Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Classic Bodybuilding: Bill Pearl's Shoulder Training Programs

Bill Pearl is, without a doubt, in my top two or three list of "greatest bodybuilders of all time."  In my opinion, he was the first bodybuilder to look truly massive while in competition shape, not to mention massive in all of the photos that you saw in the magazines.

Pearl was before my time.  But maybe that's why I hold him in such high regard.

A lot of the bodybuilders and lifters that guys these days consider to be "old-timers" aren't old-timers to me.  Hell, I'm considered an old-timer by many.

And maybe that's why he's always been so mythic to me.

I can still remember (sometime in the late '80s) thumbing through a stack of old Iron Man magazines that my uncle had kept from the '60s and the '70s.  Many of the bodybuilders I first came across in those pages were impressive, no doubt.  But THEN I came across Bill Pearl.
Bill Pearl as I remember seeing him for the first time
Everything was large on Pearl - his chest, his arms, his thighs, his back, and his shoulders.  In the future, I'll add some articles detailing other bodyparts, as well.  For now, here are some of his recommended shoulder workouts.  NONE of them are for the faint-of-heart, but I have a good feeling that's exactly as it should be.

Enjoy...



Follow each program for three days per week for a period of six weeks. The programs below are for individuals who have been training for a period of years. Beginners should do only one set of each exercise on Routine One. After completing the six week period, start Routine Two and do two sets of each exercise. Do not do more than three sets of each exercise until you have been working out for at least a year or more.

Work within your own limit.


Routine One

 1) Military Press  3 x 8-10.
This is the standard military press. Clean the weight to the chest, or take the weight from stands. Lock the legs and hips solidly. This will give you a solid platform from which to push. Keep the elbows in slightly under the bar, press the weight overhead, lock the arms out. When lowering the barbell to the chest, be sure it rests on the chest and is not held with the arms. If the chest is held high it will give a you a nice shelf on which to place the barbell and to push from. Inhale before the press and exhale when lowering the bar.

2) Upright Rowing 3 x 8-10
This is an excellent trapezius and deltoid exercise. Place hands on the barbell at roughly shoulder width. Keep the body erect and stationary and pull the weight to the top position at or above nipple height. Keep the barbell in close and pause momentarily at the top. Concentrate as you slowly lower the bar to starting position. Inhale up and exhale down.

3) Seated Dumbbell Press  3 x 8-10
Clean dumbbells to shoulders and sit on bench, placing one foot slightly ahead of the other to form a stable base. With the palms facing each other press the bells to arms' length overhead. Be sure to completely straighten the arms. Inhale before pressing overhead, exhale when lowering back to the shoulders.

4) Bentover Deltoid Raise 3 x 8
Lock the elbows and keep the arms straight. Bring the dumbbells to the top position and hold and contract the muscles. Do not swing the dumbbells up, keep the body rigid and strongly work the muscles of the deltoids and upper back. Be sure to bring the dumbbells straight out to the sides, inhaling up and exhaling down.


Routine Two

1) Standing Press Behind Neck 4 x 8-10
Stand with feet placed a comfortable distance apart. Use quite a wide grip, wider than shoulder width on the bar. Keep the elbows directly under the bar. Press the barbell overhead to lockout. Inhale as you press overhead and exhale as you lower to your shoulders. Maintain a solid foundation by keeping the legs straight and the hips flexed. Pause at the shoulder before pressing the barbell overhead. Make a full movement of the exercise by touching the barbell to the shoulders each time it is lowered and locking the elbows each time it is pressed overhead.

2) Bentover Barbell Row 4 x 8
Use a wide grip on the bar and a wide foot spacing. you can bend the knees or keep the legs straight. The important thing is to bend forward at the waist and maintain a straight back. Keep the arms straight, pull he barbell up to the chest and make a definite pause. Lower the bar back to arms' length. Be sure to work the muscle both ways when pulling up and letting the weight down. Do your repetitions slowly and smoothly. Do not drop the shoulders or round the back. Inhale on the upward pull to the chest. By keeping the waist drawn in and the chest out, it will be easier to touch your chest with the bar and maintain a flat back position. Exhale when lowering the bar back to arms' length.

3) Seated Alternate Dumbbell Press 3 x 8
Clean dumbbells and sit down. Start with bells at shoulders. Press dumbbell in right hand to arms' length overhead, keeping dumbbell in left hand at the shoulder. Lower right dumbbell back to shoulder and press right dumbbell overhead. Maintain a rigid body position doing all the work with the shoulder and arm. Do not lean from side to side while pressing. Inhale up, exhale down.

4) Barbell Forward Raise 3 x 8-10
Use a shoulder width grip on barbell and stand with it at arms' length. Rest bar on thighs. Keeping elbows locked and arms straight, raise barbell over head. Slowly lower bar back to thighs, keeping arms straight. Inhale at starting position and exhale as bar is returned from overhead.


