The lateral raise exercise is great to build up the anterior, middle and posterior Deltoid. Everyone likes having solid end caps on the shoulder, right?
Where I see a lot of my patients develop injuries with the lateral raises is when they lift the weights too high, or shrug the shoulders up too much. When you raises your arm above 80-90 degrees you have the risk of creating impingement in your shoulder. This impingement becomes even worse if you shrug your shoulders up, which tends to happen when you fatigue and your upper traps start compensating for the deltoids.
Impingement of the shoulder is a significant risk, because it can keep you from lifting for weeks and what happens to your progress then……? Shoulder problems in weight lifters and overhead athletes is very common, but you can avoid some of that risk
The reward for lateral raises is greatest by lifting your arm not too far up. I like about 70 degrees, but definitely less than 90 degrees of horizontal. Check your form an make sure you are not shrugging your shoulders while lifting.
You can have the best of both worlds if you use good form and safe ROMDr. Pieter de Smidt, PT, DPT