Complete Book of Shoulders and Arms: The Definitive Resource for Shaping and Strengthening the Shoulders and Arms


For men, broad shoulders and muscular arms are the archetype for strength and power. For women, the sagging underarm is one of the most common trouble spots. For both, defined deltoids make the waist appear smaller and separate the arm from the shoulder, creating an athletic and healthy look. Body-concious modern fashions make training the shoulders and arms a priority for everyone.

The Complete Book of Shoulders and Arms is the definitive resource to train these muscles safely....

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For men, broad shoulders and muscular arms are the archetype for strength and power. For women, the sagging underarm is one of the most common trouble spots. For both, defined deltoids make the waist appear smaller and separate the arm from the shoulder, creating an athletic and healthy look. Body-concious modern fashions make training the shoulders and arms a priority for everyone.

The Complete Book of Shoulders and Arms is the definitive resource to train these muscles safely. Each exercise is illustrated in detail, ranked for difficulty, flagged for lower-back risk and accompanied by explicit instructions and specific training tips to achieve optimal results. The exercise routines are based on the most current research in sports medicine/exercise physiology and were created by top strength coaches, athletes, personal trainers, exercise physiologists, doctors, physical therapists and nutritionists. Programs are designed for everyone from the novice to the advanced enthusiast, for the corporate executive with time-crunched schedules and for the senior concerned with wellness.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060951665
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Working Out: The Truth

Aesthetics and Performance

The most commonly visible upper-body parts are the shoulders and arms. So it only makes sense that you want to keep these areas looking their best. Traditionally, for men, strong arms and broad shoulders are a sign of masculinity and power. And for women, one of the greatest areas of concern is flabby arms. In addition to their aesthetic value, these body parts work together in most sports and recreational activities: throwing, swinging, running, and swimming. Strengthening the shoulders and arms also improve performance by eliminating common injury. For both the serious and the recreational athlete, maladies such as tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries, and shoulder separations can be greatly reduced by following an exercise plan based on muscle balance.


The aim of this book is threefold: (1) It compiles all the major shoulder and arm exercises in a single volume, creating a complete resource for you; (2) it provides an organized and comprehensive battery of routines designed to fit the needs of almost every exerciser; and (3) it is a training manual in which you will learn the principles of working your shoulders and arms effectively and safely, allowing you to create your own individual program.

In addition, this book fortifies you with vital information about nutrition, the mind-body principles, and overall body wellness.

The Truth

From book to book, the basic truths still remain the same. There are no shortcuts in training. The only way to correctly work your shoulders and arms is through a combination ofconsistent, focused exercises, adherence to basic training principles (which also means taking time off), and proper nutrition. This book will give you all the tools you need. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. All you need is a map. No series of $19.95 gimmicks will eliminate the need to follow these basic and sound steps. We will take you step by step through the journey. Remember, a good plan is half the battle.

The other half is your commitment. Commitment is your fuel, the driving force behind your motivation. It's hard to nail down exactly why we procrastinate and stop pursuing goals; commitment is a very personal and intangible quality. The most important thing is to trust your first impulse to improve, and nurture that desire. Let it grow, allow it to overpower all the inner voices that try to hold you back. Allow it to overpower the outside voices of culture and society that try to pigeonhole you into their mass image, instead of our own individual image. You don't have to listen to the messages that say you're too old to work out, you don't have time, you'll feel too self-conscious in a gym, or you're just not the athletic or workout type. Instead, nurture that first impulse, that original spark of excitement you feel about your body and your potential, and let it grow, let it burn. Sometimes you have to start a fire to put out a fire. You have to start a new fire (a passion) to replace the old habits (unhealthy diet, inconsistent workouts, a defeatist attitude). These old habits are just that--habits. Not true wants. Let the real fire start to burn.

Myths and Facts

1. If I lift heavy weights for my shoulders and arms, I will become muscle-bound.

Being muscle-bound is normally defined by
a lack of flexibility--range of motion about
a joint. The only ways you would become
muscle-bound are if you become so huge that your range of motion is limited by the size of your muscles, or if you failed to lift through the prescribed range of motion. Adhering to the basic principles of resistance training and participating in a flexibility program will make your fears unwarranted.

2. I can't do shoulder exercises because I have a bad lower back.

A bad back should in no way limit your ability to train your shoulders--or, for that matter, any body part. The first and most important factor is to eliminate your back problem (see Chapter 6). In conjunction with back rehab, shoulder exercises should be executed in a manner that places the back at minimal risk (seated or kneeling with proper back support).

