Pressing weight over your head isn’t the only (or safest) way to build strong shoulders. The horizontal lateral raise targets the weakest part of your shoulder, the rear region, while also improving your stabilising muscles and protecting your rotator cuff, says strength and conditioning coach Bill Hartman.
Use this exercise as a replacement for bent-over lateral raises.
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 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
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and lie on your left side on a flat bench. Hang 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. 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. That’s one repetition. Repeat for two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions on each side.
Our Expert’s 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 head.
Add It On
Progress to heavier weights and complete three or four sets of eight repetitions on each side.
To make the exercise harder, perform it on an incline bench with your head higher.