004 delts Craig Titus ONE-ARM LATERAL RAISEIn today’s article I’m going talk about subconsciously cheating your way through shoulder movements that limit the stimulation of the muscle, and I’m also going to give you a quick tip for performing dumbbell lunges to prevent that sharp pain in your knee joint.

Too often, I see guys in the gym focusing on lifting heavy weights, but neglect proper form and technique and how the weight is lifted. This can seriously limit your gains. What I mean is whenever you a weight that your body struggles with, your body will move the weight in the most efficient way possible, often using surrounding muscles to compensate. If you don’t focus on each and every rep and take note, you might not even see any muscle size and improvements over time. One of the most common cheats that the body uses is when performing shoulder exercises. If I had a dime for every time I’ve seen a lateral raise or front raise performed incorrectly, I’d be filthy rich. Because going the gym is an ego thing right? You want to be lifting more than the guy sitting on the bench beside you, and you don’t really care how you look doing the exercise. I know I’ve outlined proper form and technique in a previous article, so won’t go too in-depth about it in this one.

The first example is the dumbbell lateral raise. Most of the time when the lateral raise is performed (with or without heavy weights), your traps are assisting with the exercise by shrugging upward. A way to limit the traps from the equation is to hold the dumbbell, and bringing it up while pretending that you’re putting your arm under and table and reaching up to the other side. Another way to take the traps out of the exercise is to squeeze your shoulder blades back while lifting the weight up. You’ll definitely notice that you won’t be able to lift as much weight now.

The second exercise cheat is with the dumbbell front raise.Far too often I see people that are lifting the weight up half way and then using the momentum of leaning back to bring up the weight. Sure you might not be noticing, but this brings the lower back into the exercise. Since your front delts aren’t strong enough to bring up the weight in a controlled fashion, your body subconsciously uses it’s lower back to help out. Kinda like saying “don’t worry, I’ll help you get reach this goal of getting the weight to go up in front of you.” A good fix for this is to lean yourself forward by putting one leg in front of you. Now if you perform front raises, it’ll mostly be your delts doing the work with no other surrounding muscles helping it, and you’ll definitely feel that you won’t be able to lift as much weight.

Take a good look at how you’re performing these shoulder exercises, and next time you’re in the gym, try to really focus and use these 2 techniques that you’ve just read about to help you build bigger delts.

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“I get a lot of pain in my knee joint when doing forward lunges, is there a work around for that or am I doomed to never be able to do them?” 

knee-painThe lunge is one of my favorite leg exercises. It’s great for developing the glutes, quads and hamstrings. I usually complete each session of my workout by grabbing a set of dumbbells and just walking a few laps around the gym. I obviously do this late night when there is nobody watching so they can’t judge me. For me, the exercise doesn’t bother me at all (knock on wood), but for a lot of people, they often experience a sharp pain in their knees while performing this exercise, and sharp joint pains are never a good thing to have. So why do you get knee pain while doing this exercise and how do you get around it?

To begin, the forward lunge is an open chain exercise. Open chain meaning that the working foot is not in contact with the ground or a stable surface. When you step forward and your foot makes contact with the ground, there is a lot of stress and forces that get transferred up the leg and through the bone and tendons. If you’re a person who already has weakened knee joints from a previous injury, this can feel like a sharp stabbing pain going through your leg. One way to keep the lunge into your routine is to do them reverse. Instead of stepping forward and having all of that force going into the working leg, your other leg that isn’t getting worked is moving backwards putting you into the final lunge position. This keeps the targeted leg in a close chained position and you don’t have to worry about the shock of force going up and through your knee. Give it a try next time!

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. See you in the next article.

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John

John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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