• Published: 01 July 2015
  • Build your body while saving your rotator cuff muscles here

    Not all shoulder exercises are created equal, at least not if you value the health of your rotator cuff muscles. In this video, I show you a classic shoulder exercise and staple of most shoulder workouts, and how to perform it correctly if you want to avoid the hazards to your rotator cuff when doing it. The side lateral raise or dumbbell side raises are a great medial delt developer. The problem isn’t with the exercise, but how you perform this shoulder exercise.

    The most common tip you hear when performing this in your shoulder workout is to tilt your pinkies up at the top of the movement as if you are “pouring a pitcher” of water. This is bad advice. No way around it. Especially considering the fact that you can still get the benefits of the exercise without doing this by making one simple tweak to your posture when performing this exercise.

    To begin with, the combination of elevation and internal rotation at the shoulder is a biomechanically unsound position for your glenohumeral joint. Can your body do it? Of course, with the almost limitless range of motion provided by the ball and socket joint of your shoulder you can get in almost any position. This doesn’t mean that it is a good position however.

    When you elevate your arm with an internally rotated shoulder you place the head of the humerus in a position where it can quickly impinge on the soft tissue structures in your glenohumeral joint. Most often, the supraspinatus tendon is one of the first structures to feel the brunt of this mistake. Now, the individual anatomy from shoulder to shoulder is going to vary, and the speed at which you start to experience troubles from this position may vary widely.

    That said, over the course of time, even those who find the position to be non problematic (even for many years) start to experience breakdown after years of doing this. On the other hand, issues can arise much faster if you have a shoulder with a lower hanging acromion which tends to get pinched faster by the upward rising humerus.

    The point is, the pouring the pitcher posture is quickly going to accentuate this improper biomechanics position at the shoulder and lead to accelerated degeneration in your shoulder. Not needed since the fix is to simply do the opposite at the shoulder joint when you perform the shoulder exercise - externally rotate your shoulder. By doing this, you provide all the room your shoulder needs to avoid the impingement while not compromising the work done by the medial deltoid. How you ask?

    By simply leaning forward just a bit at the waist when doing this exercise to place the medial deltoid in a more direct line of force opposing gravity. This now allows you to make the exercise safe for your shoulders and allow you to use it to get the bigger shoulders you are doing it for in the first place. Watch as I demonstrate how to perform the side lateral raise the right way to build big shoulders and delts without suffering a shoulder injury in your workout.

    For a complete workout program on how to build bigger delts while maintaining joint health, be sure to head to and get any one of our athlean-x training systems. Each was created by physical therapist Jeff Cavaliere and used by today’s top professional athletes to stay on the field and dominate. For a joint formula designed to help you overcome existing shoulder joint injuries, be sure to check out ATHLEAN-Rx MECHAN-X in the supplements section of our site.

    For more shoulder exercises for your rotator cuffs and workouts to build big shoulders at home or at the gym, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on RUclip at
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Comments • 2 801

  • Logic Killer
    Logic Killer  1 days back

    this video made me a Jeff Cavaliere Fan.... this guy knows what he's taking about...

    • Marnick Van Londerseele

      damn that intro i know that from somewhere

      • IFreakingEatPeople
        IFreakingEatPeople  2 days back

        I tell everyone on the job site to watch this guy. Gotta train smart when u do construction

        • Adolf Hitler
          Adolf Hitler  3 days back

          Would love a video on "torn labrum" for those with torn labrum who can't workout their shoulders anymore.

          • Cheif Winter
            Cheif Winter  3 days back

            I actually can't feel it ngl I can't do it properly

            • George Wallace
              George Wallace  5 days back

              Jeff, I've had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders now. And one just got recently. When i heal, what different, safe exercises can i do to get my shoulders back to normal or at least close? Please help me. Also, have a lot of knee problems. Can you show videos or tell me different videos for safe knee workouts to build up my legs

              • Ufuk İnce
                Ufuk İnce  7 days back

                Ahhh mate i wish i saw this video before my rotator cuff has fcked up i got shoulder disease because of this now

                • Monty Alani
                  Monty Alani  7 days back

                  Thank u

                  • kmkaks 2.0
                    kmkaks 2.0  1 weeks back

                    Why is training so complicated? People don’t agree with how to do even one exercise?

