The terms “mass” and “strength” are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Mass refers to the size of your muscles, whereas strength is the amount of force you can produce at the gym. When you build muscle size, you build muscle strength. As a result of this, you need to have a balance between the two. Doing only one of the two can cause your muscles to become more imbalanced, which can lead to injury.
A shoulder tri-set routine is a good way to work your shoulders and triceps to build mass and strength. Here is why:
Shoulder-blasting is my number one tip for jacking up your biceps and triceps size. I call shoulder-blasting and shoulder-blasting and shoulder-blasting my number one tip for jacking up your biceps and triceps size, because the same exercise that builds biceps and triceps size can also build shoulders without any additional workout.. Read more about best shoulder workout for mass and let us know what you think.
The deltoids are one of the body’s most complicated muscle groups. According to research, the deltoids contain seven distinct muscle heads rather than just three!
There’s a good mix of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers in the deltoids. If you want to develop your shoulders as much as possible, you’ll need to include a variety of workouts, rep ranges, and time under stress methods.
The term “tri-sets” refers to one of the most effective training techniques for developing massive shoulders in a short amount of time.
Tri-sets are a training technique in which you do three exercises for the same body area in a succession with a 0-10 second break in between. A tri-set for the shoulders, for example, looks like this:
Tri-Set Training Protocol for the Shoulders
- Perform shoulder exercise #1 and take a 10-second break.
- Perform shoulder exercise #2 and take a 10-second break.
- Repeat shoulder exercise #3, resting for 2-3 minutes in between.
Tri-sets are particularly helpful for developing massive shoulders since they significantly increase the amount of time spent under stress throughout the session.
Because you don’t take much time between exercises, the tri-set seems like one continuous extended set, despite the fact that you’re doing three separate exercises.
Tri-sets also allow you to train your shoulders from three distinct angles and rep ranges.
Because the shoulders are such a complex muscular group, they need a variety of workout angles and rep ranges in order to develop to their full potential.
One of the simplest methods to make a shoulder tri-set is to do one exercise for each of the front, side, and back delts. This method produces a huge pump in all three heads of the delts and is more effective for promoting development than completing all of your sets for each exercise before moving on to the next.
Ken Jackson, an IFBB pro, gives a great example of this kind of shoulder tri-set:
What an engrossing performance! You know how strong the rear delt pump has to be at the conclusion of the tri-set if you’ve ever done banded rear delt flys in the gym.
Here’s how you might use Ken Jackson’s shoulder tri-set to create a workout:
Shoulder Tri-set by Ken Jackson
- A1: Front raises with a barbell, 3-5 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A2: DB lateral lift, standing, 3-5 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A3: Rear delt fly with a band, 3-5 x 8-12 reps, 1/0/1/0, 2-3 minutes rest
As you can see, Ken Jackson works his front, side, and back delts with three separate shoulder exercises in a succession.
I suggest doing this tri-set 3-5 times with a break of approximately 2-3 minutes in between tri-sets. This implies you’ll have to do 9-15 total shoulder training sets, which is a lot of effort.
If you react well to high-volume training, you may add additional 1-2 shoulder movements before or after this tri-set to help you develop even more. Just don’t overdo it — five rounds of this tri-set will be plenty to promote plenty of development on its own.
Tri-sets are utilized by many contemporary bodybuilders, such as Ken Jackson, in their shoulder routines, but they were also used by old-school bodybuilders like as Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold liked to utilize a shoulder tri-set in the last 1-3 months before the Mr. Olympia competition. In a row, he would do barbell overhead presses, barbell upright rows, and dumbbell lateral lifts. Consider the following scenario:
Shoulder Tri-Set of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Choice
- A1: 3-5 x 8-12 barbell overhead press, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: 3-5 x 12-15, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest, standing barbell upright row
- A3: DB lateral raises in a seated position, 3-5 x 12-15 reps, 2/0/X/0, 2-3 minutes rest
The workout videos are as follows: exercise A1, exercise A2, and exercise A3.
Because you start with a compound exercise and then go on to isolation exercises, this is referred to as a “post-exhaustion” tri-set. Although the barbell upright row isn’t really an isolated exercise, the concept remains the same.
