Tom Stoltman Uses Progressive Overload and High Volume for Shoulder Hypertrophy

The two-time World's Strongest Man is getting in competition shape for the 2023 season.

The two-time reigning World’s Strongest Man (WSM) Tom Stoltman does not intend to compete in another elite competition in 2022. He encountered travel issues that caused him to withdraw from the 2022 Shaw Classic, and he and his brother, Luke, declined their invitations to the 2022 Rogue Invitational.

That doesn’t mean that Stoltman isn’t still training in the gym. On Sept. 13, 2022, he took to the Stoltman Brothers YouTube channel to share a shoulder workout focused on hypertrophy. Check it out below:

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Stoltman got into the gym and slipped on his knee sleeves. Even during upper-body training, Stoltman wears sleeves to protect his knees. The only time he opts not to wear them is during deadlift because the barbell could catch the sleeve during the concentric portion of the lift.

Even when performing something like a heavy log press, the stability required to base immense weight puts a lot of pressure on the knees.

Don’t be stupid. Protect your knees.

When warming up for overhead presses, Stoltman loosens up his lats but doesn’t spend much time stretching. He warms up by doing the movement he intends to train with a lighter weight. On this day, he warmed up overhead presses with an empty barbell to get the blood flowing and then loaded two 20-kilogram weight plates onto the barbell for his warm-up sets — meaning 60 kilograms (132 pounds) total.


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Stoltman warned that the danger of overstretching could lead to the muscles being less stable during a heavy lift and potentially lead to injury. The primary training methodology Stoltman uses is progressive overload. He increases the weight of each set and knows his training is practical if he can load more weight each week of his programming.

At 100 kilograms (220 pounds), Stoltman wore elbow sleeves to protect his joints, which remained top of mind throughout the video. Stoltman stayed in the five-rep range for each set as he increased the weight. He hit a set at 110 kilograms and then 120 kilograms to “push himself.” He went without a lifting belt the entire time to further train his bracing and build his core stability.

Stoltman’s push press sets were 100, 110, 110, 120, and 120 kilograms. Once his pressing was complete, he sat in a chest press machine for additional volume. He has found he responds well to higher volume training when training his shoulders and chest.

Stoltman continued his shoulder work with rotator cuff strengthening. He held a pair of dumbbells and performed a high pull. At the top of the high pull, he rotated the dumbbells into an overhead press position and locked them out overhead. He admitted he finds it a “boring exercise” but knows its value nonetheless. 

He followed that with front raises with a 20-kilogram weight plate and then closed with face pulls and triceps pushdowns. Stoltman doesn’t consider himself in competition shape and won’t be competing until 2023. However, he seemed to be very in tune with his training capacity to improve and enter his next strongman contest in even better shape.

Featured image: @tomstoltmanofficial on Instagram