I’m going to show you a shoulder exercise you’ve NEVER seen before. That’s because, to the best of my knowledge, I created it.
Now, I’ve already talked about what is possibly the best single set (utilizing the pre-exhaust method) for stimulating growth in the shoulders.
If you want to make it even BETTER, read this post.
I won’t waste your time in this post talking about WHY this is optimal for igniting new gains in shoulder size because I’ve been through it in this post (remember it’s all about recruiting the maximum number of muscle fibers and then stimulating them to grow).
I’ll simply demo the exercise and talk you through the form.
Then I want you to DO IT!
It’s a Cable Lateral Raise (with a difference).
In my version I am using the attachment that is designed for leg abductions and placing it around the top of my forearm. I’ll explain all in a little bit, for now watch the demo. Unless someone out there can tell me that this already exists, I’ll Christen it the ‘McManus Lateral Raise‘, and it’s incredibly effective.
Note: Use the abduction/adduction attachment around the top of your forearm, NOT on the elbow joint itself. Keep a 90 degree bend at the elbow joint.
Since the function of the deltoids is to bring the arm away from the body, we get maximal fiber recruitment at the top of the rep i.e. the point of maximal contraction or Peak Contraction Point. This exercise provides AWESOME resistance in this most important of spots. You want to pause here for a second on each and every rep.
The cable also applies a much SMOOTHER resistance than that experienced with dumbbells.
Importantly, using a cable from a floor pulley allows for resistance on the deltoids at EVERY STAGE IN THE REP. Using dumbbells as in dumbbell lateral raises, provides almost no resistance on the shoulders for the first few inches of the movement. In fact, the work doesn’t really kick in until the mid-point. This obviously isn’t optimal for stimulating growth especially in the negative (or lowering) portion of the rep since it is widely believed that the negative contributes more to growth than the positive.
Furthermore, the shorter lever length i.e. the resistance is physically CLOSER to the prime mover muscle, means that the load is pressing more DIRECTLY upon the deltoid itself. With dumbbell raises the grip and forearm strength come into play and this may contribute to the premature termination of the set and/or mentally distract you from really focusing on contracting the shoulder.
I would also contend that the short lever length can also lead to a better level of positive failure. Using dumbbells means that you have to move the weight a greater distance to achieve same level of deltoid contraction. This means that you run the risk of not being able to complete an extra rep or 2 that you can with the McManus Lateral Raise.
The only downside is that you have to work the shoulders unilaterally i.e. one at a time. If you have access to a cable crossover machine you could perhaps find attachments that would enable you to work both shoulders simultaneously. You can then proceed immediately to overhead barbell presses as described in this post. If not, simply do 1-arm dumbbell overhead presses after reaching failure on this exercise (which is how I am doing it at the moment).