Arnold was renowned for his high-volume workouts, and he would frequently do additional exercises before and after this tri-set to help him develop even faster.
One of Arnold’s favorite pre-contest shoulder exercises is as follows:
Pre-Contest Shoulder Routine of Arnold Schwarzenegger
- A1: Arnold press, 3-6 x 8-12 reps, 2/0/X/0 rest, 1 minute
- B1: 3-5 x 8-12 barbell overhead press, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- B2: 3-5 x 12-15, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest, barbell upright row
- B3: DB lateral raise, bent-over, 3-6 x 12-15, 2/0/X/0, 1 minute rest
- DB lateral rise, 3-6 x 8-12**, 2/0/X/0, 1 minute rest C1: DB lateral raise, 3-6 x 8-12**, 2/0/X/0, 1 minute rest
**Do a “down the rack” drop set on your final set. Pick up a set of heavy dumbbells and push yourself to failure. Then, using the next lightest set of dumbbells, exercise until you reach failure. Drop the weight till you’re lifting the 5-10 pound dumbbells and then proceed to failure.
This is a more complex shoulder exercise that is unlikely to be suitable for most beginners. That stated, it worked like magic for Arnold and his uncanny capacity to heal.
When Arnold was preparing for the Mr. Olympia competition, he exercised his shoulders three times each week, and the results speak for themselves!
Let’s take a look at another example of how post-exhaustion tri-sets may help you develop your shoulders. Nick Mitchell, the founder of the Ultimate Performance personal training business, demonstrates a shoulder tri-set.
Nick does something unique with this routine: he takes very high repetitions on all of his shoulder movements, alternating between “strict” and “cheating” reps.
On each exercise, he does the first 10 repetitions or so with perfect technique. Then he begins cheating the weight up to put even more strain on his shoulders.
The following is the precise procedure:
Post-Exhaust Tri-Set by Nick Mitchell
- A1: 3-5 x 15-25** standing cable rope face pulls, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: 3-5 x 15-25** standing cable rope upright row, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: DB lateral raises in a seated position, 3-5 x 15-25**, 2/0/X/0, 2-3 minutes rest
**Starting on his 10th rep for each exercise, Nick Mitchell utilizes a lot of “body English” to get the weight moving.
This workout’s training video is as follows:
I strongly advise you to watch the video to get a sense of how Nick does this exercise. After completing the first 10 or so repetitions for each exercise, Nick uses these cheating reps to further exhaust his shoulders.
He can do 27 total repetitions on cable face pulls, for example, with a weight he can only do around 10 reps with on his own!
This is a great method to promote muscular development by overloading the muscle. Simply ensure that you feel the target muscle working during the session. These cheating repetitions are useless if you can’t feel your muscles functioning during them.
If you have trouble feeling your shoulders work during compound pressing exercises, consider a pre-exhaust tri-set.
Pre-exhaust tri-sets are the polar opposite of post-exhaust tri-sets in that they begin with isolation exercises and conclude with compound exercises.
Here’s an example of an exercise you can do. Take a look:
Shoulder Tri-Sets Before Exhaustion
- A1: prone partial DB lateral rise at 30 degrees, 3-5 x 25-30, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: 3-5 x 10-12 seated Poliquin DB lateral raises, 3/0/1/1, 10 seconds rest
- A3: Overhead press, hammer strength, 3-5 x 10-12, 3/0/3/0, 2-3 minutes rest
The workout videos are as follows: exercise A1, exercise A2, and exercise A3.
You’re doing isolated movements for your back and side delts before going on to an overhead pressing activity, as you can see.
For more experienced bodybuilders who have trouble feeling their delts engage during overhead pressing workouts, this technique is ideal. It’s also a fantastic technique for bodybuilders who are already quite strong and can handle really big weights overhead.
Josh Bryant, a bodybuilding instructor, has worked with a number of students who were able to overhead press the 160-pound dumbbells but still had sagging shoulders. Josh’s answer for these customers was to try different pre-exhaust shoulder techniques to raise their side and back delts.
