T4R: Shoulders Posted on 30 Mar 23:02 , 0 comments
By Todd Lee M.D.
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T4R or Training For Ragnarok is a training system I developed for my army of loyal followers: Operation Ragnarok. The premise is that in Ragnarok (the final battle), all the Asgardians (Thor, Freya, Baldur, Heimdall, and the king of the gods; Odin) perish while protecting Midgard (Earth) from Loki, Fenris, The World Serpent and an army of Jotun (frost giants). But the Asgardians don’t know their fate! They train for Ragnarok with inhuman intensity and endure workouts which would kill a normal mortal. But by spending one week and only one week, with each Asgardian a mortal could conceivably survive their training and perhaps Ragnarok; The Twilight of the Gods.
T4R has 4 different weeks and each week is a completely different training system. I modeled each week off of the training theories of different legends in bodybuilding and then attributed which Norse god I thought fit best.
The theory is, if you do one style of training all the time, you get over trained in some ways and under trained in others. With this protocol, it alternates heavy and light weeks so that your resting one muscle fiber type while you're training the next.
T4R Shoulder Workouts
The shoulders are the most important body part for men to develop. No matter what you're wearing, they are visible through any clothes and are one of the things that women are attracted to and men intimidated by. Simply put, your basic size is the area you occupy in someone's field of vision. So, if your height times your width is how intimidating you are and you can't get taller, then getting wider is the only way to be more impressive to either gender. Thus, getting bigger delts really changes how you appear, since it's the delts that determine how wide you look.[caption id="attachment_748" align="alignnone" width="712"] Developed Upper back muscles like the traps and rhomboids prevent rotator cuff (rotory cup) tears.[/caption]
The shoulders are a delicate muscle group which are a series of muscles literally just holding your humerus to your scapula and that itself just floats there. It is important that for all pressing motions you retract and depress your scapula firing your lower traps and rhomboids. This prevents supraspinatus tendon tearing (rotator cuff).[caption id="attachment_747" align="alignleft" width="300"] Notice the top muscle? The supra spinatus? Notice the white stuff that has to slide under the bone? That's the supraspinatus tendon, and it gets torn in "rotory cup" injuries which happen to most lifters who haven't read this article.[/caption]
The rotator cuff is actually four muscles: The supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. Other shoulder muscles are the teres major (works like the lat), long head of the tricep (functions like rear delt), Rear, middle and anterior delts, lower, upper and middle traps, coraco brachialis, scalines, levator scapulae and to a lesser extent, the sternocleidomastoid. And of course our friends the rhomboids!
Now, of all those muscles the only ones you're trying to grow are your delts and upper traps. The consequence of neglecting all of those upper back muscles is your shoulders roll forward and give you a hunched over/hanging trap look. Having a complete shoulder area with middle/upper back muscle stability gives you better posture and you're less likely to have rotator cuff, lower back or knee injuries later in life.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH AND VIDEO
For that reason, I always like to use the rear pec deck to warm up my shoulders. 6 sets of 12, not to failure, will activate all the muscles of the upper back and delts, even the triceps. Performing these with a neutral (thumbs up) grip targets the middle delts. Thumbs down grip gets the rear delts. Thumbs in gets the middle traps, and high hand placement gets the lower traps and rhomboids. I don't do all 6 sets with one grip, I do about 2 or 3 sets of each of the first two grips. I might even do super sets or tri sets and throw in the other 2 variations listed as the second half of the super set.
END MOST IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH AND VIDEO
Memorize that Shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Week 1: Thor
Week 1 is Thor week. Thor is the God of strength and for this reason I labeled the 5x5 training week Thor week. 5x5 is a strength training routine that is the brainchild of Reg Park, who is to my knowledge Arnold Schwarzenegger's mentor.
In it, you do 5 sets of 5 reps but only the last set is to failure. Let's say the correct amount of weight you use to get exactly 5 reps is 88% of your 1 rep max (1RM). In this case, set 1 is 60%, set 2 70%, set 3 80%, set 4 85% ( your 6RM) and set 5 is 90%! If you can get 5 reps with 90% then you're actually stronger and next week add 5-10 lbs (2% of 1RM) to your 5th set and try for 5 reps. Each exercise each month you should be 5-10 lbs stronger. This week trains your central nervous system and uses ATP and not creatine or carbohydrates for fuel. You may have some bizarre neurological changes (diarrhea, sudden paralysis of limb, dizziness, blurry vision, tingling all over your body, extreme fatigue, euphoria) after these sessions but not normal soreness. That's because we're training your nervous system and tendons more than the muscles. These symptoms are nothing abnormal and go away in a day or two. And you have to actually train hard to get them, which most people have never done;)
You may even feel like you didn't even workout. This is OK. This week, although it is very heavy and hard on your mind and nervous system, is very easy on your energy supplies and allows you to recover from the last 3 weeks of traditional bodybuilding workouts.
