Exercises to Save Your Shoulders

Use a bench to build boulder shoulders.

Pressing weight over your head isn’t the only (or safest) way to build strong shoulders.

The horiontal lateral raise targets the weakest part of your shoulder, the rear region, while also improving your stabilising muscles and protecting your rotator cuff, says certified strength and conditioning specialist Bill Hartman.

Use this exercise as a replacement for bent-over lateral raises.


The Benefit

Many injuries occur because of muscular imbalance – the back is weaker than the front.

The horizontal lateral raise trains a large portion of the back side of your shoulder muscles in one movement, and enhances flexibility – an overlooked component of healthy hinges.

Building stable shoulders will make you stronger on every lift.


How to Do It

  1. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and lie on your left side on a flat bench.
  2. Hand your right arm straight down from your body so it’s perpendicular to the floor. Your palm should be turned towards you, your elbow slightly bent.
  3. Maintain the bend in your elbow as you raise your arm in an arc straight above your shoulder. Then slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 2-3 sets for 12-15 repetitions on each side.


Expert Tip

To better target the rotator cuff, rotate your wrist as you lift.

Start the lift with your palm facing your feet. As you raise the dumbbell, turn your hand so that your palm faces your feet.