The Shoulders Of Naturals vs. The Shoulders of Steroid Users Natty Shoulders vs. Steroid Shoulders

steroid-vs-natural-shoulders

What if I tell you there are aliens in the gym? Those are the guys who just don’t match the whole picture not necessarily because they are too big, but because they look different. It’s like comparing a raw photo to one enhanced in a digital editor.

I spent about two years in a dirty underground gym. I had the chance to see not only fat powerlifters with riverlike high blood pressure powered vein on their foreheads but also competitive regional bodybuilders ready to do whatever it takes to look good naked. Those were the guys vacuuming the attention of the whole gym and filling their balloon egos with it.

There was something peculiar about their physiques. The aura of those muscle beats was so distinctive that even the old cleaning lady was often starring at them. You know you are something when you get attention not only from the muscle addicts but also from the ordinary people who don’t know the difference between biceps and traps.


“Are they on steroids,” I asked myself but quickly depressed that thought because I was in the middle of an intense heavy training that was going to help me build huge, “functional” muscles.

Besides, asking similar questions was not accepted by the muscle church. I had to shut down the hater in me.

Today, I know the truth and feel no shame in saying that the Photoshop glow around most big dudes is largely due to the effect of anabolic steroids and growth hormone. They can keep on telling their fairy tales about drop sets, anabolic windows, doors, broccoli and berries, but that won’t change the fact that behind the technological muscle effects we found cocktails of drugs.

Techno Vs. Organic

What would classical composers and musicians think when they hear a techno song programmed in a computer for the first time? What would Mozart and his crew think of trap beats? What would their reaction be? They would be intrigued. The composition would sound unusual to them. Every single sound will be new and mystifying. They would listen to the song over and over again in an attempt to understand what’s producing the peculiar vibrations commanded by a mechanical rhythm.

People who see steroid users for the first time have similar reactions. They feel like lifelong pony riders seeing a Ferrari for the first time. The thing in front of you is real, and yet it seems produced in another world.

Hormones = Regulators

Hormones play the role of regulators. They decide whether you are going to look like Batman or Catwoman.

A woman with large broad shoulders could easily be mistaken for a man. That’s hardly a surprise. Men are known for their wide shoulders while women are left with the pear-shaped lower bodies. The shoulders are simply “male muscles” any way you look at it. You can say that’s sexist, but I care not. Besides, it wasn’t my design. Calm down, please!

The shoulders are one of the most drug-responsive muscle groups along with the upper pectorals and the traps. Roids love shoulders, traps and upper pecs like a fat kid loves double cheeseburgers, chips, and PlayStation.

The main reason for the strong connection of anabolic steroids with the shoulders, upper pecs and traps is the willingness of those muscles to accept androgen. It’s well known that the concentration of hungry androgen receptors in those areas is the highest.

The ironic part is that women on steroids actually demonstrate this idea better than males. Every single female bodybuilder has unnaturally large shoulders and upper pectorals. In fact, I would go as far as saying that most professional female bodybuilders have much bigger shoulders than what natural men can ever build regardless of how they train. That’s the power of hormones.

The Shoulder Of The Natural

The shoulder of the average gym rat looks like that: the front deltoid is overdeveloped compared to the middle and sometimes the rear deltoid. That’s not a bad thing. The front muscle has to be stronger than its little brother because it’s part of the three main pushers (deltoids, chest, triceps). It has to do more work during pressing than the real delts do during pulling. You will hardly miss a lift because your rear deltoids are not strong enough. The big back muscles and the biceps are always there to help with pulling.

The side deltoid of the natty looks flat as a pancake and rarely has deep visible striations a.k.a. “feathers” unless the muscle is pumped beyond belief, and the natty in question looks anorexic. Excuse me! I meant “lean”.

If the muscle is not pumped, it naturally disappears into the shadows regardless of how promiscuous the tank top of choice is. If the natural lifts his arms to the side as if he is doing lateral raises, the middle deltoid will look rounder and fuller. However, when the arm is close to the body the good old pancake reappears.

