I don’t particularly care for direct shoulder work. Sorry. It just doesn’t make its way up the priority list. In the business of training non-professional bodybuilders I like to look at what is going to give MOST people (yes that means you) the best bang for their buck. Direct shoulder work just doesn’t fit the bill.
My first argument is going to go against overhead pressing. Do I hate overhead pressing? No. I think it’s fine for those with healthy shoulders and perfect posture. Guess how many people I know with perfect posture and healthy shoulders? Maybe 3. Myself not included. I haven’t done a shoulder press since I listened to the Spin Doctors (…2008…then briefly again in 2009 because of an Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference, but no shoulder presses that time) because they hurt me. I since realized the pain was because my posture sucked and I lacked the thoracic mobility and scapular stability to properly execute the exercise pain free.
It’s rare to find someone that does possess these qualities, so I just assume people don’t until they prove it to me otherwise. Even then, I think the shoulders take enough abuse anyway, so it’s a rare thing that I will throw a vertical press movement into a program. Think about it. Every time you horizontally press (think bench press, pushups, etc.) you are asking a lot of the anterior deltoids. (front of your shoulders) And every time you pull, there they are working hard again.
So that covers why I’m not a huge fan of the vertical pressing motion, but what about front raises and side raises that guys do with light weights and high reps to bulk up their shoulders and women do with light weight and high reps to tone their shoulders. (joke, see Toning) I think of it like biceps curls. Probably not a bad idea for the huge bodybuilder picking up a lagging body part to get ready for a show; for a normal person (yes, you) it’s probably just a waste of time. The end result (which is close to nothing) doesn’t justify spending the time on it.
The only direct shoulder work I like to see involves the rear delts and rotator cuff. Addressing these areas through corrective and activation work before and during a workout can really help sure up postural problems and help to give you much healthier shoulders. So if you have a shoulder day, just make it a rest day, or a metabolic day, or a postural correction day, or anything, just save your time from exercises that aren’t helping you get to where you want to go.