This kind of shoulder pre-exhaust technique is worth trying with if you are at least an intermediate level bodybuilder.
If your shoulders are *really* behind the rest of your body, you may want to create a shoulder exercise that includes two different tri-sets. One of Charles Poliquin’s preferred methods to construct a hypertrophy exercise was to use this method.
For example, you could do three rounds of a tri-set focusing on your back delts and three rounds of a tri-set focusing on your side delts. If you react favorably to higher-volume exercises, this method works like magic.
Charles Poliquin created a shoulder exercise called “double tri-set” many years ago. Take a look:
Shoulder Routine by Charles Poliquin (Double Tri-Set)
Tri-set No. 1
- 3 x 8, 3/0/X/2, 10 seconds rest, A1: Supine cable lateral rise
- 3 x 12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest, A2: Ez-bar upright rows, 3 x 12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: 3 × 12, 3/0/1/0, 180 seconds rest, seated military press
Tri-set No. 2
- B1: Cable lateral lift at 45 degrees bent-over, 3 x 8, 2/0/X/2, 10 seconds rest
- B2: 3 x 12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds break, seated cable rope face pulls
- B3: 3 × 12 Reeves row, 2/0/1/0, 180 seconds rest
Here are the workout videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise B3, exercise C1, exercise C2, exercise C3, exercise C4, exercise C5, exercise C6, exercise C7, exercise C8, exercise C9, exercise C
Both the rear delt tri-set and the side delt tri-set are performed using the pre-exhaust technique in this practice. This shoulder exercise consists of 18 challenging sets.
Nothing will shock your delts into development if this workout doesn’t!
Tri-sets are one of the most effective ways to strengthen your shoulders.
The primary benefit of tri-sets is that they lengthen the duration under stress of the set, forcing your muscles to work considerably harder than they would otherwise.
Tri-sets also allow you to target specific regions of the target muscle with three totally distinct workouts. Because the shoulders are such a complicated muscle group, this is very useful when exercising them.
I showed you how John Meadows, Nick Mitchell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Charles Poliquin, among the world’s best bodybuilders and bodybuilding instructors, utilize tri-sets to develop larger shoulders in record time in this tutorial.
All of these workouts are effective if you are prepared to put up with a little discomfort at the gym.
Remember that tri-sets are very difficult. It’s difficult enough to push oneself to the brink of failure on a single activity in the gym. Tri-sets require you to push yourself to the limit on three distinct exercises in a row!
To workout all-out with one of these regimens, you have to be a particular sort of person.
Following an all-out tri-set, the lactic acid buildup in your shoulders is painful. If you have the courage to push yourself on any of these exercises, your shoulders will explode quicker than you can say “Phil Heath.”
To help you get in the proper mentality before your next shoulder tri-set exercise, here’s a wonderful statement from Arnold Schwarzenegger:
“The last three or four repetitions are the ones that cause the muscle to develop. This point of agony distinguishes the champion from those who aren’t. That’s what most people lack: the courage to continue on and simply declare, “I’ll go through the agony no matter what.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I wish you the best of success in your strength-training endeavors!
Mike Jansen, M.D.
Thank you for visiting my website! I’m the creator of Revolutionary Program Design, and my name is Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT. You’ve come to the correct spot if you want to achieve your size and strength objectives quicker. My ambition is to create RPD the best strength training resource on the planet. So take a seat, sit back, and unwind. There has never been a better moment to lift weights or learn about the science and art of strength training program creation.
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I’ve found the “best shoulder tri-set routine” for me is the shoulder press, shoulder shrugs and lateral raises. This routine works every time I’ve done it. It’s really challenging, but I generally manage to make it through the whole set of 3 exercises, with no need to modify the weight, and I’m generally sweating by the end of it.. Read more about tri set upper body workout and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Tri sets good for building muscle?
Yes, they are.
Is 3 sets enough for shoulders?
This is a good question. I would recommend 3 sets for shoulders, but thats just my opinion.
What is the best workout routine for mass gain?
I am not sure what you mean by best workout routine for mass gain.
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