The Shoulder of the Steroid User

The shoulder of the steroid user is full and nasty at all times. The muscle is dry. The skin is as thin as silk. There are visible striations from miles away. The veins are very pronounced. All three heads look equally developed. There is no flatness even when the arms are close to the body. Thick muscle fibers are covering the side area and creating the so-called “capped” effect. The muscle looks surreal and attracts a lot of attention. The steroid user does not have to search for a specific pose to showcase the roundness of his delts. They are big and round all the time. Even his grandmother asks him to flex for her.

What’s behind the shoulder of the steroid user?

Short answer – drugs. Longer answer – a lot of drugs. Lengthy answer – read on.

Trenbolone – The Demon Behind Modern Muscles

Trenbolone, better known simply as Tren, is the drug responsible for the look of the modern muscle heroes. It’s used not only by professional bodybuilders but also by physique competitors who often play the natural and aesthetic card.

“We don’t want to look like the bloated bodybuilders with big guts. We want to be aesthetic. We are natural, protein powder only boys and girls.”

This translates to – we use lower doses than bodybuilders. Therefore, we are natural.

Tren is loved by the muscle addicts because it’s incredibly anabolic. Due to its insane binding affinity for the androgen receptors it’s consider five times more anabolic than testosterone.

Furthermore, tren is known to produce a very specific appearance that’s very hard to create with other muscle elixirs.

When you look at the popular guys with 3D physiques, you are not seeing testosterone only brahs. Testosterone alone does not produce the grainy, shredded, 3D, technological look displayed by the liars on the covers. Testosterone makes you big and thick, but you still look human compared to the aliens abusing combinations of steroid compounds.

Harder and Tighter

Trenbolone is known for the so-called tightening effect – the skin wraps around the muscle and compresses it.

This is how this happens: the fibers get a lot closer and start separating because of water going inside the muscle. Some people believe that this is the main process behind the tren look – the subcutaneous water goes into the muscle and makes the physique of the user appear leaner and tighter. This phenomenon is more apparent when the person has already low body fat. If done right, the end result could be extraterrestrial. Those properties make tren very effective when it comes to creating 3D capped delts and overall nastiness.

Other drugs known for helping the creation of canonball delts designed for a video game are Equipose, Masteron, Anavar, Winstrol and many more.

Lean and Vascular

Tren and his friends produce an incredibly vascular physique that is impossible to match naturally no matter how lean you are. People on tren become like road maps and start to notice veins on their bodies everywhere – on the back of the legs, on the traps, on the chest and of course on the shoulders. The vein going from the top of the shoulder down to the biceps will become thick enough to demand autonomy.

Training

You can definitely build brutally strong shoulders as a natural. Things like heavy weighted dips, bench presses, handstand push-ups, overhead presses, weighted pull-ups and barbell rows will take care of your shoulders better than anything. However, in this case, we are not talking about strength. We are talking about appearance. The two know each other and have played together as kids but are far from being the same thing.

Strength is primarily dependent on your ligaments, tendons, and CNS. Would you believe me if I tell you that right now your CNS can generate a very intense muscular contraction that can tear your muscles and tendons? It’s possible, but the CNS is not doing it in order to protect the joints. If the body has not been trained to do something, the CNS won’t allow it. Going in no man’s land is scary for the mind. The unknown always equals a potential danger – not a win. Through training the CNS is gradually convinced that it is safe to do something. As the joints and ligaments adapt and learn how to handle higher loads, the mind becomes stronger too. This is why over time the body becomes capable of incredible feats.

The ironic part is that most of that preparation is essentially CNS and joint adaptation. Of course, the muscles need to adapt too, but the process is faster due to the massive blood supply in the area. This explains why there are people who don’t look impressive at all but can lift seriously heavy weights.

When it comes to looks everything changes.

The strength of your joints and the ability of your CNS to overclock itself to unknown limits has no impact on your appearance. There is no tendon hypertrophy or visible increase in thickness because it would hinder the function of the joint.

Consequently, factors like shoulder width, muscle belly insertions, low body fat and overall body chemistry have a higher impact on your looks than strength.

