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Inside the Muscles: Best Shoulders and Trap Exercises
 

Bret Contreras
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Join date: Aug 2005
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tmartinez wrote:
Yes, please make this a series. Also, nice Atlas Shrugged reference.


I was wondering if anyone would know what that meant...

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Bret Contreras
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Location: Arizona, USA
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grettiron wrote:
... there's probably some optimum there, too. I'll have to do some tests with the woman: optimizing for maximum productivity and minimum self-stimulation frequency.


Haha! I think we're all trying to balance that ratio!

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KirbyHinson
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Location: South Carolina, USA
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Experiments envolving every muscle group would be extremely helpful in designing a workout. Keep it up!

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on edge
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Katie Coles?

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WS4JB
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Posts: 4051

Definitely will read the rest of this series if we get it.

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lnname
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Damn, I obcessively read T-Nation articles! And this has got to be my favoutrite from recent months! I'll be doing so many face pulls in the next couple of weeks i'll get rope burn!!!

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bwhitwell
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Great article.

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Fishdog70
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Posts: 323

I like the idea of using EMG to determine muscle recruitment on common lifts. Overall, I think the article was interesting and would like to see more.

My only suggestion would be to get a few more guinea pigs for the next article. A sample set of one is pretty weak scientifically; more subjects would make the results more convincing. Maybe include a taller guy and a shorter guy in the next experiment. Maybe compare people with different builds (a skinny guy, a fat guy, and a huge guy). Another possibility is to compare men to women. I know things can get out of hand pretty fast when comparing variables, but adding more subjects to the experiment would improve it overall.

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WormwoodTheory
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moar!

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Bret Contreras
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on edge wrote:
Katie Coles?


Haha!

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Bret Contreras
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Join date: Aug 2005
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 905

Fishdog70 wrote:
I like the idea of using EMG to determine muscle recruitment on common lifts. Overall, I think the article was interesting and would like to see more.

My only suggestion would be to get a few more guinea pigs for the next article. A sample set of one is pretty weak scientifically; more subjects would make the results more convincing. Maybe include a taller guy and a shorter guy in the next experiment. Maybe compare people with different builds (a skinny guy, a fat guy, and a huge guy). Another possibility is to compare men to women. I know things can get out of hand pretty fast when comparing variables, but adding more subjects to the experiment would improve it overall.


Fishdog70 - while I would love for this to happen it isn't very realistic. I would have to find several volunteers, of different anthropometires, to willingly hook themselves up to electrodes and perform workouts all week long. There's more to it than that, it takes a lot of time to measure everything and you have to be really carful with everything. Then they'd have to be comfortable with me putting electrodes on their glutes and adductors and working out in spandex so the clothes don't interfere with the readings. They'd have to do exercise after exercise, what would be in it for them? If I paid them that would be one thing but I'm just a lone researcher trying to figure stuff out. Maybe one day if I can become a research professor this would be feasible, but for now we'll have to settle for one person. Sorry!

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T-Bone81
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Join date: Jul 2004
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Bret,

From the data posted, it looks like there wasn't any clear cut difference/winner in terms of various raises either performed prone and supported versus standing (one example being the prone DB rear delt raises versus the bent over DB rear delt raise) or in terms of overhead work performed seated versus standing (example: the 70-lb standing versus 80-lb seated DB OH Press).

While performing certain movements one limb at a time and in a supported versus standing fashion are often touted as ways to increase neural drive to the targeted muscles, do you think that is an area where the stated advantage isn't necessarily as great (if at all in some cases) as any advantage in practice? In this case I am talking more about upper body exercises, and if using one limb holding onto something for support to make it 1 limb but more stable than totally free standing, so comparisons like

*supported prone trap 3 raise with two arms versus bent-over trap 3 raise with two arms or bent-over trap 3 raise with 1 arm and opposite arm on bench for support

*seated lateral raise versus standing lateral raise or 1-arm standing lateral holding onto a support with free arm

*seated OH work versus standing OH work

At the end of the day would you say that progression on any of these variations will yield similar results and that any real-world difference wouldn't be all that noticeable? As it is, I tend to mix things up, so variety is always there. This is directed specifically at those who say things like preacher curls allow for increased neural drive because you're seated and supported or how seated pressing allows more neural drive to the delts than standing pressing. Even in cases where it is true, real-world results don't seem like they'd be made or broken on account of that(e.g. a BBer who uses seated OH pressing almost exclusively versus one who performs his pressing standing). Just curious if you have any thoughts on that.