(Remember all shoulder workouts start with 6 sets of 12 of rear peck deck NOT TO FAILURE, To PUMP)
Military Press 5 x 5
I like to have my elbows in front of me with my hands gripping the bar above my elbows. This allows you to drive straight up and back, as if you're trying to shave your nose off with the bar. Not having your arms in front of your will likely generate rotator cuff (supraspinatus tendon) tearing
Upright Rows 4 x 8 - 10
I use Dumbbells to protect my rotator cuff. For some reason this aggravates it less than a barbell. I pull the Dumbbells apart so they end under my elbow which makes it a delt, not trap, exercise.
Shrugs 5 x 5
Ignore the Bent rows at the end of the video, but they did look perfect.
I use Barbells for super low reps like this, you have to try to get a full range of motion with this. It's easy to rep out with 4 plates with no range of motion but to get a full contraction and hold it with 315 works better. Ask Johnny Jackson.
Lateral Raises FST 7 x 8
This should be light enough that you can just stick them out to the sides and hold them there a full second. IF that hurts your elbows, bend them a little bit but no more than 135 degrees (180-45). Thumb should be pointing down but not so much as it impinges the rotator cuff.
You're going for max weight and the rest periods are 2-5 minutes on your final sets. For instance, for military press, last Thor week I did the bar, waited 0 seconds, 95 for 5, 0 seconds, 115 for 5, 60 seconds, 135 for 5 reps, 60 seconds, 155 for 5, 120 seconds, 165 for 5 (this was to failure but I took extra time and tried for more weight), 180 seconds, 170 for 3+2 forced reps and thus since I failed less than 5 reps I'm done. I clearly did 7 sets but since most were warm ups I only really counted the last 2 sets as work sets one to failure the other beyond failure and those are the ones I took a rest during. More weight = more rest. Next week I will gauge it right and make my 5th set 170 and actually get 5 reps.
Reps are explosive and fast but controlled. Tempo and range of motion are not that important this week, 90% with form and what not is ok, when it's this heavy, just don't get hurt. I don't advise anyone who isn't a professional athlete or trained by a professional to lift this heavy. I don't want to hear whining about your lower back or shoulder, if you get hurt lifting, you don’t lift correctly.
Week 2: Freya
Week 2 is Freya week. Freya was head sorceress of Asgard and leader of the Valkyries; Odin’s Battle maidens. I modeled this week off of Kai Green’s training and it’s great for men but exceptional for women. Women could in theory do Thor, Freya, Freya, Freya each month, skipping the 3rd and 4th workouts and just working strength and endurance/conditioning and not focus on size if they are Bikini models and not Women’s Physique competitors.
For men, once a month is plenty, as endurance isn’t our main goal, size is and this will make you bigger and help you recover from the three other heavier weeks (like a deload week). Unlike a deload week, you're going to do way more volume, working your Type 1 fibers and giving you the most insane pump in your life. Rest should be 30-60 seconds for these sets; 30 seconds for maximum pump, 60 for maximum growth hormone release. If you have a partner, you do part A, he does Part B then you switch for 4 iterations then go to the next station. Weight does not matter, pump and contract the reps through ideal range of motion and perfect form and tempo squeezing every contraction.
Of course use the rear delt machine to warm up as I did everything possible to emphasize above in the MOST IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH AND VIDEO!
Here is a Video of this workout with voice over. I only do one set of each super set, thee is 4 super sets per exercise pairing. I do The shoulder warm up first then the lateral raise station second then the Smith presses and that is how I have it listed below!
Upright DB Rows
4 x 15
Again a regression. After you fail with the weights, you just let your triceps go lax and the lever arm length just gets shorter, making the load less. It's like a drop set really.
Smith BB Military Press
Super Set (SS)
Smith Behind the Neck Press
4 x 15
I use the intention method Kai Greene and Ben Pakulski discuss in their training videos. In a press, you push the bar together as if you're trying to collapse it in on itself like a car antenna. This activates the upper chest and traps. When you start failing, pull the bar apart, this activates the delts and triceps.
4 x 15
Using the same weight you just regress to the easier exercise after you fail with the arnold press. Re watch the MOST IMPORTANT VIDEO to see how to do the Arnold Press.
4 x 15
The front raises pre exhaust the area then the underhand press allows the triceps to help out and squeeze more life out of the upper chest and delts. This isolation to compound superset theme is common in Freya week.
Behind the Neck Pulldown
Bent Over Fly's or rear delt cable crossovers.
4 x 15
By working the range of motion you would with the behind the neck press, you end up pumping up the rear delts AS LONG AS YOU are pulling the bar apart, otherwise it's just lats. Supersetting with rear delt flys really finishes them off and gives the most insane pump in the delts.
Face Pulls from the ground
4 x 15
The face pulls pre exhaust the traps and finish off the middle and rear delts plus work the rotator cuff after you're done with it for the day. Then the light shrugs finish off the traps.
Week 3: Fenris
Here is the Video From Fenris Shoulders. The workout starts at 10 minutes in, the first 10 minutes is a tie in to previous episodes of Fenris Week.