Why Steroid Users Don’t Lift Heavy

Steroids like tren increase your strength brutally fast. One day you bench 225 lbs, in a few weeks, you bench 315 lbs like it’s a puppy. It’s scary. Smart steroid users know that they should train lighter than they want to in order to protect their joints. That’s why in so many videos the steroids users just get a pump with a medium weight for their abilities and call it a day. There is no need for them to test their 1RM and play powerlifting because they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. When a bodybuilder does something like a 5 plate bench press, he is either using fake plates or playing idiot just to satisfy the sick desires of his ego. Besides, heavy lifting is a burden. It’s difficult and scary with or without drugs in your system. Therefore, avoiding heavy training feels natural, especially when you have a legit excuse.

That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised when you see bodybuilders who just get a pump on the hammer strength machine and call it a day. Their job is not to be human cranes! They have to be walking pharmacies! Having the right hormones in your system is more important than training. Besides, there are other high priorities such as preventing kidney and liver damage from the drugs, paying the dealer, avoiding arrests for possession of steroids meant for horses and cattle…etc. Honestly, training is like a walk in the park for those guys. Everything else in their lives is harder.

As anticipated, they try to convince you of the opposite and come up with silly training advice such as “keep your pinky above the thumb when you are pressing for maximum delt activation”, use visualization when you are doing side laterals, do side laterals lying sideways on a bench, do Gironda’s lateral side swing..etc. Those tips are great if your goal is to get a pump in the area, but they will not produce extraterrestrial hypertrophy.

Site injections

All bodybuilders have done some form of site injecting throughout their careers. The middle deltoid is one of the hottest areas for site injections along with the triceps and biceps. Bodybuilders love injecting all kinds of garbage into the middle delt. From PMMA to Synthol to steroids, it’s all been tried. Guys like Gregg Valentino and Rich Piana are living legends when it comes injections. The goal is, of course, to become a cartoon character.

The sad part is that the swollenness acquired through site injections never looks good and most of the time it has the opposite effect. The site injector appears wide and impressive only when clothes are covering the deltoids. When there’s no clothing, the grotesque shape of the muscle is exposed.

The arms and delts of all synthol idiots always look like complete and total garbage – the oil or whatever the hell those numskulls are importing into their muscles does not care about aesthetics. It assumes the position it likes and there’s nothing that can be done. Eventually, the oil spill becomes visible and has to be drained.

At the end of the day, site injections are not behind the freakish 3D steroid delts. They are just an additional way to add girth. The nasty look comes from the drugs, not garbage imported into the muscle directly.

Are there any magical exercises for the lateral head?

The lateral head creates the capped look, even though every deltoid is important for the complete canonball. The problem with the lateral head is that it does not want to grow at all. It’s a small muscle and getting it bigger is a nightmare. Making the side delts burn until it feels like an anti-ebola serum designed for a whole town has been injected in the area is not a guarantee for growth.

Shoulder Training Tips

  • avoid dedicated shoulder days;

The shoulders participate actively in every pushing and pulling exercise. Adding more work could result in overuse. If you want to focus more on your shoulders, just add more sets or an extra exercise on your pushing or pulling days.

Back in the day, when I was training Starting Strength style I was pressing three times a week and alternating between the bench press and the overhead press. I was hitting my front deltoids three times a week heavily. It was not uncommon to feel extreme soreness in the joints. Eventually, I got used to it, but I don’t think it was optimal. Skipping the middle day would have been better.

  • front raises are a bitch;

Front raises are a useless lift unless you use them as a warm-up or need that kind of straight arm strength for specific purposes. If you are doing exercises such as weighted dips, push-ups, close grip bench presses, overhead presses, handstands, the front delt is more than covered. It’s probably even overworked.

  • weighted dips are not that dangerous;

Weighted dips scare people. Many humanoids think that the shoulder cannot handle that kind of strain, and one day it will explode into a million small pieces. This belief is common for people with a history of ego benching. Those would be the guys with routines heavily dependent on the girl factor in the gym. The hotter the girl, the heavier the barbell.

It’s true that dips could destroy your shoulder if it’s not ready. The stretch at the bottom is ridiculous for the untrained musculature and joints of the modern humanoid getting ripped by looking for Pokemons and texting. But if you start slow and improve your bodyweight numbers to at least 15 reps in a row for a few sets, you can begin to gradually add weight and build brutally strong and flexible shoulders. Unless you have a specific injury, dips are not scary. They just want respect.