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Cellerator65
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very cool article, would love to hear more about other muscles.

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Battle Pope
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bretc wrote:
Fishdog70 wrote:
I like the idea of using EMG to determine muscle recruitment on common lifts. Overall, I think the article was interesting and would like to see more.

My only suggestion would be to get a few more guinea pigs for the next article. A sample set of one is pretty weak scientifically; more subjects would make the results more convincing. Maybe include a taller guy and a shorter guy in the next experiment. Maybe compare people with different builds (a skinny guy, a fat guy, and a huge guy). Another possibility is to compare men to women. I know things can get out of hand pretty fast when comparing variables, but adding more subjects to the experiment would improve it overall.


Fishdog70 - while I would love for this to happen it isn't very realistic. I would have to find several volunteers, of different anthropometires, to willingly hook themselves up to electrodes and perform workouts all week long. There's more to it than that, it takes a lot of time to measure everything and you have to be really carful with everything. Then they'd have to be comfortable with me putting electrodes on their glutes and adductors and working out in spandex so the clothes don't interfere with the readings. They'd have to do exercise after exercise, what would be in it for them? If I paid them that would be one thing but I'm just a lone researcher trying to figure stuff out. Maybe one day if I can become a research professor this would be feasible, but for now we'll have to settle for one person. Sorry!


if I didn't live so far away, you'd have a free guinea pig here. I'd get a huge kick out of being hooked up to all kinds of electrodes and messing around in the gym for SCIENCE!

My friends going in to do a kinese masters, he's a weghtlifter/bodybuilder, Im hoping he does some crazy weightlifting experiments that I can participate in. haha

EDIT: I think the chance of picking the brain of a T-Nation author alone would be worth more than being paid/compensated for the experiment. knowledge, to me, is more valuable than mere cash.

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st dane
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Join date: Sep 2009
Location: Ontario, CAN
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more - get on it!

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landonbench
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Join date: Aug 2009
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Editor's Note: Would you like to see more articles like this? Let us know in the comments and we may just run one for every body part!

DEFINITELY!

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Fishdog70
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Join date: Oct 2003
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 323

Haha, I totally understand. It was just a suggestion. I've been reading through dozens of research papers lately, and the sample size is usually the first thing I check.

Never underestimate people's interest in these kinds of things though. If you ever had the inclination to increase your subjects, put up a few posters with your contact info around your gym/university. You may be surprised by the amount of people who'd sign up to get an EMG done just for the novelty of it.

Good luck with the future work.


bretc wrote:


Fishdog70 - while I would love for this to happen it isn't very realistic. I would have to find several volunteers, of different anthropometires, to willingly hook themselves up to electrodes and perform workouts all week long. There's more to it than that, it takes a lot of time to measure everything and you have to be really carful with everything. Then they'd have to be comfortable with me putting electrodes on their glutes and adductors and working out in spandex so the clothes don't interfere with the readings. They'd have to do exercise after exercise, what would be in it for them? If I paid them that would be one thing but I'm just a lone researcher trying to figure stuff out. Maybe one day if I can become a research professor this would be feasible, but for now we'll have to settle for one person. Sorry!

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dblues
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AWESOME! I would like to see more on this!

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mombasa333
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Would you like to see more articles like this? Let us know in the comments and we may just run one for every body part!

You betcha

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averympowers
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I would definitely want to read a whole series like this.

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jo3
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Join date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 1514

bretc wrote:
Fishdog70 wrote:
I like the idea of using EMG to determine muscle recruitment on common lifts. Overall, I think the article was interesting and would like to see more.

