Variation #6: Safe and Effective Lateral Arm Raises

My video series “Variations on Six Conventional Exercises,” puts a fresh stamp on your workout program by adding variety and challenge with every exercise. This guide takes you by the hand through Variation #6—a three-dimensional take on conventional Lateral Arm Raises. This new 3-D Workout™ variation I call Side Sweeps uses space and long levers to load the tissue. It includes all the functions of your rotator cuff, the three parts of the deltoid, a weight-bearing component and challenges your coordination to boot!

My goal is to support personal trainers and 3-D Workout™ instructors as they build their knowledge and confidence for teaching the movement. We usually start with the mechanics of a sequence but if you’re teaching 3-D Workout™, you’ll learn still more with these tips.

Benefits of Side Sweeps
IMPROVES range of motion (ROM) and flexibility in shoulder joints.
IMPROVES agility with varied WEIGHT SHIFT and gentle bounce in all directions.
MOBILIZES shoulder joint with or without loading.
IMPROVES your balance especially in the backward step.
COORDINATES upper and lower body working together.
TEACHES correct initiation and use of space around the body.
TARGETS the intended muscle groups.
HYDRATES the many layers of fascia in chest, upper back and leg.

Practice Tips
LEARN the movement without loading or momentum; then LOAD PROGRESSIVELY to build muscle tissue while keeping form.
PRACTICE at a comfortable tempo while you learn the combination.
INITIATE each spatial change correctly. FOCUS on the hand, not the shoulder.
MAINTAIN an upright torso throughout.
SOFTEN knees throughout to improve stability.

USE A MIRROR to check that you are not raising your shoulders
COORDINATE upper and lower by BREATHING with the movement.

During the four arm movements, use two complete breaths.
FEEL the floor as you complete each weight shift.

More Movement Ideas to improve your use of the sequence
PLAY with the initiation to feel the difference between raising your shoulders or raising your hands.
NOTICE as the hands rotate, how the distal body part (hand) changes the way the proximal body part (shoulder) works–using distal movement in space to mobilize a proximal joint.
PRACTICE the movement while sitting if you’re unsteady on your feet.
LOWER YOUR ARMS if shoulder ROM is limited.