press to finish out the objective
3. Lateral raise machine+ eccentric: At this point, I am well aware that any dumbbell movement is subject to the predatory gym bro, so I hit my next exercise on a lateral machine raise. The objective here was to spend a little time under tension, so I hit a weight I believe I could get for 18-20 for 3 sets of 12 with a 3-5 second eccentric. I wasn’t too concerned with the actual length of the eccentric, but rather smoothly descending slowly. My big issue with timed eccentrics for hypertrophy is I find that people get really attached to hitting the prescribed timed eccentric and will make awkward pauses or stress out over counting the reps. Sometimes this can overshadow the main goal, time under tension. The gym bro was unable to steal my shit during this exercise, so all was well.
4. Plate Raises: I don’t hit front delts much, since they get absolutely rocked during my pressing day, but I will throw one exercise in each shoulder day as a little transition into the back end of my training. I just used a 45lb plate for 3 x 15. Gym bro stole one of my 45s, but there were a trillion other 45s so it mattered very little.
5. Lean away laterals: by this point, I’m getting pretty smoked, so the next few exercises are light weight finishers. I did 3 x 25 per arm on leanway laterals. I think lateral raises and rear delt work are the most important aspect of shoulder training for me at the moment, as they are almost solely responsible for the shape of my delt caps.
6. Rear delt superset: this was TRICKY in a globo gym, but I got it done. The idea here was to fatigue the rear delts to absolute exhaustion by direct stimulation, and then hit a low row, focusing on really stretching out the rear delts at the bottom of each rep. Low rows are, obviously, a back exercise, but the stretch you get at the bottom and the initiation of the pull after the isolation exercise is BRUTAL.
A1)Cable face pulls: 3 x failure here, with the only rest coming from having the change the attachment because GymBro kept putting the damn vbar attachment on there between sets.
A2)Chest Supported DB Rows: HUGE focus on a full stretch at the bottom, initiating the row with the rear delts and maintaining a good squeeze at contraction. WOOF. I was totally smoked after this.