If you’re looking for a workout routine that can help you build massive shoulders, then you’re in for a treat. Today, we’ll be exploring the training philosophy and a famous workout routine of none other than the legendary English bodybuilder, Roy “Reg” Park.
Park was a pioneer in the world of bodybuilding, winning several prestigious titles such as Mr Britain and Mr Universe. But what sets him apart is his unique approach to training, which not only influenced Arnold Schwarzenegger but also shaped the course of bodybuilding history. In fact, Schwarzenegger was so inspired by Park that he credits him with igniting his passion for bodybuilding.
Arnold has also credited Reg Park as his mentor and the one who introduced him to the famous 5×5 training method. For three years in the 1960s, Schwarzenegger trained at Wag Bennett’s gym in the East End of London, where he first met his idol, Reg Park. It was there that Schwarzenegger learned about Park’s famous 5×5 workout, which he credits with helping him achieve his incredible physique.
Park’s philosophy was simple, yet effective — heavy weights and compound movements.
So, if you’re ready to sculpt your shoulders like a pro, let’s take a closer look at Reg Park’s shoulder workout and discover the secrets behind his legendary mass-building techniques and show you how to apply them to your own training regimen.
Reg Park, an old school bodybuilder, believed that strength and bodybuilding were intertwined. To get bigger, you must get stronger, which requires heavy weight training to recruit more muscle fibres and promote muscular growth.
Reg’s training program focused on compound movements, which included squats, deadlifts, bench press, cleans, high pulls, and clean and presses. These exercises are highly effective for building overall muscle size and strength, as they recruit a large number of muscle fibres and stimulate a hormonal response that promotes muscle growth.
He emphasised the importance of direct lower back work to keep the lower back healthy and prevent injuries. This is because the lower back is often a weak point for many lifters, and strengthening this area can help prevent injuries and improve overall lifting performance.
Reg also believed in gradually increasing the weight and intensity of his training over time, rather than training to failure too often. This allowed him to make steady progress while minimising the risk of injury or burnout. Reg believed that an effective training program should increase confidence, and gradual progression was the way to go rather than training to failure too often.
He also emphasised self-analysis and personal development, as well as taking breaks and restorative practices, to maximise the benefits of training. He was a reflective and introspective individual who believed that success in bodybuilding, as in life, requires constant self-improvement and growth. He also believed in taking breaks and engaging in restorative practices, such as massage and stretching, to help his body recover from the rigors of training.
How Did Reg Park Get So Big?
Reg Park was one of the most respected bodybuilders of his time, and he achieved his incredible physique through years of hard work and dedication. His training philosophy was based on the belief that strength and muscle size are closely related, and that heavy weight training is the key to achieving both.
While he was known for his impressive overall physique, he was particularly famous for his massive shoulders, which he developed using a specific workout routine that he published in 1952.
One of the standout features of Reg Park’s shoulder workout was his use of “cheating” movements, which involved using momentum to help lift heavier weights than would otherwise be possible. At the time, this approach was controversial and criticised by many in the weightlifting community, who saw it as undermined the principles of proper lifting form and technique. However, Park defended his approach by pointing to his numerous competitive wins and record-breaking lifts, which he claimed were evidence that his method was effective:
“Since I have managed to win the Mr. Universe title, break British records in the two hands slow curl (185 lbs.), the bench press (415 lbs.) and the two dumbbell clean & press (235 lbs.), the condemnation of cheating movements appears to be somewhat unfounded.”
Despite the controversy, Park’s shoulder workout for mass was highly effective and has since become a staple of bodybuilding training. The routine itself was designed to be challenging and intense, incorporating a range of exercises that targeted the various muscles of the shoulder complex. It was also highly customisable, allowing lifters to adjust the exercises and weights to their individual needs and goals.
The Reg Park shoulder workout typically involved a combination of compound movements and isolation exercises, with a focus on heavy weights and high volume. Exercises like military press, push press, and upright rows were used to target the larger muscles of the shoulders, while lateral raises, front raises, and rear delt flyes were used to isolate specific muscle groups.
Reg Park Shoulder Workout For Mass
In Park’s own words, he says that if you use his shoulder workout for mass productively you “will make good gains, perhaps sensational ones”,
“Here is my shoulder routine. I will make no claims that every lifter who uses it will get the same results that I have. But I am certain that the basic concepts outlined in it are sound, physiologically sound, and if the lifter experiments, takes the trouble to find out the exercises that I use that can fit productively into his training schedule, he will make good gains, perhaps sensational ones.”
