How to perform the Dumbbell Lateral Raise in 3 simple steps
The Dumbbell Lateral Raise is a great exercise for developing strength and size in your shoulder. Specifically the lateral deltoid, which is the middle portion of the deltoid muscle.
This isolation exercise is especially useful as it allows you to train the shoulder muscle without also using the Tricep (Back of the arm).
This is handy if your triceps are already fatigued from other pressing exercises such as the chest press or bench press.
The lateral raise exercise can be performed in many different ways.
You can use cables, dumbbells, bands etc.
Lateral raise variations will either use a completely straight arm a slightly bent arm with or without internal rotation cues.
You can do single sided strict or double sided with a slight bit of momentum to flatten the strength curve…
The basic dumbbell version is arguably the best version in terms of development of the target deltoid muscle.
As is the case with all exercises, mastery of the technique is important for long term progression.
Mastering the dumbbell lateral raise will allow you to perform more experimentation later on.
Shoulder injuries are among the most common injuries in the Gym, and lateral raises, are among the most butchered exercise.
That’s why we are going to show you how perform them correctly!
Here is how to perform Dumbbell Lateral Raise in 3 simple steps
Step 1: The set up
Start off by selecting the right pair of dumbbells.
I would recommend choosing a pair of dumbbells that will allow you to easily perform 15 reps.
The target muscle (the delts) is relatively small compared to some of the larger muscles like the glutes or pecs of the chest.
This means you will be able to maximally stimulate the delts with a smaller/lighter weight.
When you have your dumbbells selected, pick them up and stand erect, make sure you have enough space to your sides.
Pin your shoulders back by pretending to hold a tennis ball between your shoulder blades.
Brace your core by pretending there is a small aggressive 5 year old standing in front of you ready to gut punch you at any moment…
Really… try it.
Finally, ensure you have enough space drop or to put them down the dumbbells safely should you need to suddenly stop exercising.
So basically, try not to do lateral raise directly over anyone’s face while in the Gym or over “Fluffies” sleeping basket at home.
DO NOT Squish Fluffy.
Step 2: To start the rep
You will be raising the dumbbells out to your sides, to shoulder height only.
To best engage the lateral head of the deltoids we will point the dumbbells slightly inward. The lateral head is the most outer part of the shoulder muscles.
TIP: I have heard this described as feeling like you are pouring a jug of milk as you raise your arms.
Maintain your posture, and keep your head in a neutral position as you prepare to complete the set. Where a neutral position means keeping your head looking erectly to the front.
Step 3: Completing the rep
Leading with the rear of the dumbbells, at the top of the rep, the dumbbells will be slightly angled towards the floor.
Remember… pouring milk.
Maintain a steady tempo and avoid swinging or bouncing, to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.
Once you have completed the set you should rest for the duration outlined in your program.
If you need to find your next training program I suggest you check out our unique subscription training journals.
DISCLAIMER: No Animals were harmed in the making of this blog post
Let me know if you have any questions!