- "Endurance Athletes: The Necessity of Strength Training"
- "Shoulders: Add Size & Strength Using Only Cable Exercises"



The focus here is on STRENGTH development, not muscular ENDURANCE. The endurance athlete already has extremely high levels of muscular endurance due to their high-volume aerobic training regimens. Resistance training is prescribed in this program to build strength in the muscle fibers and the connective tissue to enhance performance and strengthen tissues against injury. Studies with endurance athletes have shown that the addition of high-intensity resistance training (5 sets x 5 RM) increases strength and short-term endurance performance (exercise to exhaustion test). 

The program emphasis is on the legs, single-leg training, and core strength (abdominal and low-back complex). These are the keys to almost all success in athletics. Upper-back exercises (rowing exercises) are included to balance the strength development of the "pushing" muscles (pectorals) to ensure muscle balance in the upper-body. The pushing (presses) and pulling exercises will help build adequate arm strength to increase arm stride performance.


Here are the important considerations for the training program:

- *1-2 warm-up sets (12 repetitions per set at a light intensity).

- Choose 1 lift from each group of exercises.

- Rest 1 minute between sets.

- Tempo = 2 - 0 - 1 (2 count on downward movement, no pause, 1 count up).

- Stretching must be done every day. Do NOT neglect this component.


: Week 1 = 1 set of 12-15 repetitions    

               = 1 day of training per week

: Week 2 = 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions

               = 1-2 days of training per week

: Week 3 = 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions

               = max of 2 weekly sessions during heavy conditioning periods

               = max of 3 weekly sessions during the off-season


(choose 1 exercise from every grouping)

A) -*SQUAT                                                               

      -*LEG PRESS                                                      

      -*DB (dumbbell) STEP-UP                                         






     -*DB ROW

D) -*BENCH PRESS                                                   

     -*DB FLAT PRESS                                               

     -*DB INCLINE PRESS                                         








Do you want to make an impression around the office, on the beach, or at the bar? Might I suggest developing big, muscular shoulders? Broad shoulders are looked upon with great respect, after all, it is has been said that the shoulders make the man.

The most popular exercises used for deltoid (anatomical name for shoulder muscles) development have been the shoulder press and the narrow-grip upright row. Unfortunately, repetitive overhead pressing and the unnatural movement promoted by the upright row may leave some individuals at risk of injury. But what other exercises can be recommended for shoulder development aside from these basics?

The first exercise that comes to my mind based on personal experience and training success with my clients is the cable lateral raise. This action applies continuous and isolated tension to the deltoids to help stimulate muscle growth. In fact, an entire workout for the shoulders can be performed using the cable stack. But first, take a closer look at the cable lateral raise. 


Stand sideways at a cable stack. The pulley should be set in the lowest position with a single-arm handle attached. Grab the handle and return to a standing position with the knees slightly bent and torso erect. Slowly raise the arm out to the side with a very slight bend at the elbow. Raise the hand to shoulder level and concentrate on contracting the deltoid muscles. Pause at shoulder height and then slowly return the weight to the starting position.

To see the superiority of the cable version, a comparison of the dumbbell (DB) and cable lateral raises is necessary. The lateral raise is initiated by moving the arm sideways (parallel to the floor) before any vertical action occurs and in the DB version, there is no resistance against the deltoid because the DB is not moving against gravity. Lifters often take advantage of the low-resistance in this phase to use very heavy weights but the difficulty in the latter phases of the exercise contribute to the abundance of poor form seen in the performance of this exercise.

In analysis, the DB lateral raise does not provide the optimal stimulus to the deltoid muscle as there is very little effort required at the start when the muscle is strongest but a very high effort required when the muscle is weakest. The use of a cable stack with the handle set at the low pulley position is a better mode of resistance because the weight is always moving vertically (against gravity) and is always applying resistance to the deltoid. 

In addition to the cable lateral raise you should include the cable wide-grip upright row and bent-over cable lateral raise for complete deltoid development. The upright row will provide supplementary stimulation to the deltoids and trapezius muscles for growth and the bent-over lateral raise targets the oft-neglected posterior head of the deltoid. Dumbbell shrugs isolate the trapezius muscles to build a thick and strong neck area. Finally, external rotations will help build strength to keep the vulnerable shoulder area safe from overuse or traumatic injury.

The narrow-grip upright row may place the trainee at risk for shoulder impingement however it would be a shame to eliminate such an effective exercise due to the injury risk. Fortunately, the exercise can be used safely and effectively simply by increasing the width of the grip so that the hands are slightly greater than shoulder-width apart. This simple grip adjustment alters the biomechanics of the exercise to allow the shoulder joint to move in a more "natural" motion and will reduce the risk of shoulder impingement. 

Hogging the cable stack at the gym has never made any friends, but after this program you will have such huge shoulders, no one will want to be your enemy! However, if maximal strength in the shoulder press is your goal, then you have no choice but to continue with a variety of pressing movements.

The "cable-stacked" program may increase strength a little because of a greater muscle mass but remember the principle of specificity of training: In order to improve performance  (i.e. the amount of weight lifted in the shoulder press), the training routine must focus on that exercise. For maximal strength in the shoulder press, begin your workout with 1-2 high-intensity sets of a shoulder press movement and then continue with the "cable-stacked" routine.

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