I have all Fenris Week Recorded And on my YouTube Channel ToddLeeMD in the T4R Playlist!
Week 3 is Fenris week. Fenris was the Werewolf child of Loki and his main thug. I modeled this week after Dorian Yates. Only what’s different is the use of multiple sets, 4 in fact. Dorian only did 2 sets the majority of his career because he felt that too many sets and reps would wear you down after continuous weeks. But, since we only do 1 week of this, I want you doing 4 sets. This is the main mass week, you're handling high weight for high volume and your Type 2B fibers are severely taxed doing this. That's why we have 2 weeks to “rest” those fibers going into this week. You may be able to use your old 6RM from week 1 for the full 6-9 reps this week! That's how fast you change with this alternating rest/work format.
Use a 60-90 second rest and a comfortable controlled tempo, focus on moving as much weight as possible and form and tempo are there for safety, 80% ideal form is all you need this week. Use whatever range of motion lets you handle the most weight. Again, this is for professional weight trainers not someone who wants to “get fit”. This is a triple black diamond workout with a trail of dead bodies, so do at your own risk! As a medical doctor, I don’t condone any human being doing this. However I do it and it works great!
Rear Delt Fly
3 x 20
This is not to failure. This is intended to activate your upper back muscles and delts and get blood pumping through them, a warm up of sorts. Yes, you can replace this with the material in the MOST IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH above.
BB Military Press
4 x 6-9
Forced reps ;Drop set last set.
This means you get 6-9 reps on your own and your partner spots you for the remaining reps with forced reps. So set one I get 9 reps with 200 lbs, next set I get 8 with 205 and my partner helps me get the 9th rep. The third set I only get 6 reps by myself (positive failure) and my partner helps me get the 3 remaining reps (forced reps). Then on the last set you drop the weight 30% and crank out as many reps as possible with 2 forced reps at the end. This is a common theme for Fenris week.
DB Shoulder Press
4 x 6-9 forced reps
As above without the drop sets.
4 x 6-9
No opportunity for a spotter but you can use your knees to act as a spring to get more reps called “cheating” to get your 9 reps.
4 x 6-9 with forced reps and forced negatives. Forced negatives are on the last set. After your partner helps you get the weight up from the elbows, you try to hold your arms up while they slowly push down on your elbows. This should take 6 seconds to push your arms down. If it happens too fast, they are pushing too hard. If you can't hold your arms up, you did too many forced reps before starting your forced negatives.
BB Front Raises
4 x 6-9
Incline Bench Rear Delt 4 x 6-9
Reps with forced reps and forced negatives. Again, your partner spots from the elbows and pushes down on the elbows.
Week 4: Loki
Week 4 is Loki week. The God of deception, Loki week is much harder than it looks. I used a Hany Rambod approach with a front loaded FST-7 pre exhaust. Thus, the goal of this week is a pump with medium weight and medium volume. Or is it? Like the god of trickery would do, I made these workouts much harder than they look. Minor factors add up to make this week FEEL harder than the previous week, despite it being more reps and in theory, less weight. Truth is, that despite the pre-exhaust and the supersetting agonist and antagonist muscles, you're using almost as much weight as Fenris week since your using all machines and machines are easier. Therefore, it is just as anabolic as week 3, just completely different in its approach. Many feel this is a very fun week since it's not emotionally traumatizing like the brutal ego raping you take the previous 3 weeks.
Rest periods are 45-60 seconds this week. All reps are picture perfect with lots of contractions and perfect 0-1-2-1 tempo. Stretch between sets except the pre load sets, contract your delts in between those by performing a rear double bicep pose.
Lateral Raise FST 7 x 10-12[caption id="attachment_102" align="alignnone" width="300"] No Pose contracts the Delts better. Do this in between every FST 7 Delt or Bicep set to trap blood inside[/caption]
Cable Laterals Alternating 3 x 10-12[caption id="attachment_101" align="alignnone" width="370"] A lat spread Pose is the best way to stretch your middle back and rotator cuff. Do this for 30 seconds between each set after the FST 7 Sets on delt or back day[/caption]
Smith or DB Upright Rows
Smith Behind the neck BB Press
3 x 10-12
3 x 10-12
Cable Front Raises
Rear Delt Cable Cross or flies
3 x 10-12
The exercises are performed the same and there are no advanced techniques this week except super sets and posing.
Now you have my most advanced training systems for Delts and Traps. I could write an entire book on shoulders, from rotator cuff injury repair to Supplements that are Ideal for shoulders and everything in between. And I will! Coming soon will be a T4R Ebook, and an Ebook on each Body part with its corresponding T4R workouts included as well as much less complex and remedial Shoulder routines!
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Nothing in this article or on this site should be considered medical advice or as an endorsement to violate any law of the country in which you reside. The information given is for fun and entertainment purposes only. All claims are 100% dependent upon proper diet and exercise. Please consult a medical practitioner prior to any diet and exercise program.