My only suggestion would be to get a few more guinea pigs for the next article. A sample set of one is pretty weak scientifically; more subjects would make the results more convincing. Maybe include a taller guy and a shorter guy in the next experiment. Maybe compare people with different builds (a skinny guy, a fat guy, and a huge guy). Another possibility is to compare men to women. I know things can get out of hand pretty fast when comparing variables, but adding more subjects to the experiment would improve it overall.


Fishdog70 - while I would love for this to happen it isn't very realistic. I would have to find several volunteers, of different anthropometires, to willingly hook themselves up to electrodes and perform workouts all week long. There's more to it than that, it takes a lot of time to measure everything and you have to be really carful with everything. Then they'd have to be comfortable with me putting electrodes on their glutes and adductors and working out in spandex so the clothes don't interfere with the readings. They'd have to do exercise after exercise, what would be in it for them? If I paid them that would be one thing but I'm just a lone researcher trying to figure stuff out. Maybe one day if I can become a research professor this would be feasible, but for now we'll have to settle for one person. Sorry!


I bet all the T-Nationers in your area would be more than willing to do this for free :)

Great article that came at the perfect time as I was looking to bring up my lagging shoulders and traps. Quick question on the face pulls: I noticed that the band face pulls produced far better results than cable face pulls. Any explanation for the significant difference in what seems like two nearly identical movements? I guess it's due to the increased load at the peak contraction?

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CAODEMARTE
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Location: Florida, USA
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I would want to read a whole series like this. Interesting stuff.

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Bret Contreras
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Join date: Aug 2005
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 905

T-Bone81 wrote:
Bret,

From the data posted, it looks like there wasn't any clear cut difference/winner in terms of various raises either performed prone and supported versus standing (one example being the prone DB rear delt raises versus the bent over DB rear delt raise) or in terms of overhead work performed seated versus standing (example: the 70-lb standing versus 80-lb seated DB OH Press).

While performing certain movements one limb at a time and in a supported versus standing fashion are often touted as ways to increase neural drive to the targeted muscles, do you think that is an area where the stated advantage isn't necessarily as great (if at all in some cases) as any advantage in practice? In this case I am talking more about upper body exercises, and if using one limb holding onto something for support to make it 1 limb but more stable than totally free standing, so comparisons like

*supported prone trap 3 raise with two arms versus bent-over trap 3 raise with two arms or bent-over trap 3 raise with 1 arm and opposite arm on bench for support

*seated lateral raise versus standing lateral raise or 1-arm standing lateral holding onto a support with free arm

*seated OH work versus standing OH work

At the end of the day would you say that progression on any of these variations will yield similar results and that any real-world difference wouldn't be all that noticeable? As it is, I tend to mix things up, so variety is always there. This is directed specifically at those who say things like preacher curls allow for increased neural drive because you're seated and supported or how seated pressing allows more neural drive to the delts than standing pressing. Even in cases where it is true, real-world results don't seem like they'd be made or broken on account of that(e.g. a BBer who uses seated OH pressing almost exclusively versus one who performs his pressing standing). Just curious if you have any thoughts on that.


Great question! The theory is that the bilateral deficit causes decreased activation to each limb and that one sees increased activation when using 1-limb (and even more when one limb would be supported like you say).

My experiments don't support this claim. For example, even though I can Bulgarian squat or lunge way more than 50% of my squat, I still get more activation from squats (but they are close). Bent over rows and one arm rows are close too.

Clearly we have several things going on that we must take into consideration. For example, a 1-arm prone trap raise, a 1-arm lateral raise, or a 1-arm military press is off-balance (less stability) and takes some core strength and coordination, so that could diminish muscle activation. Then we have the bilateral deficit, which would increase activation on these lifts. When we hold onto something, it could add stability and increase transfer through arm/lat/core which would increase activity. Research has shown that training history matters too, as someone who has been training bilaterally for years eliminates the bilateral deficit.

So to answer your question, I think it wouldn't matter too much (you wouldn't see too much difference in activation). However, like you said, variety is a great thing, so it's important to "get good" at a bunch of different exercises and variations and "reap the benefits" from them. Then, you have your "money exercises" which you perform most of the time (maybe 66% of the time) and your "alternative exercises" which you do every once in a while (maybe 33% of the time). Personally, I'm a fan of bilateral movements because it's one set...you get in done in one shot.