Let’s take a closer look at Reg Park’s workout for building shoulder mass:
1. Standing Shoulder Press (Behind the Neck)
The first exercise in Reg Park’s shoulder workout for mass is the standing shoulder press. This exercise is known for its ability to develop mass and strength in the shoulders, as well as the triceps and upper back. Park would typically use heavy weights for this exercise, performing 6 reps for a total of 5 sets.
One of the unique aspects of Park’s approach to the standing military press was his use of “cheating” movements. On the last few reps of each set, he would use his legs to assist in lifting the weight, allowing him to complete the full set with proper form. While this approach may have been controversial at the time, it allowed Park to lift heavier weights and achieve greater gains in mass and strength.
2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Another exercise that Reg Park included in his shoulder workout for mass was the seated dumbbell shoulder press. This exercise is designed to target the anterior and medial deltoids, the muscles located on the front and outer edges of the shoulders that contribute to the overall width and definition of the shoulders. He would typically do this exercise performing 8 reps for a total of 4-6 sets.
Park found this exercise particularly effective for improving muscle tone and developing ligament strength in the shoulders. He would typically perform the exercise with dumbbells, alternating between pressing them together or lifting them alternately. This variation helped to increase the range of motion and stimulate the muscles in different ways, leading to greater gains in muscle mass and definition.
3. “Cheating” Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Reg Park’s unconventional approach to the dumbbell lateral raise involved using heavier weights and bending his arms at the elbows, which created a shorter lever arm and allowed him to lift more weight while still targeting the medial deltoids effectively. This variation of the exercise, known as the “cheatting lateral raise”, requires careful control and proper form to avoid injury, but can be an effective way to challenge the muscles and stimulate greater growth.
In addition to using heavier weights and bent arms, Park also incorporated his legs into the movement to assist himself with the last few reps. By generating momentum through his legs and core, Park was able to push through the final repetitions of each set and achieve a greater degree of muscle fatigue, which is essential for stimulating growth and building mass.
Park would typically perform 4 sets of 10 reps, massaging his muscles after each set to help stimulate blood flow and improve recovery.
4. “Cheating” Alternate Front Dumbbell Raise
Reg Park’s “cheating” alternate front dumbbell raise is another example of his unconventional approach to training for mass. This exercise involves using a combination of body motion and momentum to swing the dumbbells up to arms’ length, which allows for heavier weights to be used and greater resistance to be placed on the front deltoids.
Park typically performed 3 sets of 8 reps for this exercise.
In addition to his shoulder routine, Park also emphasised the importance of overall strength training and conditioning, particularly with compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench press. He believed that building overall strength was key to achieving optimal muscle growth and development.
While Park’s use of “cheating” movements may have been controversial, it is clear that his approach to training was highly effective. His dedication to hard work, smart training, and a focus on overall strength and development made him one of the most respected and admired bodybuilders of his time. However, it is important to note that the use of “cheating” movements can be risky and lead to injury if not performed carefully and with proper supervision. Lifters should always use caution and seek guidance from a qualified trainer or spotter when attempting heavy lifts or unfamiliar techniques.
Simply put, Reg Park’s training philosophy emphasised the importance of heavy weight training, compound movements, and gradual progression in building strength and mass. By incorporating unconventional techniques and focusing on direct work for the shoulders and other muscle groups, he was able to achieve impressive results and inspire generations of bodybuilders to come.
What Was Reg Park’s Diet?
Reg Park was known for consuming a high amount of food as fuel for his body and to increase his energy levels after an intense workout routine.
One of his favourite meals was steak, which he often consumed. He drank at least eight pints of milk every day to stay on top of his nutrition and bodybuilding routine, and had dozens of eggs daily for his protein intake.
Park ate five to six meals throughout the day to keep him satiated and his energy levels up. His breakfast included eggs, milk, and oatmeal, while his lunch generally included steak or chicken with soup, salad, and baked potatoes along with milk. His dinner was similar to his lunch, and at times he enjoyed having salad, milk, and vegetable soup.
So the secret to Park’s diet was that it was heavily focused around consuming food that was rich in protein and fibres to build his legendary physique.