Shoulder Work

shoulder workIt has been a while since I did any dedicated shoulder work. The thing is, if you work your chest and your back with anything resembling serious intent, your delts will come along. I used to work on a woman who had swum for the East German Olympic team in training, back in the day, and consumed a steady diet of what the trainers told her were vitamins. We concluded that the pills were more likely Dianabol but anyway she had magnificent deltoids, elliptically graceful and striated, which she could pump up just by doing her warmups on a rowing machine for a week or so. In fact rowers are my other contingent of shoulder pinup girls, closely followed by rock climbers.

Lately, though, what with the lingering susceptibility of my left leg to a day or so’s revenge after long burns, I have been digging into upper body and returned to the wonderful dumbbell maneuver known as the Arnold Press. Supposedly Schwarzenegger in his prime loved these. You curl up your dumbbell to shoulder height, punch it straight up and lock it out, then drop it down back into the curl position (a nice, gratuitous bicep burn in passing) while you punch up the opposite side. It makes you look a little like a cheerleader with a really industrial set of pompoms.

It feels as if I am pummeling the sky, my shoulderblades braced against my ribs like a shieldwall. After I have finished a set I do a whack of dumbbell curls and another of bent-over kickbacks, until the arm muscles balk and go into slo-mo like those vacuum dinguses you use to get the air out of a wine bottle. Then I do it all again a couple more times.

Did I mention I love lifting? If I had to choose between this and, say, sex or food, something might blow up.

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