Shoulder Day

Yesterday was a shoulder/traps workout, and I wanted to shed some light on what I feel is a CRUCIAL yet overlooked group of muscles, especially in the realm of Downhill racing.

First and foremost, I’m going to post this. If you haven’t checked out John Doe Bodybuilding, it’s something I highly recommend. This guy gives a lot of no-bullshit advice, and he’s as ripped as they come. Remember: If you want some solid advice, find somewhere who’s where you’re already at, and listen to what they have to say.

Yesterday, this is the routine I hammered out. My gym doesn’t have FatBells, so I had to substitute with dumbbells. No big deal.

Up until last week, my shoulder and trap routine looked like this:

  • Shoulder Press Hammer Strength
  • Side Raises
  • Front Raises
  • Rear Raises
  • Heavy Shrugs (80 pound dumbbells)
  • Upward Rows

I stopped doing dumbbell presses over the past few months, as I developed a nasty popping in my right shoulder (no doubt from going heavy without warming up thoroughly), but it seems to have gone away.

Since “bulking” (i.e. getting strong and fat over the past year and a half) I haven’t been as diligent about shoulder day, and would often skip it. It shows, too, as my shoulders look weak and lack definition. I used to HAMMER my traps, as well, using the physique of Tom Hardy in “Warrior” as a bit of inspiration.

I’m not sure if it’s my higher body fat percentage, or simply neglecting them a bit, but both my shoulders and traps look glutenous, soft, and not very well defined. Needless to say, in terms of aesthetics, they (along with my traps) are getting a lot of attention paid to them lately.

I have, at times in the past three years, done the following:

  • Flared Lateral Raises
  • Face Pulls
  • Smith Machine Presses
  • Barbell Military Presses
  • Linear Jammers (these things destroyed my hips, not in a good way)
  • Smith Machine Shrugs
  • Trap Bar Shrugs
  • Plate Pulls

But yesterday, I did the full routine JDBB outlined, which looked like:

  • Lateral Raises
  • Front Raises
  • Rear Raises
  • Dumbell Presses
  • Plate Shrugs
  • (not on video or mentioned) Plate Pulls

I supersetted the lateral raises and front raises, as well as the plate shrugs and plate pulls, just to hammer my delts and traps that much harder.

The end result is one I’m really happy with.

  • I was able to squeeze out more reps at a higher weight by hitting the raises first. I’m feeling a different type of soreness today as a result.
  • I had a harder time getting my presses up at my old weight, due to doing them later in the rotation, but this is expected when doing raises first.
  • Plate shrugs… I never would have considered doing this, but the added range of motion and higher rep count set my traps on fire like they’ve never been. Bending forward slightly, bending the elbows slightly, and squeezing at the top gives a hellacious burn.
  • Plate pulls. I added these, supersetted with the plate shrugs. I used to do these all the time for 20+ reps, and had some killer traps to show for it at the time.

John Doe’s routine is now my go-to. Check out his other videos, the guy knows what he’s talking about.

I mentioned at the top how crucial this muscle group is for DH riders. The rear delts and traps are doing a ton of work during a run. Along with lats and triceps, there’s probably nothing in the upper body that gets worked harder on course. Take a look at one of Claudio’s course previews. I like the chest-mount gopro angle, so you can get a good look at the forces being put through his bars.

That’s all for now, kids. Thanks for reading.


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