3. To get big arms, must I train them at the beginning of my workout?

If your only goal is to have big arms, then prioritizing them (doing them first) in a workout would make sense. But there are as many different theories as there are variables that affect arm size. None of them offers the absolute answer. Another theory would be prefatiguing your arms by working chest, back, and shoulders first. A systematic approach that includes training with high intensity and proper nutrition, coupled with periodizing (creating variety and steady adaptation in) your workouts (see Chapter 19: "Creating Your Own Routine") will bring you to your full potential.

4. I don't want to exercise my traps because it will give me a big neck.

So do you want to be a pencil-necked geek? Most important in training is the SAID principle--Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. For your neck to get bigger, you must train your neck. The purpose of exercising the traps is to help stabilize the shoulder girdle, to improve posture and to strengthen the trapezius muscles, not to increase the size of the neck. In an aesthetic sense, it would be true that big traps might make the neck look thick. If this is a concern, adjust your trap workout accordingly.

5. I've tried every exercise to get rid of the sag in the back of my arms, and nothing works.

Your exasperation is not uncommon, and the answer may not be pleasing. It requires discipline, dedication, and perseverance. A combination of a whole body workout combined with specific exercises for your triceps (as prescribed in this book), and stored body fat depletion (aerobic training and nutrition) will solve the problem.

6. I do push-ups and pull-ups, so I don't need to weight-train my shoulders and arms.

In a synergistic system (the body) all parts deserve their relative attention. The arms and shoulders are integral in the performance of a variety of movements and athletic endeavors. Their relative weakness would increase the potential of injury to a variety of connective and contractile tissue as well as to specific joints. Push-ups and pull-ups are both great exercises, but in these muscle movements, the shoulders and arms work as secondary, not primary muscles. Therefore, they do not get worked in isolation, allowing them to develop to their full potential.

7. I don't use weights when I train shoulders and arms, because I don't want to get big like a man.

The vast majority of women will not achieve the muscular size (hypertrophy) that a small number of men (elite bodybuilders) achieve, basically because of hormonal differences. By not using weights (either free weight or machines), you limit yourself and may make it more difficult to reach your full potential. The movements and intensity you can achieve with weights will introduce a variety into your training program that will keep you interested and improving for the rest of your life. If you feel that you are getting too big, adjust your workout (see Chapter 19). Don't use getting big as an excuse to avoid the weights.

8. The bigger and more grueling the workout, the better the results.

The answer to this lies in what youshouldn'tdo. Fifteen sets for any body part, let alone the biceps, is too much volume and not high enough intensity. If you can reach double figures in sets for any body part, your intensity level (weight used) is not high enough. For the biceps I would recommend 3 to 7 sets total with a variety of movements (see Biceps System).

9. I have a shoulder injury, so I can't lift weights.

Depending upon the severity of the injury, you may not be able to lift weights. But once rehabilitation starts, weight training can and should be an important component in its success and the future prevention of injury. After consulting with a doctor, start with light weights and proper technique.

10. I'm too old to lift weights.

Numerous studies show the benefits of weight training for "older" people. Improvements in

body composition, injury prevention (including prevention of osteoporosis), and general well-being should far outweigh any fears or misconceptions you may have about age and weight training. The core of your problem lies in the preconceived notion of what it means to be old. Don't let these out-of-date notions keep you from making weight training one part of a healthy and active life.

11. I train my biceps and triceps, so I don't need to train my forearms.

The body--and any movement--is only as strong as its weakest part or point, so if you neglect one area you cheat the rest of the bodyof its proper intensity. Consequently, you would probably be cheating your biceps or triceps because of forearm weakness. The forearms will give out before the biceps reach muscular failure.

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Table of Contents

1 Working Out: The Truth 3
2 Body Basics: Anatomy 7
3 Proper Technique: The Body 21
4 Proper Technique: The Mind 27
5 Power Nutrition: Eating to Fuel Fitness 37
6 The Lower Back 107
7 Putting It All Together 113
8 Introduction to the Exercises 127
9 The Shoulders 137
10 The Traps 167
11 The Triceps 177
12 The Biceps 199
13 The Forearms 229
14 The Machines 237
15 Introduction to the System 243
16 The Home System 247
17 The System 251
18 Routines from the Pros 269
19 Creating Your Own Routine 285
Credits 291
Index 295
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