  • the overhead press is one of the safest shoulder exercises;

The overhead press loves your shoulders a lot. It’s less stressful than the dip, the bench and even the front raises when they are done improperly. As a bonus, it strengthens the rotator cuff fantastically and eliminates the need to do all kinds of pink dumbbell exercises for the rotator cuff. Done correctly, the overhead press destroys every single shoulder exercise in existence. It builds everything – flexibility, strength, and joint awareness.

Note: It’s better to do the exercise standing to avoid extra strain on the lower back. If you can stand, stand.

Tip: If you begin flaring your elbows right after the first part of the movement when the barbell is in front of your nose, you will place more stress on the middle and rear deltoids.

A great mistake that many ego lifters make is turning the overhead press into a standing incline press. Don’t do it. Use a light weight if you have to.

Q: Is the overhead press better than the handstand?

Yes and no, brother. There two main benefits – the overhead press is easy to scale and does not turn you upside down. That’s a great bonus for people who don’t like having most of their blood in their heads. Also, you have a lot more control over the execution of the exercise. If your goal is to focus on the shoulders, the overhead press is many times better than the handstand. On the other hand, the handstand could be considered more athletic and sexier, but that’s arguable.

– don’t be too afraid of imbalances;

The mainstream muscle media has convinced everyone that too much pressing will result in a hell sentence for your shoulders. That’s the reason for the face pull epidemics in this world. The idea of muscle imbalances is blown out of proportions. In the real world, which is quite different from what’s inside people’s heads, it takes a long time to build a scary muscle imbalance and requires complete disrespect to a specific muscle group. Unless your training consists only of push-ups, you will have a hard time developing a serious muscle imbalance.

Stored Tension + Placebo = One Hell of a Drug

Activity is one hell of a drug. In fact, one of the best ways to reduce depression is to start doing something. Inactivity could turn the happiest person into a sad martyr. That’s why one of the hardest punishment is solitary confinement. Being alone with your toxic and intrusive thoughts while having all the time in the world and nothing to do could kill you.

That’s why when a natural starts lifting like a madman, he becomes happier. He feels like he is getting closer and closer to the end goal. At the beginning, everything is perfect. The weights are going up. The muscles are pumped with blood and start to look better even though it’s been only a week or two. That’s the placebo effect.

If right now you start doing tons of lateral raises, your middle deltoids will feel like they are growing. That effect is going to be amplified by the constant soreness in the area as well as the stored tension there. Moreover, the frequent training would increase the blood supply to the muscle and harden it. But the madness will not end here. The strength of this effect will go even further due to the increased focus.

When you focus on something, you begin to see things you’ve never seen before. This is when things get truly mental. It’s natural for the natural to convince himself that he is getting bigger when in fact he is not. Measurements fix this hard.

I am highly skeptical when people say things like: “I’ve been doing a shoulder routine for 4 weeks. There are already incredible results. I am wider.”

No, you are not wider, bro. You just perceive yourself as wider and bigger because you are doing the work. Call me in a year and compare yourself to your previous lateral-raises-free self and tell me how much you have grown in reality.

Low Body Fat

In order for the delt to shine, the lifter must have low body fat. When you are a bloated permabulking mess with enough estrogen in the body to cry after every Hollywood drama your 3D effects are greatly reduced. The waist is too wide and makes the shoulders smaller. This is the so-called reverse V-taper and is very common for naturals who try to weigh as much as the pros. Those would be the guys who slap their wives when the scale shows anything under 200 lbs.

“That’s bitch territory,” says Mr.BigNatty and immediately heads towards the kitchen to begin bulking.

Having low body fat also improves your shoulder to arm ratio. A lean triceps, biceps and brachialis make the side delts appear larger whereas an arm loaded with fat and water hinders the width of the side deltoid.

Another benefit of low body fat is the increased vascularity of the shoulder area.

The downside of having low body fat is that you will lose size and fullness. A natural’s shoulders won’t stand out when there are clothes covering them. A natural can pull out the Wolverine look only when he is naked and has a crazy pump going on. Having a professional filming crew also helps a lot too.

