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Lateral Raise

May 16, 2023 | Joel Runyon

The Lateral Raise is a standing shoulder exercise that predominately emphasizes the lateral deltoid muscle. It is an excellent movement for crafting larger, rounder shoulders. You will find that lighter weights are all that are needed to keep this movement challenging.

How to do a Lateral Raise

Start with selecting two dumbbells of equal weight and bring them to your sides with your palms facing in towards your hips. You should be standing upright with your posture straight and firm. Keep your knees relaxed.

Now bend your elbows slight forward so that they are at an angle and bring the weights forward so that they are almost touching and in front of your groin. Tighten your core and simultaneously raise both weights upward and in an outward arc using your shoulder muscles. Bring your arms up until the dumbbells reach a level plane with your shoulders.

Do not raise them higher than this or you can cause damage to your rotator cuff. Pause at the top of the movement, and in a controlled manner, lower the weights back down until they arrive again out in front of your groin.

Tips for the Lateral Raise

Common mistakes made with this movement are using to heavy of a weight. If you find that your arms are swinging or jerking, or your torso is bending forward to try and bring the weight up, your dumbbells are too heavy.

To avoid potential injury, keep your movements slow and controlled for an average of 10 reps per set. And again, refrain from lifting your arms higher than your shoulders.

Lateral Raise Video Demonstration

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Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® and MoveWell. In addition to free fitness resources on Impossible Fitness - you can buy performance apparel and supplements on