The Secret to Building Big, Healthy Shoulders in Cross Training

Many athletes rest comfortably on lateral raises and conventional pressing not knowing that they are selling themselves short when it comes to shoulder building. There is a lot more that you need to put in your CrossFit training schedule if you want to shake things up. When looking for variety in your shoulder training and virtually any other CrossFit training, planes of action and force angles are crucial. The following are ways you can create a new stimulus and expose significant amounts of weakness for big, healthy shoulders.

The Y Press

When you perform the standard shoulder presses, they strengthen your shoulders in one plane. If you could only shift the angle slightly, you could work out your mid deltoids much harder. For you to do the Y press, you have to remember your angles. Begin with your palms facing each other and at the dimensions of your shoulder width.

As the arms get extended, your hands will move further away from one another, and your fist will rotate to make your palms face forward at the end. The greatest tension is felt at the top because this is where the lever arms are at their longest. This explains why posing at the very top of each rep for about a second or two is smart. The Y presses are excellent movements which can follow your dumbbell overhead presses.

Seated Snatches

Even with a coach in the CrossFit gym, the barbell snatch is one of those exercises that are complex and somewhat difficult to master. That said, you can simplify the movement using dumbbells. The dumbbells eliminate the involvement of the knee, hip joint, and ankle. When you incorporate a seat, it becomes great because it gives you size and conditioning.

Seated snatches, unlike barbell snatches, make you responsible for the negative reps. In turn, this makes you honest concerning the weight you choose. Just like a Z press, seated snatches quickly expose mobility issues primarily because the seated position does not have a backrest. If you discover you can’t bear the weight directly overhead while in an upright torso, you may need to enhance the health of your thoracic spine and your shoulder mobility.

Push Press with Snatch Grip

Behind the neck, push pressing is one of the underused tools for working out the rear deltoids. If you add a snatch grip as well as a push start, it all becomes invaluable. The beauty of this movement is that it restricts the weight you can bear and at the same time works out your rear deltoids, mid traps, and scapular muscles much harder. A point to note is that this movement needs good shoulder health hence not advisable for beginner CrossFitters.


This movement mimics the overhead press pattern and serves as a good stimulant towards shoulder mobility, a neutral lower spine, and rear deltoids activation. As a bonus, it hits hard on the rest of the posterior chain. To get the most benefit out of this, secure your heels in the horizontal back extension machine instead of using an unsecured bench or the floor. This works hard everything between the rear deltoids and the back of the knees both isotonically and isometrically. This CrossFit workout gives you an excellent way to train the overhead range with a different reference point thus allowing gravity to form a new force angle.

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