                  • Rufus Leakin
                    Rufus Leakin  2 weeks back

                    What about a neutral position with the palms down with the thumb and pinkie even?

                    • Tom Black
                      Tom Black  2 weeks back

                      Good stuff. Informative stuff as ever. Thanks muchly.

                      • REDnWHITEnGREY
                        REDnWHITEnGREY  2 weeks back

                        Ahh thank you! I tried twisting inwards but it still felt wrong. Needed to lean forward!

                        • farris turner
                          farris turner  2 weeks back

                          I wonder does the same issues exist when using a cable attachment?

                          • g3ultra
                            g3ultra  2 weeks back

                            One set with 20lb dumbbells and I tore my rotator cuff. Wish I'd seen this before that.😖

                            • Fannberg l
                              Fannberg l  2 weeks back

                              im a beginner and i only use 8 lbs dumbbells.. im such a weakling its embarrassing

                          • David Dahl
                            David Dahl  2 weeks back

                            My shoulders hurt regardless of how I do it. They get angry, then there's a snapping inside, and pain. No idea why

                            • plockacherrys
                              plockacherrys  2 weeks back

                              Should we bend our arms while doing lat raises ?

                            • Andrew Kieran
                              Andrew Kieran  3 weeks back

                              Fuck Jeff was a lot bulkier in the old days

                              • kamal rai
                                kamal rai  3 weeks back

                                Thank you jeff..i learn alot from you

                                • Bogdan George Dumitrescu

                                  It’s incredible, i’m trying this now because i have a shoulder pain and when i do in your way is feel no pain, thank you. Can’t belive 🙏🏼🙏🏼

                                  • Art O'War
                                    Art O'War  3 weeks back

                                    do you retract the scapulas doing this though? Sorry if it was mentioned I didn't have time I am in a hurry

                                • Ritvik Singh
                                  Ritvik Singh  4 weeks back

                                  Back in the days when it was a home gym, MISSING JESSIE

                                  • Zamochy
                                    Zamochy  4 weeks back

                                    Whether it's a blessing or a curse, my shoulder likes to pop whenever I do something with bad form, so the "pouring" form always had a popping sound. Leaning forward is probably the first time I could easily do these raises AND feel a really good burn too!

                                    • Brett cox
                                      Brett cox  1 months back


                                      • barryseaworth
                                        barryseaworth  1 months back

                                        Took two months for me

                                        • Ayush Gupta
                                          Ayush Gupta  1 months back

                                          5:18 good dumbbell switch

                                          • NewsMan 1967
                                            NewsMan 1967  1 months back

                                            I've trashed both my supras doing this and incorrectly benching/pressing!!

                                            • Bret Fisher
                                              Bret Fisher  1 months back

                                              Thank you. I am so glad to have seen this video. I had surgery on my right shoulder (rotator cuff and long head bicept) in early june this year, nearly 7 months ago. I have never been a gym member but I wanted to start lifting weights to gain strength. Starting slow of course. Intend to keep following these videos. Thanks again.

                                              • Enimo23
                                                Enimo23  1 months back

                                                i raped my shoulder doing it wrong lol

                                                • Hamza Batroukh
                                                  Hamza Batroukh  1 months back

                                                  The popular "pouring a pitcher of water" lateral raise position to target the medial head is terrible positioning for your shoulder. People with current shoulder problems will have pain with this and you dont even need weights for the exercise to lead to eventual breakdown. The medial delt, not even one of its major 4 functions is to internally rotate. The reason internal rotation is done is that when a lateral raise is done, the medial head isn't directly under the line of force.

                                                  What we want to do is actually externally rotate to clear the head of the humerus from the acromion. To perform, lean forward a little bit and when doing the raise, externally rotate at the top, the benefit is its still taking the force of gravity.

