We debuted the “Straight Up” training series in August 2012 as a way to help readers develop individual muscles without getting too fancy or cute. Feedback from you, the lifter, was positive and told us that the workouts allowed you to develop a bigger, more chiseled physique from traps to calves and everything in between.
But you’ve advanced, so it’s time to “Level Up.” Each month, we’ll showcase the original workouts from “Straight Up” and give them a facelift to keep the results coming. Most of the underlying principles will remain intact: an emphasis on compound movements, appreciable volume, high intensity, and a continued aversion to cuteness. But key changes will promote variety and spur new growth. Let’s start with shoulders.
SEE ALSO: The Best Leg-Building Workout Program
THE LITTLE THINGS
The small tweaks in our new Level Up Series can be more than enough to help you prevent a plateau and training boredom.
STANDING DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE
Level Up Difference: The subtle technique change from the original workout is that you’re now standing, taking a break from the seated position we spend too much time in. Also, the number of sets drops to two. Lateral raises in this workout are intended purely as a warmup, not a pre-exhaust. Keep the weight light.
BENTOVER DUMBBELL REAR-DELT RAISE
Level Up Difference: This version engages the core and lower back more than the machine version while still targeting the rear delts.
￼STANDING BARBELL OVERHEAD PRESS
Level Up Difference: Aka the standing military press, it’s a serious strength builder that engages the core to a large degree.
*Straight Up Shoulders was originally published in the August 2012 issue of M&F.