By Lynn Okura
For years, front and lateral raises have been the go-to exercise for strong, sculpted shoulders — but new science shows that we’ve been doing them the wrong way. While we used to believe it was best to keep palms facing the floor throughout the entire move, fitness expert Jessica Matthews has a small, but important modification to better strengthen the shoulder muscles without risking injury.
“Knowing how the human body moves, when we do something like a front raise and keep the palms facing the ground the entire time, we actually know this creates impingement or pain in the shoulder joint,” Matthews says. “It actually makes the shoulders much less stable and that’s because the arms are slightly internally rotated.
“Now, there’s one simple trick that you can do to both front and lateral raises that’s easy to do and super effective,” she says. In the above video, she demonstrates the easy adjustment. Begin the move as you normally would with palms facing down. Just before your weights get to shoulder height, tilt your thumbs up slightly.
“This slight tweak actually moves the arms into external rotation, making the shoulder joint much more stable and creating much more challenge for the muscles of the shoulder joint,” she explains.
To incorporate this move into your workout, Matthews says to complete two to three sets of 12 to 15 reps using a weight that’s appropriate for your personal fitness level.