Occlusion Training for Shoulders

Occlusion Training for Shoulders

What do a nice pair of round deltoids (Shoulders) signify to you? … You guessed right! It signifies power and strength.

Any bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast or average gym goer would agree that nice muscular shoulders are a must have when putting together a Greek god-like physique.

So do you want bigger shoulders?


Try hitting Occlusion training for shoulders and may see your shoulders grow in size at a faster rate than your normal shoulder hypertrophy regimen.


How To Occlude Blood Flow From The Shoulders For Maximum Results…

We won’t keep you waiting any longer, so let’s get into how to train shoulders Occlusion style! Now, some people may think it would be hard to train the shoulders by restricting blood flow (Because of the location of the shoulder muscle)… but it’s not.

You would wrap your limb in the same spot as you would any other muscle of the upper body, which would be at the upper arm where the bicep and deltoid meet.

occlusion training bands

Let’s go over a few simple points for when you are when wrapping:

  • Make sure you tie the wraps at the highest point (Between shoulders and biceps)
  • Wrap at about a 7/10 for perceived tightness (on a scale of 1-10, where 10 feels tightest)
  • Wrap in a circular (Overlapping) manner rather than wrapping in a downward spiral
  • If you feel any pain, numbness, tingling, or any discomfort, loosen or remove the wrap

Now that we have covered how to wrap the limb, we can discuss training style.

bfr bands

How Should One Train The Shoulders?

Occlusion training for shoulders is not meant for super-heavy weight training. Training with 20-40% of 1-Rep Max is plenty to reap the benefits of the unique training style because you’re trying to decelerate the process of the blood flowing back to the heart.

This increases cell swelling and oh… you’ll definitely feel it.

The whole point is to use occlusion training as a supplement to your usual heavy training. You can use the same amount of volume as well but… you’ll need to be tough because you will feel the burn!

The shoulder muscle can be delicate and may people may complain of pain and so that is why athletes and rehab patients can use occlusion training (Very beneficial) for recovering from an injury.

  • Nearly anyone can use occlusion training to train shoulders effectively
  • Ease your shoulder joints by using lighter weight while still building muscle
  • Decrease your recovery time by utilizing occlusion training to aid in healing


Here are some exercise ideas:

  1. Lateral raise to front raise - Do a dumbbell side lateral raise, then while the dumbbells are up moving them to the front and eccentrically lower them to the front. On the next rep go in the reverse order (raising to the front and moving into the eccentric portion of the lateral raise). 
  2. Plate Halos - Hold an olympic plate behind the head and rotate it in a circle around the head. Try to do 30 reps in each direction.
  3. Arnold Press - When performing the Arnold Shoulder press try pausing at each plane of movement (i.e. pause for a one second when your elbows are in front of you, when your elbows are at your sides and when your arms are overhead).


These exercises have a good amount of time under tension which will be helpful in stimulating growth. When you combine time under tension with your Occlusion Training Bands and light weight it can be especially useful because you can:

  • Avoid the pain ranges of motion and build mobility by using weights that are "non-threatening" to the brain
  • Focus on the partial ranges of motion you may be weakest in to help improve those particular strength deficits (i.e. focus on the upper half range of the shoulder press movement if that is where you are weakest)
  • The tension from the bands enhance your proprioception (i.e. body awareness), which in theory should improve your mind-muscle connection to those muscle groups 

Include Occlusion Training In Your Next Shoulder Workout!

A somewhat simple process with much research backing its effectiveness; you can implement occlusion training into your shoulder workouts and see the benefits.

Be sure that when you use your wraps (Or whatever you use) for your upper arms, you tighten them enough to where you can feel the potential for “Blood flow restriction” but not so tight to where you’re squeezing your arteries.

Treat your shoulder muscles as any other muscle you’d normally train and don’t be afraid to train with some good intensity.