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If you're trying to gain mass, I doubt the differences between the two choices you've given will matter as much as making sure you're eating at a caloric surplus and that the reps and/or weight are going up over time.

As to what I personally do, it varies but I like 3 or 4 sets of 8-12. I'll throw in 15s or 20s every now and then on isolation exercises.

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On 4/12/2020 at 9:29 PM, Magdalena Ravenclaw said:

So, I'm trying to build nice curvy delts. I can OHP 3 sets of 8 reps with 30lb barbell or 3 sets of 15 with 10lb dumbbells before muscle fatigue. Does it matter which? Do you always go with less reps when trying to build? TIA!

 

They're both fine. Like Calanthropy said, the important thing is progressive overload, which means adding weight or volume or some other form of difficulty over time. (with the caveat that you can't just add reps forever, because beyond 15 reps or so you'll gradually shift into adaptations for endurance rather than muscle).

 

It's nice to do both barbell and dumbbell work if you have the time and energy, because they have differnet benefits. With barbells you can simply load up heavier and lift more, which means more mechanical tension (one way of creating muscle damage to stimulate adaptation). Dumbbells are great because you can make sure both sides of your body are strong, and iron out any imbalances and weaknesses. And they work the little stabilising muscles and grip better than barbells. And you can do isolation work if you're bodybuilding.


I don't always go with fewer reps. With upper body dumbbell movements I like to keep it lighter/higher rep, because my shoulders aren't very stable. So I might range from 8 to 15 reps. With deadlifts, I keep it lower/heavier because I like not puking. So I'll go from 3 to 10. I figured these out by experimenting.

 

P.S. OHP alone won't maximally build the delts. You could keep using the barbell for OHP, and use the dumbbells for lateral and front raises. They're isolation moves that specifically target the delts. Just don't use them to replace your compound lifts :) 

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Which delts are you looking for? ;) Anterior (front) delts & lateral (middle) are hit pretty well by the OHP (DB more so than BB for delt-specific goals), but the posterior (back) delts will need different angles if you'd like to develop them properly as well. Anterior delts are also used quite a bit in horizontal push movements (eg. bench press & push ups), so they typically see quite a bit of use in most programming.

 

Any kind of rowing is a great addition to any delt efforts, IMO. Face pulls in particular are one of my favorites. Reverse flyes are also great accessory movements to add to any warm-up/cool down routine you may have; in my experience, delts are quite tolerant and respond well to higher volumes & frequency!

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21 hours ago, Defining said:

Which delts are you looking for? ;) Anterior (front) delts & lateral (middle) are hit pretty well by the OHP (DB more so than BB for delt-specific goals), but the posterior (back) delts will need different angles if you'd like to develop them properly as well. Anterior delts are also used quite a bit in horizontal push movements (eg. bench press & push ups), so they typically see quite a bit of use in most programming.

 

Any kind of rowing is a great addition to any delt efforts, IMO. Face pulls in particular are one of my favorites. Reverse flyes are also great accessory movements to add to any warm-up/cool down routine you may have; in my experience, delts are quite tolerant and respond well to higher volumes & frequency!

 

Um, whatever this kind is. I want the curve that dips in to separate shoulder from bicep. (My paint skills leave something to be desired, but you get the point, lol).

 

 

 

JM_Fitness_1200full-1024x1024arrows.jpg

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@Harriet My neck strains when I do the OHP with the barbell. Does that mean I'm not really ready for that heavy, or is that normal? Also, I have to bend my knees to lower it past my chin or else I feel my lower back try to compensate (and I have a sciatic issue I need to be careful of). Is that okay, or does it also mean I'm not ready. 😕

 

 

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2 hours ago, Magdalena Ravenclaw said:

@Harriet My neck strains when I do the OHP with the barbell. Does that mean I'm not really ready for that heavy, or is that normal? Also, I have to bend my knees to lower it past my chin or else I feel my lower back try to compensate (and I have a sciatic issue I need to be careful of). Is that okay, or does it also mean I'm not ready. 😕

 

 

Hmmm. This doesn't sound right. Can I ask about your form? So, when pressing a barbell overhead, the trick is getting your head out of the way, right? Because it starts under your chin. And you don't want to move the bar out in front of you, you want to keep it over the centre of your foot so it goes up in a straight line. To do that, you have to squeeze your glutes and press your hips forward a bit. This causes your upper chest/head to lean back a little so the bar can be over your centre without hitting your nose. But then you need to straighten up after the bar clears your head.. Then you need to do the little hip move again on the way down. 