39 comments

  1. rottenapple

    Long time ago, when I was hitting gym for the first time I had dedicated shoulder days with front and lateral raises and similar bs exercises that you can usually see in fitness magazine (well what can I say – I was a newbie)
    Nowdays, I only do pushups, pullups+rows and dips on seprate days with leg training and some cardio, and my shoulders are exactly the same without “shoulder day” – actually, they become a little bigger when I incorporate dips in my training

  2. Derek Dunstable

    Great way to start the day reading these posts! TruthSeeker keep ’em coming! This why I make this my first cyber stop in the morning (whereas for years it used to be SNation instead). Your frustrations and experience here resonate with so many of your readers, myself included.

    By the way, you know what I remember most about those daily TNation forum trips, especially in the steroid forums where the “legends” and gurus would dispense daily output on drugs and cycles? When someone even mentions the powerful effects of steroids, it’s an excuse they use about drugs that you haven’t brought up yet, namely:

    “It’s sad that you think drugs are the be all end all you think they are. I know guys that take more s**t than pros and don’t look like they even workout.”

    Stop for a moment and LAUGH at the ridiculous proportion and assertion of that statement for a moment!

    I even remember Christian Thibadeau once stating that he knows plenty of guys who “tren hard and eat clen” and look like crap, and even went so far as to say that some don’t even look like they lift. Now tell me Christian, in what physical realm do you even consider that remotely possible? Unless those guys are taking stuff that’s completely 100% fake or severely under dosed, how can they not make very noticeable gains and improvements to their physique from such a drug regimen? The before and after results from such a protocol, even with poor eating habits, ho-hum genetics, and a half-assed training program should vary anywhere from significant to startling when compared to their former drug free self.

    But arrogance and rationalization knows no bounds I guess.

  3. kingofwts

    great article…
    what about lateral raises?
    i think middle head is important of the three heads to train.The reason is middle deltoid is the most ignored muscle in real life.i mean how many times do you lift anything by laterally abducting your humerus?
    very rarely and it does not come into play in any of the pushing or pulling movements of the upperbody.
    middle deltoid needs to be given direct sets out of all three heads.

    1. Brett

      Lateral raise is a side raise. Just a different name for the same exercise. It can help build your side delts but ultimately shoulder width is all genetics because your bone width and thickness is genetic and bones doint grow more wide nomatter how many side/lateral raises u do.

  4. Brett

    Thanks for another great article. But you are wrong about front raises. When i was younger all i had were dumbbells and so all i did were front raises for my shoulders. I didnt have a bench press so i couldnt even bench. But my anterior deltoids grew substantially nonetheless just from front raises alone. I never went heavy just 17 kg max done with a slightly bent arms. I doint think any exercise is useless, if that were so, it wouldnt have been invented. These days i just do dips, bent rows, and pull-ups for shoulders. I used to do overhead press but all the pressing wasnt good on my joints. One of the best exercises for all three heads is the wide-grip upright barbell row. If you raise the barbell no higher than your lower pecs and keep your hands wide (shoulder width) then this exercise is completely safe and one of the best compound exercises for all three heads. And as for side raises i always sucked at them and never got a pump. They always just felt like a waste of time. With that being said my shoulders are quite broad, however my brother who is five years younger than me and who doesnt lift has shoulders as wide as mine, just not as thick. Width is mostly genetics, all you can add is some thickness. I hope my experiences can help you guys.

    1. Trenuser

      He says that if you do exercises like dips or bench press, it isn’t necessary because you’ll overtrain, and in your case you weren’t benching. In the end, it can help you train your shoulder but it is not recommended when there are much more better ways to do it. Also, remember that at the beginning you can grow pretty easily with any almost decent training because you’re at level 0.

  5. David

    I use to do every bodybuilding shoulder exercise including those the “corrective and functional” exercises. When I started OHP and barbell shrugging alot of my shoulder issues slowly went away. Now im trying to add dips slowly. I treat the OHP like arm wrestlers treat the bicep curl. But lately been stuck at 115 lb OHP at 140. Guess its time to deload and do the linear progression cycle you have mention.

