- Shoulder: Medial deltoid muscle
(Musculus deltoideus, Pars acromialis)
Lateral Raise: Basics and alternatives
Involved main muscle groups:
The lateral raise is an awesome exercise that targets the middle part of your shoulders. To do this exercise, you’ll hold a dumbbell in each hand and raise them to the side, up to shoulder height, as the name suggests. The lateral raise is a super effective isolation exercise that not only focuses on the side deltoids but also works the front and back parts of your shoulders.
For a comprehensive shoulder workout, give the dumbbell shoulder press a try, which works all three parts of your shoulder muscle. However, be mindful that this exercise can be hard on your joints, so if you’re dealing with shoulder pain, it’s a good idea to start with front raises, lateral raises, and reverse flys before attempting the shoulder press.
When performing the lateral raise, keep a slight bend in your elbows and ensure your palms are facing up. This way, the workload on your shoulder muscles is evenly distributed. If you turn your palms forward, the load will shift forward slightly.
Although it’s tempting to use heavy weights to build your shoulders, it’s best to resist this temptation. The lateral raise requires a lot of strength due to the lever, so even low weights (especially at first) will offer a good training stimulus. Using heavy weights can lead to an incomplete movement at the end because the lifting effect is too strong. So, start with lighter weights and gradually increase them.
Grab dumbbells in both hands.
Stand in front of a mirror, with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Bend your elbows slightly, with your palms facing away from your body and outward. This is the starting position.
Slowly lift the dumbbells up, keeping your arms parallel to the ground and maintaining the slight bend in your elbows. Avoid rotating your arms during the lift.
Hold the position for a brief moment, and then lower your arms back to the starting position, slowly and under control.
When doing the lateral raise, it’s crucial to avoid swinging the weight. If you can’t lift the weight smoothly and with control, lower the weight. Swinging reduces the training stimulus and puts extra stress on your shoulder joints.
Also, maintain a slight bend in your elbows and keep your palms facing up. Avoid rotating your arms during the exercise.