To chuck 120kg men in the air and carry the pressure of being the first British wrestler ever to win the WWE Championship, you need shoulders of steel.
“I train shoulders just once a week directly,” McIntyre tell Men’s Fitness, “because they get a lot of stimulation from other exercises.
“Every time you push or pull you are stressing the shoulder in some way. I do a lot of bench press variation in my training, so I have to be careful not to over-train the shoulder muscles.”
“Like any exercise, it’s crucial that you know what it is you are trying to do,” says McIntyre.
“For any shoulder exercise, make sure that the movement is from the shoulder joint and not somewhere else.
“It’s about working the muscle, not just moving the weight.”
Warm-Up: prone shoulder ‘Y’s or rotator cuff external rotation
1. Seated Dumbbell Press
Reps: 12, 12, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
- “This primarily works the anterior – or front of the shoulder – which is also the strongest portion,” says McIntyre, “so I take my time and use a decent weight.”
2. Rear Delt Machine Flye
- “Because I press a lot I have to keep the back of my shoulders in balance, so I try to make sure to get a good burn on these,” says McIntyre.
- “It is the smallest portion of the shoulder so I cut the rest down to about 1 min between sets.
Lateral Raise with BB Push Press
Reps: 12 4×12 and 4×12
- “Now the fun begins,” says McIntyre. “Do 12 reps of lateral raises, then immediately move to a barbell push press.
- “Take no more than 20 secs to get to the bar and in position. Your shoulders will die so you will need to remember to use your legs to keep getting the reps up.
- “If I can get 12 without my shoulders catching on fire then I move up in weight.”
4. Single-Arm Kettlebell Upside Down Press
- “While it seems similar to the last exercise, this is more for shoulder stability,” explains McIntyre.
- “I hold the kettlebell upside down, press above my head and hold it there for about 3 secs per rep.
- “Be careful, as the weight is tough to balance and you could drop it on yourself – which I have never done (this may or may not be the truth).”
SHOULDER WORKOUT WISDOM
1. Everyone moves differently
“You might use your shoulders a lot when benching, but someone else may use more chest,” says McIntyre.
“Try to find out how your body works and where your strengths/weaknesses are.”
2. Defined shoulders = low fat
“If you want your shoulders to pop, get lean,” says McIntyre.
“There’s no point in having cannonball delts if you they are covered in a layer of fat.”
3. Don’t forget the rear
“We tend to ignore what we can’t see, but your rear delts help with posture and keep you from developing shoulder problems,” advises McIntyre.
“If your arms are rotated in front of you when standing up straight instead of by your side, you have a problem.”
4. Prioritise recovery
“If you’re training your shoulders all the time and they don’t seem to grow, try doing less,” suggests McIntyre.
“We grow outside of the gym, not inside it. So if you train shoulders on Monday, chest on Tuesday, arms on Wednesday, when can they grow? You are beating them up every day. Hit them hard, then let them recover.”
5. Tiny exercises matter
“I don’t like rotator cuff exercises or small little warm-up drills,” says McIntyre, “because when I get in the gym I am ready to move some weight!
“However, I have seen too many people with shoulder problems over the years and my job requires me to be able to keep going night after night. I make sure to never forget to do these.”
You can watch Drew McIntyre on WWE RAW every Monday night on BT Sport 1 HD from 1 am