Here's Alan Thrall's video on the OHP. Start at 1:35 if you don't want to see him in a leopard minidress pressing a boulder. The explanation of the hip manouver I'm talking about is at 4:07

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34 minutes ago, Harriet said:

 

Hmmm. This doesn't sound right. Can I ask about your form? So, when pressing a barbell overhead, the trick is getting your head out of the way, right? Because it starts under your chin. And you don't want to move the bar out in front of you, you want to keep it over the centre of your foot so it goes up in a straight line. To do that, you have to squeeze your glutes and press your hips forward a bit. This causes your upper chest/head to lean back a little so the bar can be over your centre without hitting your nose. But then you need to straighten up after the bar clears your head.. Then you need to do the little hip move again on the way down. 


Here's Alan Thrall's video on the OHP. Start at 1:35 if you don't want to see him in a leopard minidress pressing a boulder. The explanation of the hip manouver I'm talking about is at 4:07

 

Oh, hahahaha. Yea, I was doing it all wrong. I was keeping it over my boobs and trying to go up. I just tried two reps imitating Alan Thrall. Much better. No neck pain. No need to bend knees. I guess that's what happens when you've never owned a barbell before, lol. 🤭 🤪 🙃

 

Thanks!

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15 hours ago, Magdalena Ravenclaw said:

I want the curve that dips in to separate shoulder from bicep

Those are lateral delts. Lateral raises are great to target those (I prefer seated over standing, personally), but use light weights and really focus on making sure you're feeling it in the shoulder and not compensating with your upper traps.

 

Part of that structure is simply determined by genetics though - we can add muscle to shape, but we may never get exactly the shape that we want despite best efforts.

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On 4/17/2020 at 10:30 AM, Defining said:

Those are lateral delts. Lateral raises are great to target those (I prefer seated over standing, personally), but use light weights and really focus on making sure you're feeling it in the shoulder and not compensating with your upper traps.

 

Part of that structure is simply determined by genetics though - we can add muscle to shape, but we may never get exactly the shape that we want despite best efforts.

 

So on your advice, I decided to do my lateral raises with my 8 lb dumbbells instead of the 10 lbs to see if I could feel my traps working (or not working) and did 1 rep and realized immediately that I was still way too sore from previous upperbody workout the other day. So did lower body instead. Will try and again tomorrow. The only other poundage I have is 4lb, but I would assume that's too low, right? 

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13 hours ago, Magdalena Ravenclaw said:

The only other poundage I have is 4lb, but I would assume that's too low, right? 

Try the 8 and 4, and see which feels better! You can always go with higher reps and a lower weight if it helps you to feel/target the appropriate muscle properly. 

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22 hours ago, Magdalena Ravenclaw said:

Ugh, I am STILL too sore to do an upper body workout. Apparently, my body is NOT ready for push ups on the toes, lol.

Doing light work that gets blood moving in the affected areas can sometimes help with the soreness. Also making sure that you're getting enough protein (specifically BCAA rich protein, so whey would be a good choice) and staying hydrated.

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Finally did an shoulder routine yesterday. On the advice of @Defining I did it my lateral delt raises at 4lbs. I didn't feel muscle fatigue until 20 reps on the first set, though it did go down a little bit. But when I tried it at the 8lbs, I could definitely feel a strain in my back so I'm assuming that was indeed my traps trying to help. *sigh* So much for thinking I was a strong bad @ss, lol.

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43 minutes ago, Magdalena Ravenclaw said:

Finally did an shoulder routine yesterday. On the advice of @Defining I did it my lateral delt raises at 4lbs. I didn't feel muscle fatigue until 20 reps on the first set, though it did go down a little bit. But when I tried it at the 8lbs, I could definitely feel a strain in my back so I'm assuming that was indeed my traps trying to help. *sigh* So much for thinking I was a strong bad @ss, lol.

When I started doing delt raises, I had to use no more than 2lbs/arm, and definitely wasn't doing 20 reps. Feel like a badass because you're using the correct weight and technique to reach YOUR goals.

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