Will Tennyson’s Tricks For Boulder Shoulder Width: 45-Degree Technique, Myo Reps, and More

When posing in front of the mirror, the shape of the shoulders will undoubtedly alter the overall appearance of one’s silhouette. A lack of medial and rear delt development can visibly hinder the bodybuilding front pose aesthetic that many gym goers chase.

How does one effectively cap the shoulders for that 3D look? On Feb. 4, 2023, fitness influencer Will Tennyson took to his YouTube channel to relay how he programs his shoulder training to optimize his pump for that boulder-shoulder look. Check it out below:

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The thing that gives us that 3D look is the side and rear delts being super well-developed.

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Will Tennyson’s Shoulder Programming

Cable Face Pulls — 3 x 25

Rear Delt Cable Flyes — 3 x 25

Lateral Raises (to failure) superset with Upright Rows (to failure) — 3 sets

Cable Lateral Raises — 3 x 12-25

Dumbbell Lateral Raises — 3 sets. First set to failure; second and third sets each match reps from the first set.

Barbell Overhead Press — 3 sets.

Lateral Raise Machine — 3 x partials to failure.

Dumbbell Overhead Press — 3 x 10

Alternating Dumbbell Front Raises — 3 sets.

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Cable Face Pulls

Tennyson’s first time regards how to start a shoulder session. He B-lines for a cable machine to attack his rear delts first, citing that the rear delts are typically more neglected than the front delts, which are indirectly trained by most upper-body movements. He opens with cable face pulls.

Tennyson uses a grip learned from training with seven-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath when performing cable face pulls. Tennyson holds the rubber ends of the rope attachment with his first and middle fingers as though his fingers are snipping the rope like a pair of scissors.

The line of pull brings the hands well above the head with a tight squeeze at the top — the form to pay mind to is the elbows being parallel to the shoulder at lockout. He goes 25 reps per set.

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A post shared by Will Tennyson (@willtenny)

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Rear Delt Cable Flyes

Tennyson does not program an exercise between his first two rear delt movements. He first trains what he believes to be the more challenging head of the shoulder with a lot of volume. When performing rear delt cable flyes, Tennyson maintains a line of pull that moves his elbow parallel to the shoulder from the starting position to the lockout.

There is the slightest possible bend naturally, as the insertions of the rear delts are anatomically on a diagonal. He aims to fatigue at 25 reps.

Training rear delts is never really about the weight. It’s about the contraction, time under tension, and getting that burn.

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Lateral Raises & Upright Rows

After fatiguing the rear delts, Tennyson moves on to the medial delts, advocating for high-volume lateral raises in as much variety as the lifter likes, whether it’s lateral raises with free weights or machines.

45-Degree Technique

Tennyson offered two lateral raise techniques that have helped him develop his shoulders. The first is called “45-degree technique,” which involves maintaining the dumbbells at a 45-degree angle at the bottom of each rep and locking out at 45 degrees above the shoulders. Sustaining the weights at such an angle at the bottom means there is never a position of rest during the set, as the shoulders must remain engaged to hold the 45-degree requirement.

Tennyson used 15-pound dumbbells for his working sets with the 45-degree technique, suggesting that the weight will likely need to be lighter than standard lateral raises as the additional time under tension will place a significant burn on the shoulders. Once reaching failure, he supersets these lateral raises with upright rows.

Tennyson’s adjustment for upright rows is to pull the dumbbells to the top of the forehead rather than to the clavicle. This positions the dumbbells farther away from the body during the concentric to better load the rear delts.

Cable Lateral Raises

The medial and rear delt beatdowns don’t let up in the fifth exercise. Tennyson performs cable lateral raises, which are visually similar to Y-raises. The cables are positioned in the bottom pin of the machine and lateral raised up and overhead so that the lockout looks like the arms and body form a “Y” shape. He trains in the 12-25 rep range, depending on when the shoulders gas out.

Myo Rep Match Sets

The second shoulder training technique tip Tennyson delved into was one he learned from Dr. Mike Israetel, called myo rep sets. Tennyson takes the first set of dumbbell lateral raises to failure. However many reps in the first set dictated the number of reps for the following two sets.

Let’s say Tennyson repped out 20 reps on the first set; his second and third sets were then not complete until he matched the rep-count from set one. Regardless of how long it takes to complete, set two isn’t finished until he matches the set-one reps, even if it requires multiple bouts of rest.

Barbell Overhead Press

After the figurative deaths of his medial and rear delts, Tennyson finally trained his front delts via a standing overhead press. Tennyson recommended performing overhead presses seated for more stability, which should allow for additional load.

Overhead press is king.

Tennyson holds the barbell slightly wider than shoulder-width and allows his elbows to sink all the way down for a deep stretch across his front delts at the bottom of his range of motion.

Lateral Raise Machine

Tennyson doesn’t spend much time on the lateral raise machine, but uses it as a means to fully burn out the medial delts. He trains partial reps to failure with the machine’s pads contacting just above elbow height.

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press

Using 50-pound dumbbells, Tennyson displayed his overhead press technique, cueing the inside of the dumbbell to contact the outside of his shoulder at the bottom. This deepens the stretch on the front delt, similar to the barbell overhead press, and ensures the stimulus remains on the shoulders.

Tennyson closes his shoulder training with front raises with relatively lighter weights due to the cumulative load previously lifted.

Volume, Volume, Volume, Adaptation

Tennyson’s capacity for higher volume shoulder work comes from years of training. His ability to recover from so much volume is an adaptation he has developed over time. He recommends those who attempt to mimic his training scale as needed.

Featured image: @willtenny on Instagram

The post Will Tennyson’s Tricks For Boulder Shoulder Width: 45-Degree Technique, Myo Reps, and More appeared first on BarBend.


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