Easing the Ache: Why Does My Back Hurt During Front Lateral Raises?

why does my back hurt doing front lateral raises?

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Easing the Ache: Why Does My Back Hurt During Front Lateral Raises?

Front lateral raises are a pivotal exercise in shoulder workouts, renowned for their ability to sculpt and strengthen the upper body, particularly the shoulders.

This exercise, while seemingly simple, holds paramount importance in enhancing shoulder mobility and achieving a coveted V-shaped torso. However, a common issue that many encounter is back pain during front lateral raises.

This discomfort is often a signal of improper form and technique, emphasizing the crucial need for understanding and implementing correct execution to reap the benefits while avoiding unnecessary strain or injury.

Why Does My Back Hurt During Front Lateral Raises?

When experiencing back pain during front lateral raises, it’s often a manifestation of improper form or technique. Front lateral raises primarily target the shoulder muscles, but incorrect execution, such as arching the back or using excessive weight, can place undue stress on the back muscles and spine, leading to discomfort or pain. Additionally, relying on momentum, rather than controlled muscle engagement, can also strain the back. It’s crucial to maintain a neutral spine, engage the core for support, and use weights that allow for a controlled, stable movement to avoid back pain. Incorporating proper stretching and strengthening exercises can also aid in mitigating the risk of back pain during this exercise. Regularly revisiting form and technique, along with being mindful of the body’s responses, can ensure that front lateral raises are performed effectively, maximizing benefits while minimizing the risk of back pain.

Anatomy of Front Lateral Raises

Muscles Worked

Front lateral raises are comprehensive, targeting several muscles to enhance strength and definition. The lateral deltoids are the primary muscles worked, crucial for providing width to the upper body. The anterior deltoids, located at the front of the shoulders, are also engaged, playing a significant role in shoulder flexion.

The supraspinatus, one of the rotator cuff muscles, is subtly worked during this exercise, contributing to the stability of the shoulder joint. Additionally, the trapezius muscles are involved, particularly when the weights are lifted to shoulder height, aiding in scapular retraction and elevation.

Benefits of Front Lateral Raises

The benefits of front lateral raises extend beyond mere aesthetics. Shoulder Strengthening is one of the most notable benefits, with the exercise effectively targeting and engaging various shoulder muscles, leading to increased strength and endurance. This strengthening is pivotal for enhancing performance in other upper body exercises and daily activities, reducing the risk of injury.

Enhanced Mobility is another significant benefit. Regularly performing front lateral raises can improve the range of motion in the shoulder joints, promoting better posture and reducing stiffness or discomfort. This enhanced mobility is crucial for maintaining overall shoulder health and functionality, especially given the shoulder’s inherent vulnerability due to its wide range of motion.

Lastly, the achievement of a V-shaped Torso is a sought-after benefit of front lateral raises. By developing the lateral and anterior deltoids, this exercise contributes to a broader shoulder appearance, creating a visual contrast with the waistline and contributing to a more balanced and proportionate physique.

Proper Execution and Common Mistakes

Step-by-Step Guide to Proper Execution

Executing front lateral raises with precision is crucial to avoid unnecessary strain and to maximize benefits.

Set-Up and Equipment:

  • Choose a pair of dumbbells of appropriate weight.
  • Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing inward.

Starting Position:

  • Keep your arms fully extended, and the dumbbells slightly in front of your body.
  • Engage your core and maintain a straight back.

Movement and Pause:

  • Without swinging, slowly lift the dumbbells outward to the sides and slightly to the front, leading with the elbows.
  • Elevate the weights until they reach shoulder height, keeping a slight bend in the elbows.
  • Pause briefly at the top before slowly lowering the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Identifying and Avoiding Common Mistakes

Using Excessive Weight – Lifting too heavy can compromise form and lead to injury. Start with lighter weights and progressively increase as strength improves.

Swinging the Weight – Avoid using momentum to swing the weights up, as this reduces muscle engagement and can strain the back and shoulders.

Shrugging and Dropping Elbows – Keep the shoulders relaxed and avoid shrugging. Ensure the elbows are slightly elevated compared to the wrists throughout the movement.

Related: Why Do My Shoulders Fatigue So Quickly? Reasons Why It Happens and How to Fix It

Variations and Modifications

Introduction to Variations

Variations of front lateral raises can add diversity to your workout and target different muscles.

Bent Arm Lateral Raise: Perform the exercise with elbows bent at 90 degrees, focusing on the lateral deltoids.

Resistance Band Lateral Raise: Use a resistance band placed under the feet for added tension and a different resistance curve.

Seated Lateral Raise: Execute the movement while seated to isolate the shoulder muscles and minimize momentum.

Benefits and Execution of Variations

Adaptability – Variations allow for adaptability, catering to individual needs, preferences, and potential limitations.

Targeting Different Muscles – Different variations can emphasize different muscles, allowing for a more comprehensive shoulder workout.

Enhanced Results – Incorporating variations can lead to enhanced results by preventing plateaus and addressing muscle imbalances.

Advanced Tips and Alternatives

For those looking to intensify their front lateral raise workouts, integrating strategies like performing the raises more slowly can be beneficial. This approach increases time under tension, demanding more from the muscles and enhancing strength and endurance.

