These are simple ways that you can make the exercise harder, which is important to keep in mind – because if you aren’t working hard enough you just won’t get the benefits out of the exercise.

Consistent adaptation is the way to do this – where you change one of those three things on a regular basis, you will continue to get great results.

This week’s exercise is a side lateral raise. It’s another of the old school classics, and it’s one of the ones I learnt when beginning my career and starting at the basics with the Arnold Schwarzenegger encyclopedia of bodybuilding that I poured over all through college – and still occasionally do, even to this day.

The side lateral raise is for your shoulder muscles. The shoulder is divided into three heads, also called deltoids – front, middle and rear.

This exercise mainly works the middle or lateral deltoid though it can also work the front deltoid when posture becomes poor and the shoulders begin to round forward.

Exercise of the week: Side lateral raise

Start with your feet shoulder width apart, back straight and core engaged by pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine.

1. Take a set of dumbbells and place them by your hip bone – not at the front of the waist as so many people seem to do.Ensure the neck is relaxed. 2. Now simply raise the dumbbells away from the body, keeping the arms long and bring the elbow up to shoulder level. Then return back down to your hips.

Aim for three sets of 15 or so to begin with. Nail the technique and then increase the weight as you go along.

The most common mistake people make is that the neck is tense, the body is leaning forward and the arm is often bent. There are lots of heavy variations on a side lateral raise that will work different muscle groups but for now, let’s stay with the basics. The key rule for this exercise is to start at the hips not in front of the body, you will find that this forces you to use less weight in order to do the exercise properly and that’s not a bad thing.

As you get stronger, begin to increase the weight so you are struggling on the last two reps of each set.

If you begin to swing on the movement, start by lightening the weight. You can place one foot in front of the other to give you a better foundation, and it will help to improve your posture too.

Fitness tip of the week:

Switch back to real foods – the ingredients list should be short and easy to read, not like a chemistry experiment.

Butter is a prime example of this. In the supermarket, avoid highly processed versions or substitutes with lots of ingredients you can’t pronounce – I always advise to buy real butter, with very few ingredients on the label. It’s so much better for you.

Think real food over processed foods at all times and you will be on track to improving your health.

This article appeared on Independent.ie