  6. kingofwts

    Front shoulder gets a lot of work during all pushing upper body exercises.Weakness in the anterior deltoid is very rare.
    So you dont need to work on front raises unless there is no extension/flexion at an elbow joint due to some medical reason.
    Front delt needs least amount of direct work as it gets its fair share during chest exercises.
    The frontal raise has no benefits to offer over the overhead press.

  7. kingofwts

    Upright b/b row wide grip or narrow grip its a useless exercise. Despite being a compound exercise its harsh on the wrist and the rotator cuff.so upright row is best to be avoided.
    Many rotator cuff injuries never heal and injured rotator cuff compromises all torso exercises.

    1. Brett

      Most shoulder injuries come from poor warming up/ or not warming up and poor choice in exercises to follow. Many people have been injured from the bench press but still hundreds of thousands of people bench press. Even the overhead press if used over a lengthly period will lead to an injury. There are many who even submit to the idead that any exercise done overhead can injure your shoulders. Ive certainly hurt my shoulders from too much overhead pressing, even though i never exceeded a 60 kg barbell. Now your comment on the upright row may be justified as it has produced alot of rotator cuff injuries, however thats because of the narrow grip which allows the user to raise the barbell to the level of the chin, which puts the rotator cuff in a vulnerable position. Functionally the upright row is quite harsh on the wrists, but so can the bench press be. To this day if i try to bench any reasonable weight my shoulders start to ache. My shoulders just cant take it. But they feel fine during parallel bar dips, which in my opinion is the best pushing exercise.

  8. analbuttplug69

    a great article. but probably not what the masses wanted to hear.

    on a side note : it’s weird that the (side)delts and upper pec are always said to be the muscles most filled with androgen receptors, because almost everyone will agree they are two of the most difficult body parts to see ANY increase in mass.

    Except if you’re on Tren, of course ! But Tren is something else – if you thought taking the classic steroids is risky – Tren is on a whole other level. Maybe a good topic for an article : the Russian Roulette you play when going for Tren.

  9. Peter

    Great reading as always.

    I’m going to go slightly off tangent here with the above post, however the notion of psychopaths as you have mentioned before, definitely resonates with high levels of testosterone, as this is one of their main traits. They have a higher level of testosterone than empaths (this includes females as well).

    In saying that, not much is mentioned about psychopaths and bodybuilding. I know they’re running the bodybuilding industry, but in terms of competitiveness nothing is mentioned considering their testosterone levels are higher. Could it be that they are fundamentally lazy, and all there energy is used on manipulation only, as opposed to building a decent body? Your thoughts?

    Keep up the good work

  10. Bruno

    Most times when people say: “That exercise hurts my joints”, they mean: “I have no mobility or flexibility because stretching is for chicks, therefore my range of motion is very limited”.

    Yes, some people have real problems that limit their range of motion. The other 95% are just not taking good care of their bodies.

  11. pedro

    i used to do lots of upright row (with moderate low weight/pump of course) and nope, i believe the dips and pull ups got me all the gains that were assigned to me. Seriously its all bs, i remember i used to think my lats would look very impressive when i get to 15 chin ups, im on 13 right now, and my lats look the same than when i could only do 4reps, and i don’t believe 2 more reps are going to make a difference

    1. David

      I feel you man. At one point i was doing high rep stuff like 8×8 and 10×10 pullups. My lats grew but it wasnt even close to Bruce Lee’s lats.

  12. Zher0

    Great post. All I can say is that it took too long to find you “hater”.
    I’ve been lifting for 25 years natural (I’m on my 50´s), I walked on the wild side for a year but did not get impressive due to poor genetics (imagine woody Allen on roids, would he get huge?)
    I’ve purchased and read your two books, and man that’s the true bible about life and bodybuilding, I hope they get to as many newbies as possible who think that glutamine will make then BIG, and all this stuff of yours gets to as many “humanoids” as possible.

    THANK YOU for the great job you’re doing.
    Really appreciated!!
    Zher0.

