Shoulders & Abs

Not Dwight Howard. This is Rich Froning displaying midline stability of his abs along with a massive amount of shoulder strength.

Years ago I was working out with a personal trainer and I told him that I wanted shoulders like this guy I saw at the gym. They weren’t massive but they were cut, well developed and looked a lot like the basketball player, Dwight Howard’s. He told me, “That’s genetic.” At the time I was really bummed out by that revelation. I was disappointed that I’d be stuck with my shoulders that were chunky but undeveloped. Armed with this knowledge, I continued on with my steady diet of curls and bent over rows.

Guess what?

It wasn’t true. My shoulders were in there. I’ve found them over the last few years. Know what else I found? My abs.

Yep, I’ve got shoulders and abs. And so do you.

The problem is this- they’re underdeveloped and covered. The exercises I was doing with my trainer were not what I needed to develop the muscles. And believe me, I trained HARD! Many days I could barely move after an intense session. There were days and days of not being able to use my arms or legs. It was tough! But there were a few things missing for me to really see the improvement I wanted- attention to diet, heavy weights overhead (press variations, overhead squat, HSPU) and midline stabilization.

What I got instead were- crunches, leg lifts, bench press, lat-pull downs and rows. And on the diet side, I was carb-ing up like every day was a marathon- pasta, rice, bread, tortillas.

Three things-

1) Shoulders respond to the load placed on them and grow/define accordingly. If you’re grabbing a pink neoprene covered dumbbell and doing sets of 7s- press, lateral raises, front raises, etc. you may not be helping your shoulders come out. (BTW this was something I would do and feel a wicked shoulder burn- torture- yes, results- not so much). Overhead lifting benefits you as a functional movement (one that you’ll really do in daily life) and helps to build insanely strong shoulders and core muscles.

2) The abs are core stabilizers, not trunk flexors. So all those crunches you’re doing…I’m not going to say they’re worthless, but…they’re definitely not doing what you think they’re doing. A strong core is important when lifting weights. Midline stabilization (aka bracing the core under load) is what helps to strengthen your abs. A deadlift is much more effective in strengthening the core than are crunches and sit ups.

3) Abs (and shoulders or any other muscle) are not going to be seen if your body fat percentage is high.

Not Rich Froning. This is Chris Biles aka Coach pre CrossFit in 2001

So do you want your abs and shoulders to pop out? Paleo HARD! Work HARD!

That’s it! Simple but not easy. Eating meat, veggies & fruit, good fats (avocado, coconut- in many forms, olive oil, nuts & seeds) is where it’s at for weight loss. Eat enough to support your workout/ energy level and you’ll see results in no time!

Want results faster??!!

Cut the fruit. That’s right. Get all your carbs in the form of veggies. Morning-Noon-Night. Meat, veggies and fat. This may sound boring but there are tons of ways to spice it up. Pick one form of each and throw them together in different mixtures with different spices. Done!

What about working hard? It’s called CrossFit. But you’re already doing that, right? No skipping WODs. No cherry-picking. Come in and do the WODs you like. Come in and do the WODs you don’t like. Smile like you’re crazy through all of it because, friend, you’re getting the best, toughest, most well thought out training in Ellis county!

Take away- IT’S NOT GENETIC! You CAN have the body you want if you follow the simple steps above. It’s not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is!

And by the way, these are the shoulders I wanted:

Chris & Jason working shoulders and abs.

Check out the video here: