Having full, round shoulders with striations snaking between each deltoid is something all bodybuilders strive for.
Attaining a powerful shoulder pump during your training session is something many athletes aim for.
Having experimented with such a wide array of training principles, as well as unconventional approaches, I believe I have the answer.
This is my five step guide to effectively getting a killer shoulder pump.
1. Warming Up
Before you start your working sets, my recommendation is to do two sets of internal rotation exercises and two sets of external rotation exercises. Each set should be done for 20 repetitions each.
Related: Warming Up For Dummies - A Lifter’s Guide to Injury Prevention
The purpose of these warm up sets is to encourage blood flow into the connective tissue at the heart of the shoulder joint, such as the rotator cuff. With increased elasticity and blood volume, the shoulders will be better prepared for an intense workout.
2. Use Deep Heat
Rubbing Deep Heat cream on the surface of the deltoids will promote blood flow to the area.
Having warmed the shoulder joint up and encouraged blood to gather within the deltoids, using Deep Heat helps further this outcome.
A high level of blood flow in a working muscle is what will cause that “pump” we’re after.
3. High Intensity Carnage
When discussing training tactics with a focus on increased blood flow, there is only one approach: high tempo drop sets and supersets. The fusion of intensity that both training strategies provide never fails to deliver an unrivaled pump in any muscle.
The deltoids are hyper-responsive to drop sets and supersets due to the physiology of this muscle group, as they’re mostly comprised of type one slow twitch muscle fibers. To fulfill the goal of relentlessly pumping blood into the deltoids I have devised a special shoulder workout I personally like to use.
Before beginning, perform several sets of lateral raises and presses to completely warm up the delts and prepare them for the insane work ahead. Don’t go to complete failure with the warm up sets, but use enough intensity that the muscle is ready to train hard.
Kris Gethin’s Shoulder Pump Workout
|1a. Arnold Press||5*||10|
|1b. Rear Deltoid Raise||5*||10|
|2a. Rear Deltoid Raise**||5*||10|
|2c. Arnold Press||5*||10|
*Perform all 5 sets in in a drop set fashion decreasing weight after each superset.
**Rest only after completion of the first super drop set and rest for 3 mins before performing the second super drop set.
Each set is a superset with both exercises being performed back to back without any rest. However, to add a second level of intensity, you’re also going to do drop sets. Rather than stop after each super-set and rest, you will instantly reduce the weight and go again.
For example, you do 10 reps of Arnold press, 10 reps of rear deltoid raises and then immediately go back to the Arnold press for the next set. Obviously as fatigue begins to plague the delts, you’ll have to reduce the weight with each drop set.
It is important to do each set to complete failure, leave nothing in the tank! In total, both sequences provide 200 muscle fiber annihilating repetitions in quick succession which will leave the deltoids pumped!
The reason I have coupled the Arnold press with rear deltoid raises is because they provide every angle required to successfully attack the anterior, lateral, and posterior heads of the shoulder. However, exercise form is imperative to the success of this workout.
When performing the Arnold press, start with the elbows close together in front of you and palms facing towards you. As you press upwards, the palms then rotate into a neutral position before finishing up facing away from you with the elbows flaring outwards.
Rear deltoid raises are a less complex isolation exercise. However, you must still ensure the form is accurate. In a bent over position, push the arms outwards without tensing the traps and rotate your wrists so the palms face backwards, this helps to better isolate the posterior head.
4. Post-Workout Stretching
Once the 200 reps have been completed, perform some static stretching for the deltoids by bringing each arm across your chest and holding for approximately 20 seconds at a time.
This will encourage further blood flow into the muscles, forcing the fascia to become as elastic as possible. In doing so, nutrient transportation can occur at a faster rate.
5. Supplementing For “The Pump”
If your ambition is to achieve an unforgettable pump from this shoulder workout I would highly recommend supplementing accordingly. Forty-five minutes before the workout, take a quality pre-workout, along with two scoops of pure L-citrulline, mixed into 16 – 20 ounces of water. The vasodilating properties from this combination will help drive blood into the deltoids as soon as you start to warm up.
Related: 5 Pump-Inducing Workout Finishers You Should Try
During the workout, take a quality intra-workout with another extra scoop of pure L-citrulline. For the entirety of the workout, blood will flow freely into the deltoids, stretching the fascia to its limit.
As soon as this aggressive workout is complete, take a complete post-workout recovery protein to begin the recovery process and do a short bout of low impact cardiovascular exercise. This will also help send blood to the area which has just been trained, which assists in the removal of lactic acid while transporting essential recovery ingredients like glutamine, creatine HCl and betaine where you need it the most – your shoulders.
The fastest way to force the expansion of the deltoids is by forcing blood to flow to them.
Prioritizing training which has a bias towards sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and blood flow on shoulder day will yield terrific results.
My recommendation is to follow the advice in this article in its entirety, without skipping any of the details, for six weeks.
In doing so, you will experience a shoulder pump like never before, and witness an evolution of all three deltoid heads to create the full, round look you’re after.
So why not do this at the beginning of the week say like after you do legs, then at say maybe 3 days later with chest
This makes a ton of sense to me. Maybe a stupid question but is this a once a week?
Yes, this workout is meant to be performed once per week. Depending on your ability to recover, you could run it up to twice per week.
Hope this helps!