Get Big Shoulders With This Tri-Set

March 18, 2013 | Todd Bumgardner

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A few years ago, I spent the summer training a few large groups of high school football players. Between times spent answering their questions about how to get "jacked," I had to develop a program that efficiently produced results. Coaching groups of young men who were nutritionally depleted and calorically overloaded, I had my work cut out for me. (Find more ways to build muscle.)

Since football is characterized by collisions, strength and stability in the neck and shoulder girdle are critical concerns. This is especially true for teenagers whose shirt collars dangle like Flava Flav's gold chains. Did I mention that I had my work cut out for me?

With only a few months to clad these youngsters with a sheath of protective armor, I got creative. The Shoulder Girdle Tri-Set was born. (See also how Dwight Freeney works his shoulders.)

The Shoulder Girdle Tri-Set is a group of three exercises performed in superset fashion. You pick two stability exercises to improve shoulder health and one movement exercise to increase muscle size. The Tri-Set should completely fatigue your muscles, so you should do it as a finisher at the end of a workout, preferably toward the end of the week.

Whether your goal is to improve your performance and stay healthy, or simply look better, the Tri-Set is a great option. By the end of the summer, many of the football guys I worked with stopped asking me to help them get "jacked."

Before we move on to constructing a Tri-Set, let's look at the menu options.

Stability Exercises (choose 2)

  • Band Pullaparts - pull resistance band apart with arms extended in front of rest
  • Scapular Push-Ups - do a Push-Up and push your shoulders as far forward as possible at the top of each rep
  • Turkish Get-Up variations
  • Farmer's Walk variations
  • Static Row Holds - perform an Inverted Row and hold your chest to the bar
  • Static Pull-Up Holds - perform a Pull-Up and hold your chin over the bar

Movement Exercises (Choose 1)

  • Front Delt Raises
  • Side Delt Raises
  • Rear Delt Raises
  • Scarecrows
  • Face Pulls - hold resistance band handles and pull toward your face
  • Dumbbell/Kettlebell Overhead Press variations

Shoulder Girdle Tri-Set Example

Move from one exercise to the next with minimal rest. Rest for 60-90 seconds after completing the Tri-Set. Repeat two to three times.

  1. Farmer's Walk x 30 seconds
  2. Face Pulls x 12
  3. Static Row Holds -  3x5-10 seconds
Topics: SHOULDERS
Todd Bumgardner
- Todd Bumgardner, co-owner of Beyond Strength Performance (Dulles, Va.), works with athletes both in person and online. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science...
Todd Bumgardner
- Todd Bumgardner, co-owner of Beyond Strength Performance (Dulles, Va.), works with athletes both in person and online. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science...

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