Additionally, incorporating palm rotation during the movement can alter muscle engagement, providing a varied stimulus to the shoulder muscles. Another effective strategy is using uneven weights in each hand, which challenges stability and balance, promoting core engagement and overall muscle development.

Benefits of Alternatives

Exploring alternative exercises and strategies is also crucial. It offers varied benefits and ensures a well-rounded approach to shoulder development. Alternatives like cable lateral raises are beneficial as they maintain constant tension throughout the movement, maximizing muscle engagement.

Exercises like bent-over lateral raises are essential as they target the often-neglected posterior deltoid, contributing to balanced shoulder development. Incorporating a range of exercises ensures a comprehensive workout, addressing all aspects of shoulder strength, mobility, and stability.

Solutions and Preventive Measures

Addressing and preventing discomfort during front lateral raises is essential and involves incorporating corrective exercises and stretches. Regular stretching is pivotal as it can enhance flexibility, reduce muscle tightness, and improve range of motion, mitigating the risk of strain or injury.

Incorporating exercises like external rotations and shoulder circles can strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, enhancing shoulder stability. A balanced routine of strengthening and stretching plays a pivotal role in preventing injuries and ensuring long-term shoulder health.

Importance of Proper Form and Technique

Maintaining proper form and technique is the cornerstone of effective and safe exercise execution. Adherence to proper form reduces the risk of strain or injury, allowing for sustained progress and development.

Correct execution ensures the targeted muscles are engaged effectively, maximizing the benefits of the exercise. A consistent focus on form and technique contributes to sustainable shoulder health, preventing long-term issues and promoting overall well-being.

Related: Why Do My Traps Hurt Doing Lateral Raises? (Causes, Solutions, and More)

Does Your Grip Matter?

Enhancing grip strength can significantly alleviate back pain experienced during front lateral raises. A strong grip stabilizes the weights, promoting better control and reducing the likelihood of compensatory movements that can strain the back.

A study by Bohannon (2019) highlighted the correlation between grip strength and overall musculoskeletal health, emphasizing its role in preventing discomfort during exercises like front lateral raises.

Utilizing grip-enhancing tools like those available on Amazon can aid in developing grip strength. Additionally, incorporating products from Sport CBDs can potentially offer supplementary support in managing discomfort and promoting muscle recovery, contributing to a more comfortable and effective workout experience.


Why does my back hurt when I do front raises?

Back pain during front raises often results from improper form, such as arching the back or using excessive weight, leading to strain on the back muscles and spine. Maintaining a neutral spine and using appropriate weights can help in preventing back pain during this exercise.

How to do lateral raises without hurting back?

To perform lateral raises without hurting the back, maintain a straight back, engage the core, and use weights that allow for controlled movements. Avoid swinging the weights and ensure that the movement is driven by the shoulders rather than momentum.

Why are front lateral raises bad?

Front lateral raises are not inherently bad; however, improper execution can lead to issues such as shoulder impingement or back pain. Correct form, appropriate weight selection, and gradual progression are crucial to perform this exercise safely and effectively.

Are front raises good for back?

Front raises primarily target the shoulder muscles, but when performed with proper form, they can also engage the upper back muscles and contribute to improved posture and upper body strength.

Why do I experience back pain during front lateral raises?

Experiencing back pain during front lateral raises is typically a sign of compromised form, such as arching the back or using momentum, which puts undue stress on the back muscles and spine. Correcting form and using suitable weights can alleviate this issue.

How can I avoid back pain while performing front lateral raises?

Avoiding back pain during front lateral raises involves maintaining proper form, engaging the core to support the spine, and using appropriate weights. Regular stretching and strengthening of the back muscles can also aid in preventing back pain.

Are there alternative exercises to front lateral raises that can prevent back pain?

Yes, exercises like side-lying lateral raises, cable lateral raises, or resistance band lateral raises can be good alternatives, offering varied resistance and allowing for modifications to prevent back pain.

How does proper form contribute to a pain-free experience in front lateral raises?

Maintaining proper form ensures that the targeted muscles are engaged effectively, reducing the risk of strain or injury to the back and shoulders. It allows for optimal muscle engagement and prevents unnecessary stress on the spine and surrounding muscles.

Final Thoughts…

Front lateral raises are a valuable exercise for shoulder strengthening and overall upper body development. However, the recurrence of back pain and discomfort underscores the imperative need for proper knowledge and execution of this exercise.

It is crucial to maintain correct form, use appropriate weights, and integrate variations and modifications to avoid strain and maximize benefits. A holistic approach, encompassing proper execution, preventive measures, and a well-rounded workout routine, is pivotal for achieving sustainable shoulder health and leveraging the full benefits of front lateral raises.

Embracing such an approach can lead to enhanced physical well-being, allowing individuals to pursue their fitness goals with vigor and resilience.

Why does my back hurt doing front lateral raises? Have our tips been beneficial to your training? We’d love to hear your feedback, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Until next time, we wish you the best in your fitness journey. Remember, your progress is our passion. Stay strong and keep pushing!

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout


Founder – Sport CBDs

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