Optimizing Personal Training: The Absence of Side Raises and the Importance of Effective Exercise Selection

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Not functional


Consider the Functional Relevance of Exercises in Daily Life and Athletic Performance. While movements like squats, deadlifts, overhead movements, and lat pulldowns have practical applications, the necessity of exercises such as lateral raises should be questioned.

Assessing the biomechanical demands of daily activities and sports, it becomes apparent that lifting objects in mechanically weak positions or engaging in lateral shoulder movements is rarely required.

Single joint exercise

In today’s fast-paced world, finding time for the gym can be challenging. Many individuals seek efficient workout strategies to maximize their limited time. Considering this, it is crucial to prioritize exercises that deliver the most impact.

During personal training sessions, some clients opt for a frequency of 2-3 gym visits per week, while others can only manage once a week. In such cases, focusing on compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups takes precedence over single joint exercises.

What do you want to do instead?

Multi joint exercises

Do you know how many joints involved to do lat pulldown? 

Elbows, Shoulders and Scapula.

And if you do it right, here are the muscles primary involved with lat pulldown.

  • biceps brachii
  • latissimus dorsi
  • posterior deltoid
  • lower trapezius
  • middle trapezius
  • rhomboids

However, with lateral raises

  • middle deltoid
  • supraspinatus

You see how efficient multi joint exercise is.

Some of single joints exercises are more functional

After completing your primary multi-joint exercises, if time permits for additional training, it is advisable to prioritize exercises that offer functional benefits.

Among these, bicep curls and triceps press downs are preferred choices over lateral raises. Not only do these exercises target specific muscle groups effectively, but they also provide a safer joint experience. By incorporating these supplementary exercises into your routine, you can maximize your training session while minimizing the risk of joint discomfort or injury.

Want to make shoulder bigger

shoulder muscles

Some may argue that I want to make my shoulder look bigger.   If you have 2 – 3 hour training time, maybe do lateral raises.  But most of us don’t.  

Let’s first see the deltoid function since the deltoid is the one to make your shoulder bigger.

  • Anterior deltoid
    shoulder flexion
    shoulder horizontal adduction
    shoulder internal rotation
  • middle deltoid
    shoulder abduction
  • posterior deltoid
    shoulder extension
    shoulder horizontal abduction
    shoulder external rotation

When considering upper body training, it is important to focus on both pushing and pulling exercises to target various muscle groups effectively.

Pushing exercises such as push-ups and bench press engage the anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, and triceps brachii. On the other hand, pulling exercises such as lat pulldowns and chin-ups activate the posterior deltoid, latissimus dorsi, and biceps brachii.

However, it is crucial to address the middle deltoid, which may seem neglected in these movements. The middle deltoid plays a vital role in overhead movements, where all deltoid muscles work synergistically. Moreover, overhead movements involve multiple joints, including the elbows and shoulders, resulting in greater overall efficiency and benefits compared to isolated lateral raises. By incorporating compound exercises and overhead movements into your training regimen, you can ensure comprehensive development of the deltoid muscles while maximizing your workout efficiency.

Lateral raises make your tight neck even tighter

If you experience tightness in your neck, it is important to avoid exercises that can exacerbate this issue. One such exercise is shoulder shrugs, as they tend to cause scapular elevation, resulting in increased tension in the neck muscles.

To prevent this undesirable effect (which is something most individuals strive to avoid), it is recommended to choose exercises that promote scapular depression. These exercises target the lower trapezius, aiding in its activation. By incorporating exercises that focus on scapular depression into your routine, you can effectively alleviate neck tightness and promote better posture and muscle balance.