                                                  • tbpom1003
                                                    tbpom1003  1 months back

                                                    this video cleared all thr questions I have about lateral raise after 4 yrs and a half lol Thanks bro!!

                                                    • Patrick
                                                      Patrick  1 months back

                                                      Anyone who continues to pour the pitchers after hearing Jeff's advice is an asshole.

                                                      • NewsMan 1967
                                                        NewsMan 1967  1 months back

                                                        Anyone who tells others to do it the old way is an asshole, doing it to yourself makes one an idiot.

                                                    • Eduardo Cassiano
                                                      Eduardo Cassiano  2 months back

                                                      Great stuff.

                                                      • steijn vanb
                                                        steijn vanb  2 months back

                                                        3:26 throwing some whips

                                                        • Paula Abrew
                                                          Paula Abrew  2 months back

                                                          This make sense now. No wonder why I was suffering of intense pain when I was doing this workout. Thanks for the advice!

                                                          • manji thorn
                                                            manji thorn  6 days back

                                                            @AKS WOW. You should definitely date him now Ms Abrew. You've got no choice

                                                          • AKS
                                                            AKS  4 weeks back

                                                            Hey, I've already seen you on some other channel 🧐

                                                        • nilschissi
                                                          nilschissi  2 months back

                                                          Awsome. Thanks for advice😄

                                                          • Erick Smart
                                                            Erick Smart  2 months back

                                                            Thanks again.

                                                            • derek clobes
                                                              derek clobes  2 months back

                                                              That felt great! doing it the right way felt amazing

                                                              • KC N
                                                                KC N  2 months back

                                                                youtube should have a thank you button just for this channel.

                                                                • RCR Brewster
                                                                  RCR Brewster  2 months back

                                                                  Jeff looks alot better here than he does now. He's too shredded now. It's too excessive IMO

                                                                • Ehrin Poklen
                                                                  Ehrin Poklen  2 months back

                                                                  Jeff had too much whipped cream and Splenda on his oatmeal this morning

                                                                  • Jon Park
                                                                    Jon Park  2 months back

                                                                    Holy shit this method really removed the pain from my shoulder God damn that's crazy..

                                                                  • Rasutshu Tsuhah
                                                                    Rasutshu Tsuhah  2 months back

                                                                    I wish I had known this earlier... At first I doing the exact way u r doing but the gym coach not hapy with my moves.... Aftr all that iv been doing the wrong moves n it enjurs my rotator so badly now...

                                                                    • Tiko N
                                                                      Tiko N  2 months back

                                                                      I wish I watched your videos before I injured my shoulder. This is definitely gonna help me recover. Thank you!

                                                                      • paul dejesus
                                                                        paul dejesus  2 months back

                                                                        It hurt immediately for me. Thanks for the other options

                                                                        • Gpod
                                                                          Gpod  2 months back

                                                                          Been doing it that way for 40yrs. Thanks Jeff

                                                                          • KulDegun
                                                                            KulDegun  2 months back

                                                                            Thankyou so much..with a permanently torn rotator 75% which was irreparable I can finally do these totally pain free 👍👍

                                                                            • elbarto4394
                                                                              elbarto4394  2 months back

                                                                              So glad my phone spies on me. I was looking for a medial shoulder exercise and would have done it the wrong way exacerbating previous rotator cuff injuries

                                                                              • Sean Ramon
                                                                                Sean Ramon  2 days back

                                                                                @Gangst3r4ever no not the government. It's worse than that, it's Google.

                                                                              • Gangst3r4ever
                                                                                Gangst3r4ever  2 months back

                                                                                The government watches over you

                                                                            • Del
                                                                              Del  2 months back

                                                                              Do I pinch my shoulder blades together while performing the lateral raise?

                                                                              • Vikas Kumar
                                                                                Vikas Kumar  2 months back

                                                                                No. But if you're shoulders are making clicking sounds during this exercise them do it.

                                                                            • Alexander
                                                                              Alexander  2 months back

                                                                              Muscle fibers should run parallel to the force, not perpendicular right?