Following up from the last SUPP UP. Special blog post, I thought I’d help you take that newfound strength and put it into something productive – in this case, big, strong, healthy shoulders.
Before we get started though, I’d just like to say sorry for not getting this post out to you guys sooner. I had it scheduled but somehow it didn’t push through – so here it is now. As an apology, go ahead and grab 10% off in the SUPP UP. store now using the code “SORRYBRO10”.
Let’s get started.
It’s time to reach into the old school training vault. This is a great exercise when it comes to efficiency – while starting out with a whole shoulder routine is most definitely the way to build a strong foundation for boulder shoulders, eventually, those exercises get easy.
Moreover, as the shoulder joint is such a complex one, as mentioned in SUPP UP. No Bull, Gym In A Bag Workout Guide, simply adding weight isn’t the way to go as long-term, shoulders can only take so much of a beating, especially if you’re taxing them in other workouts (you’ve got to think about recovery time here).
Work smart, not hard, and you’ll end up with results most gym-goers bang their head against the wall trying to get without injury.
I have to give credit to one of the greats for this one – Chuck Ahrens.
A variation of the overhead press, The Ahrens Press is one of the less talked about methods for shoulder developments – but that doesn’t make it any less effective.
Unlike the conventional overhead press where you press straight up, with the Ahrens Press you press up and out, making a ‘V’ shape with your arms. At the top of the movement, your head and arms look like a ‘W’.
The reason Ahrens did this wasn’t for strategy though – it was to avoid the large, custom, heavy dumbbells he used from clashing together at the top of the movement.
What this slight change in movement leads to, however, was better medial delt development and improved shoulder stability. This also means more deltoid strength, width, and overall size to create nice, big 3D shoulders.
Here’s how it’s done.
The Ahrens Press – How-To
- From a seated position, grabbing two dumbbells, snatch them with a pronated grip in mind to shoulder width.
- From shoulder position, keep your core and lower back stabilized, and focus on pressing out and up at the top for a ‘V’ shape.
- Lock your arms out at the top, maximizing muscle contraction and growth, then return to the starting position and repeat.
(see the video here)
This is something you can work into your shoulder routine. You can do it standing or sitting, but I prefer sitting as you can’t recruit lower body muscles to cheat the movement – it also forces you to engage your core and stabilize your back more.
While Ahrens used this for heavy pressing, but because this also trains stability, I wouldn’t go heavy the first time around – get a feel for it initially.
Warm-up with some standard light overhead presses, then progress to heavier weights.
Shoot for 4-5 sets of 4-6 reps.
Once you develop a good mind-muscle connection, you can try lifting heavier or go for volume work at the end of a workout.
While this was designed for heavier presses, shoulders are used to taking punishment and can develop best with volume, so you can also do as many sets as possible of 4-6 reps – but don’t forget to give your shoulders adequate rest days.
I usually train my shoulders on arms day, giving them a breather once my main arms workout is done by training abs, then training shoulders afterward, so they have a chance to rest but are still warm.
The Ahrens Press is great as a finisher on arms day as well because it takes the work away from your triceps, focusing more on your deltoids, unlike the standard overhead press.
Sometimes, it’s not the newest, craziest variations that work, but the older, forgotten but solid methods that produce consistent results, time and time again.
That’s it, kids.
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