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4 Ways the Lateral Raise Can Cause Rotator Cuff Issues

February 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Rotator Cuff

lateral-raises-cause-rotatoWhile rotator cuff injuries commonly occur in sports that involve repetitive overhead arm and throwing movements, individuals who hit the gym a couple of times a week are also at risk.

There are specific exercises at the gym that are known to cause rotator cuff injuries but for the purpose of this article, we will expose how the lateral raise exercise can cause rotator cuff problems.

The abduction or lateral raises are meant to strengthen the lateral deltoid, but it is probably the exercise that is done wrong most consistently. When done wrong it ends often in rotator cuff tendonitis.

Besides these 7 exercises to avoid when you have a damaged rotator cuff, there are  4 mistakes that people make when performing the lateral raise exercise that can cause damage to your rotator cuff or prevent your rotator cuff from fully healing such as:

1) Raising your arms above shoulder level beyond parallel.  To get maximum benefit from this exercise, you should stop at 80 degrees, just below shoulder height or even less if the movement causes pain. If you go above parallel, you are simply increasing your chances of shoulder impingement and rotator cuff damage.

2) Using dumbbells that are too heavy. Even though your deltoids are a good size muscle, you want to use light weights to ensure you really target them and to avoid engaging other muscle groups. A simple test you can do to see if the weight is too heavy for you is to see if you can hold the dumbbell at the top of the position for 2 seconds before lowering
to start position.  If you can’t, then you are using too much weight.

3) Improper stance when starting the exercise.  You see many people doing this exercise with a wide stance.  You want to stand with your legs slightly apart with your knees relaxed and bent.  A shorter, relaxed stance will have allow for an improved balance, core muscle engagement and ensure that your back is kept straight. Remember to keep your elbows bent at a 20-30 degree angle.

4) The fourth mistake when performing the lateral raise exercise is keeping your arms straight and lifting straight out and up from your side.  The key is to keep your shoulders in the scapular plane, 30 degrees away from your body. This ensures less stress on your shoulder joint and rotator cuff.

A great alternative to using dumbbells is cables or tubing. Doing so allows for a more fluid and controlled movement.  If you are using tubing, stand in the middle of the tubing and raise the ends in a similar fashion to the lateral raise.

This is a great alternative to using a dumbbell, especially if the dumbbell leads to pain. There are multiple grades of tubing available, so you can try several until you establish the right pain-free range of motion and resistance.

If you already have shoulder or rotator cuff pain, did you know that you can easily treat and erase your shoulder pain at home in just 4 simple steps?

When you click on the Learn More button, an instructional video will reveal these 4 steps that you can do right now to stop your shoulder pain for good!

lateral raises bad for rotator cuff

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