  13. No One New

    I don’t believe that the body can grow strong due to tendon/CNS adaptations as you keep asserting. That may work for a few weeks when you begin a new exercise & improve motor skills and structurally adapt, but it will not last long. You will never get strong in the long run if your muscles are not also growing. But I think many people have vastly overestimated the impact on your appearance that gaining muscle actually has. Gaining 5 lbs of fat will make you appear much sloppier, but gaining 5 lbs of lean muscle will not make that much visual difference while wearing clothes

    1. Mike

      I don’t necessarily agree with this. Take for example one of the most muscular guys on the world Ronnie Coleman and compare him with a popular youtube power lifter like Jonnie Candito. Coleman lifted 800 pounds at let’s say 320 pounds while Candito’s record is 574 pounds at around 180 pounds. Clearly there is something else related to strength other than muscle mass. Not saying it is CNS or anything because sincerely I don’t know. May be it is because Tren doesn’t increase strength (at least what people says….)

      1. No One New

        You cannot compare one person’s lifts to another’s because they are apples & oranges. I’m talking about in the context of one individual person. YOU OR I cannot get stronger significantly, unless we increase muscle (even by a small amount). There’s no way around this. CNS adaptations are very short-lived. Once you are efficient at a movement you are efficient, you don’t become increasingly more & more efficient

        1. dark5

          “Once you are efficient at a movement you are efficient, you don’t become increasingly more & more efficient”

          Er… yes, of course you do! Literally every anecdotal and scientific evidence supports this. What evidence do you have, other than I guess the singular anecdotal evidence that you may be weak, to support this?

    1. john

      …. I read more of the older articles from those sites…it is you, never knew you had been writing for so long…

  14. Angel

    Hi, I have a rounded shoulders. What would you recommend bringing up the rear delts and fixing this issue? Тhere are many people who have this problem.

      1. Angel

        Hi, thanks for the reply.
        Can you recommend a program or training split which will be suitable for removing the problem,
        but follows the principles and approaches that are promoted on this site.
        Most programs advertised on the Internet, contains tons of isolation exercises, internal/external shoulder rotations,
        face-pulls etc.
        I got confused – how to construct an abbreviated workout that allows increase of strength and muscle mass and in the same time to be appropriate structured for fixing muscle imbalances and posture problems.
        I completely agree with you that most of the natural lifters have the front deltoid overdeveloped.

        1. dark5

          Well upper back exercises are any kind of pull with thoracic extension and spinal erector exercises are any kind of back extensions. But, tbh, I prefer front squatting to either of those because you also get a good amount of lower body and core work which will also help your posture.

  15. Phil

    I don’t think you can neccassarily determine steroid usage by looking at the shoulders. If you look at pre steroid era specimens like Sandow, Saxon etc as well as high level gymnasts from past to present. You can see that big round delts are possible at least for some with the right training emphasis IE gymnastic training and heavy one arm overhead lifts.

  16. Rick

    Did you ever try what they used to recommend years ago, that is train your weak points more frequently? It works if you do it properly and realize that while specializing you cannot keep lifting heavy. I am a natural and have been training for years and wanted to bring my delts and traps up. I specialized for over a year doing all kinds of moves, partials in different ranges of motion worked extremely well. I will say if I had done the typical recommendations which I had tried in the past , not much would have happened. Obviously I will never look like a steroid monster… but I absolutely improved my delts and traps and this added muscle made my overhead strength skyrocket when I got back to training heavy again. I was extremely motivated, would specialize many days in a row, sometimes 2 times per day. Doing isolation moves like this does not hurt your recovery as much as compound exercises so you can do them more frequently. I would rest a few days then back at it. I believe due to the constant work on these muscles , quite possibly more and different fibers were stimulated. All I know is it worked well.
    And I can veryify it with photos. But what I am pointing out is you can improve if you go outside the “box”

  17. Michael

    Are you saying we just can’t improve no matter what?

    I feel I exceeded what is considered natty limits when I was young and played college football. Did I look asthetic? No but I was 220 at 5’11” at 15%bf running a 4.6 bench 400 behind neck push press 295 and mid thigh pull 660. I was natty as it gets.

    I think we can all continue to improve even if just fractionally a year or am I just stupid?

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