Routine Three

1) Wide Grip Upright Row 3 x 6-8
This is a more difficult type of upright rowing exercise. The deltoids are worked more and much concentration is required to perform it correctly. Start with the barbell at arms' length, resting on the thighs, but with a wider than shoulder-width hand spacing. Pull barbell up to a position at or above the nipples. Pause while contracting strongly, then lower to starting position. Inhale up, exhale down. 

2) Seated Press Behind Neck 4 x 6-8
This is performed as the regular standing press behind neck, only in a seated position. Rest the bar on your shoulders between each rep and set yourself for the press.

3) Crucifix 3 x 6-8
To handle a substantial poundage, stand in a solid position and press two dumbbells to arms' length overhead. Slowly lower them with straight arms and locked elbows to the sides at shoulder height. Attempt to hold arms in position for a count of 5 to 10. The purpose of the crucifix is to use the deltoids as a support and this places a stress of a different nature upon the muscles. Inhale while pressing the dumbbells overhead and exhale as they are lowered.

4) Seated Alternate Dumbbell Raise 3 x 8
Sit with dumbbells held at arms' length at sides. With dumbbell in left hand in down position, raise dumbbell in right hand to arm's length overhead. Lower right arm to position hanging straight at side, raise the left arm. Inhale upward and exhale when lowering dumbbell.

5) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 2 x 8-10



Routine Four

1) One Arm Military Press 3 x 5-8
Using a dumbbell when pressing can allow you to get a lower position and fuller range of movement. Clean the bell to the shoulder. Keep the heels together and extend other arm for balance. Keep the body straight, press dumbbell to arm's length overhead. Work should be done entirely with shoulder and arm. Inhale and press overhead, exhale as you lower it to shoulder.

2) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 3 x 8-10

3) Seated Military Press 4 x 5-8
This exercise is done exactly as standing military press, only in a sitting position, and in a stricter fashion. First, clean the barbell to the shoulders, sit down, and place the feet in evenly. Do not stagger the position of the feet in this exercise. Keep the chest high and back straight and press the barbell to arms' length overhead. Do the press slowly and steadily, keeping tension on the muscles at all times, except when barbell is resting on chest. Breathe the same as the regular military press.

4) Alternate Standing Dumbbell Raise 3 x 8
Assume a solid stance with a dumbbell in each hand. Inhale and raise the right arm overhead and to the front, keeping arm straight. Exhale as you lower the bell back to starting position. Raise left arm, keeping position stationary. Do not lean forward or backwards. Do the work with deltoid muscle and work each arm, one repetition at a time.

5) Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 x 8
Sit erect with arms extended by the sides. Raise them to just above shoulder height. The angle of the raise should be between the position of the regular lateral raise and the forward raise. Inhale before raising the bells, exhale as they are lowered under control.



Routine Five

1) Seated Press in Front and Behind Neck 4 x 8
This is one of the very best shoulder exercises. It must be done properly to obtain the full results. First, clean a barbell to your shoulders and sit down on a bench. Press to arms' length. Lower barbell to behind neck to the shoulders. Do not relax or rest at the shoulder, press the bar back to arms' length, lower it to the chest and repeat again. Keep the bar in motion throughout the exercise. This is a compound exercise and four presses to front and four to back are performed. Inhale up, exhale down. 

2) Standing Lateral Raise 4 x 8
In a comfortable stance, start with dumbbells at arms' length, palms facing in toward the thighs. Slowly raise dumbbells to a position a little above shoulder height, pause and contract the deltoid, then lower back to starting position. Keep the arms straight and elbows locked throughout the execution of this exercise. Inhale when raising, exhale when lowering.

3) One Arm Rowing 4 x 8
Use a bench, placing one hand on the bench for support and spreading the feet wide. This will give you balance. Keep the back straight and extend the arm fully. Next, pull the dumbbell to the chest, keeping the elbow pointed outwards which will allow you to pull the bell higher and work the latissimus more fully. The dumbbell is pulled in a straight line. There is no rotating motion. Inhale on the upward pull and exhale when extending the arm to a straight position. 

4) Bent Arm Lateral Raise 3 x 6-8
This is a standing version of the seated dumbbell lateral raise, exercise number 5 in routine 4.

5) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 2 x 8-10

Monday, September 11, 2017

New Email

Once again - as usual, it seems - it has been too long since I last posted here, but why I had a moment, I wanted to give a brief update:

If you are trying to email me at my old email address - cssloan@me.com - please don't!

Please direct all your questions, comments, or info you may have for me at csintegralstrength@gmail.com.

I love getting email, and answering questions, or reading how I may have inspired or made a difference in your lifting lives.  I will no longer be able to receive email at my old address, so make sure you send all of your stuff to my new one.

Keep the email coming!