Thursday, July 22, 2010

How Important is Cardiovascular Cross-training? Part 1 by Michael George

Here is the first in a series of training blog posts by Harbinger friend, Michael George. Whenever possible, we like to bring you some of the top fitness experts in the country, like Michael, who trains celebrities, athletes and just regular folks, too! In this first installment, Michael focuses on shoulders, so grab your Harbinger weighted fitness balls, cables or some dumbbells if you're working out at home, or similar equipment and a shoulder machine if you're at the gym.

Let us know how it goes!

The Perfect Shoulder
by Michael George, BS, NASM, ACE, AFAA

Believe it or not, it is a scientific fact that one of the first body parts you notice on another person is their shoulders. Are their shoulders broad, rounded and lean or non-existent, flat and slouched? You quickly pick up on the broadness and fullness of the shoulder muscle. You instantly perceive someone to be built, lean and tone even before your eyes hit their waistline.

As a celebrity trainer who has trained countless celebs for their big roles, the shoulders are the first area I target to build and sculpt that round, basketball effect. For women sculpted shoulders makes their arms look more toned and gives their arms length. The immediate perception of others is that the rest of her body follows suit. For men, a full, basketball shoulder provides the perception that their arms are much bigger than they really are. The lateral exercises instigate this illusion as they cut and chisel the shoulders.

Most men and women want full shoulders that are also toned and defined. If you’re one of them, here’s a great shoulder workout. Go heavier on the presses and lighter on the lateral raises (less weight, more reps) and you’ll achieve the look you want. You can have those full, cut, rounded shoulders too. Just follow this routine of 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions per exercise, 2 to 3 times per week for stronger, more sculpted and sexier shoulders.

Shoulder Press
You can do this exercise with a bar, dumbbells, cables or a shoulder machine. I prefer to use a combination of all three, though I spend more time with free weights, which conform to one’s body type and also allow for weak-point training. Start seated or standing in the bent-arm position. If you stand, make sure it is in a staggered stance, one foot is father back than the other for support, and to protect your lower back. Raise the weight over your head as you straighten your arms. Bring the weight back down so your arms are bent at 90 degrees. If you are using dumbbells, bring them together at the top for more of a squeeze. I like to mix it up by using dumb bells, barbell or a shoulder press machine. Doing so allows for more symmetrical shoulder development.

Side Lateral Raises
You can use dumbbells, cables or a machine. Start from seated or standing with your arms at your sides. If you stand, keep your knees slightly bent so you can’t cheat. With a 20-degree bend at the elbow, raise the weight out to your side no higher than eye level (to avoid injuring your rotator cuff) and hold for a beat. Then release, lower and repeat. I prefer to use light weights and do more reps. Side laterals really cut up your shoulders, giving you that attractive “V” indent.

Front Lateral Raises
You can use dumbbells, cables or a barbell for front lateral raises. You can start seated or standing with your arms at your sides and your wrists rotated 90 degrees so the backs of your hands face forward. If you stand, keep your knees bent slightly. With a 20-degree bend at the elbow, raise the dumb bell, cable or bar up to eye level keeping a slight bend at the elbow. Then release, lower and repeat.

Rear Lateral Raises
There are several exercises and variations that work the rear delts. It’s good to hit them from many angles. You can use dumbbells, cables or a pec dec machine. I really like bent-over dumbbell laterals. Stand with your knees bent 20 to 45 degrees, your back arched slightly and the dumbbells out in front of your body. Bring the dumbbells outward and back as far as you feel comfortable and hold for a beat then return them to the start position. Keep the dumbbells out in front of you at eye level, which makes for extra tension and faster results.

This is the optimal “perfect” shoulder workout whether you’re building, sculpting or just trying to improve your posture. The best news is that you can tackle all of these goals at the same time. If you have ever dreamed of having those Adonis shoulders that everyone else envies this is your chance and this is the program that will take you there.

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