Challenge Your Shoulders and Build More Muscle With the Poliquin Raise

On more than one occasion, many of us have probably finished a grueling shoulder workout with a few sets of lateral raises. But there’s another underrated exercise you should consider the next time you want to build your delts: the Poliquin raise.

This variation, created by the late muscle scientist Charles Poliquin, not only allows you to use a heavier weight than you would with a lateral raise, it also makes the weight you’re using feel even heavier, providing a new kind of shoulder challenge.

The key, according to men’s health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS and fitness editor Brett Williams, NASM should pay attention to the finer points of the exercise.

How to Do the Poliquin Augmentation

lateral raises they have long been a gold standard for shoulder shaping that work to increase the size of your delts. Performing the exercise is relatively routine: raise your arms in the scapular plane, hold for a short pause, lower back down with control.

The twist with increasing Poliquin, according to Samuel, is to add more time under tension while also focusing on the eccentric part (or reducing the weight) and fighting the drag of gravity.

“That’s the challenge of increasing Poliquin,” says Samuel. “And by doing that, we’re going to be able to move even heavier weights than normal.” The Poliquin raise setup begins with a 90-degree angle at the elbow or arms in a neutral position. “Right off the bat, what we’ve done is cut off the shoulder levers,” Samuel continues, “which puts a lot less stress and strain on the shoulders.”

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From there, raise the dumbbells with your elbows together. The challenge of this move soon follows, as once you get close to where you would normally raise your arms for a lateral raise, you straighten your elbows; now the lever has become much longer. Then lower for three to four seconds in a slow, controlled manner.

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“The key benefit of Poliquin weight gain is getting that good lower control and taking our time getting the weight off,” says Samuel.

Since the Poliquine raise won’t be the heaviest exercise in your shoulder workout, it’s good to include the exercise toward the end of your routine, if it’s not the last exercise to finish. Three sets of six to eight reps work best, just focus on holding that time under tension for three to four seconds, which could be up to an additional 30 seconds of work per set.

“You’ve hit your heavy shoulder presses, you’ve done some lateral raises, maybe you’ve done some windmills, now your shoulders are tired,” says Samuel. “This movement allows you to get some extra eccentric contractions at the end of your set.

Want to master even more moves? check our entire Form Check series.

Jeff Tomko is a freelance fitness writer who has written for Muscle and Fitness, Men’s Fitness, and Men’s Health.

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