If you’re looking to develop a V-shaped torso then shoulder exercises are an absolute must. You can spend all the time you like working on your pecs, biceps and abs, but if they’re hanging off narrow shoulders your torso won’t look half as impressive.
The lateral raise is one of the best exercises for those looking to build shoulders like boulders. It’s also a very simple movement: essentially you just raise weights to the sides and up to shoulder level, then lower them again – though naturally we have some far more detailed advice about perfect form to follow.
However, don’t let that simplicity fool you into thinking you’re in for an easy time. The lateral raise is devilishly hard, even with very light weights. What seems incredibly simple on rep one is absolute murder by rep eight, so pick your weight wisely. If you’re doing this exercise for the first time, choose the band you think will allow you to complete all the reps with good form – then go lighter. One set shouldn’t take much more than a minute – so why risk an injury for the sake of 12 reps with bands that are too light?
As well as stronger, larger shoulders, the benefits of the lateral raise extend to increased shoulder mobility. If you brace correctly throughout the lift, your core also benefits, and muscles in the upper back, arms and neck will also feel the strain after a few sets.
Aim for 10-12 reps with perfect form. Selecting the correct band is key to doing lateral raises properly and safely. You’ll find that even with relatively light bands, the last few raises are a real challenge, so there’s no need to try to impress by grabbing the strongest band.
The lateral raise is a great exercise to use resistance bands for, because you don’t need much weight to get great results and the bands will provide more of a challenge at the top of the lift. It’s also a gentler option on your joints if you’re worried about any shoulder niggles and, of course, using easily-portable bands mean you can get a spot of lateral raising in whenever the mood takes you. Stand on the middle of the band holding one end in each hand, then raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the ground. Lower slowly, working against the pull of the band. See the instructions in the video above for more detail.
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By Coach Mag