Unilateral exercises are always complicated since you really have 2 sets...do you rest a minute in between sets? Do them right after each other? Rest two minutes? What if you're doing a Bulgarian squat and the rear leg is being stretched, then you move right into the other leg without resting and the leg is weaker since it was just placed under a static stretch and you can't repeat the same number of reps. I may be overcomplicating things and "nit-picking," but bilateral training is just simpler (although it may be more dangerous for the body's joints).

For some movements like the preacher curl, they're really good in a specific range. Preacher curls, flies, squats, etc. activate the most muscle in the stretch position, while exercises like hip thrusts, pec deck, hanging rows, etc. activate the most muscle in the contracted position. So it's not always about EMG, it's also about the accentuated region of tension on the muscles.

Hope you liked my answer!

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Bret Contreras
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Join date: Aug 2005
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 905

Battle Pope wrote:
bretc wrote:
Fishdog70 wrote:
I like the idea of using EMG to determine muscle recruitment on common lifts. Overall, I think the article was interesting and would like to see more.

My only suggestion would be to get a few more guinea pigs for the next article. A sample set of one is pretty weak scientifically; more subjects would make the results more convincing. Maybe include a taller guy and a shorter guy in the next experiment. Maybe compare people with different builds (a skinny guy, a fat guy, and a huge guy). Another possibility is to compare men to women. I know things can get out of hand pretty fast when comparing variables, but adding more subjects to the experiment would improve it overall.


Fishdog70 - while I would love for this to happen it isn't very realistic. I would have to find several volunteers, of different anthropometires, to willingly hook themselves up to electrodes and perform workouts all week long. There's more to it than that, it takes a lot of time to measure everything and you have to be really carful with everything. Then they'd have to be comfortable with me putting electrodes on their glutes and adductors and working out in spandex so the clothes don't interfere with the readings. They'd have to do exercise after exercise, what would be in it for them? If I paid them that would be one thing but I'm just a lone researcher trying to figure stuff out. Maybe one day if I can become a research professor this would be feasible, but for now we'll have to settle for one person. Sorry!


if I didn't live so far away, you'd have a free guinea pig here. I'd get a huge kick out of being hooked up to all kinds of electrodes and messing around in the gym for SCIENCE!

My friends going in to do a kinese masters, he's a weghtlifter/bodybuilder, Im hoping he does some crazy weightlifting experiments that I can participate in. haha

EDIT: I think the chance of picking the brain of a T-Nation author alone would be worth more than being paid/compensated for the experiment. knowledge, to me, is more valuable than mere cash.


That's why I love T-Nation! My brothers!

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Bret Contreras
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Join date: Aug 2005
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 905

Fishdog70 wrote:
Haha, I totally understand. It was just a suggestion. I've been reading through dozens of research papers lately, and the sample size is usually the first thing I check.

Never underestimate people's interest in these kinds of things though. If you ever had the inclination to increase your subjects, put up a few posters with your contact info around your gym/university. You may be surprised by the amount of people who'd sign up to get an EMG done just for the novelty of it.

Good luck with the future work.


bretc wrote:


Fishdog70 - while I would love for this to happen it isn't very realistic. I would have to find several volunteers, of different anthropometires, to willingly hook themselves up to electrodes and perform workouts all week long. There's more to it than that, it takes a lot of time to measure everything and you have to be really carful with everything. Then they'd have to be comfortable with me putting electrodes on their glutes and adductors and working out in spandex so the clothes don't interfere with the readings. They'd have to do exercise after exercise, what would be in it for them? If I paid them that would be one thing but I'm just a lone researcher trying to figure stuff out. Maybe one day if I can become a research professor this would be feasible, but for now we'll have to settle for one person. Sorry!



You may be right...great ideas. A study of this magnitude would take some serious time and effort though. Now, if some of the figure athletes from the TMUSCLE homepage were to participate...I'd get you guys all the data your hearts desired! :)

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