Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise
The dumbbell side lateral raise and all of its variations are fantastic for building up the medial (side) of the deltoid.
If you want those round, cannonball style shoulders this is one exercise you cannot afford to neglect!
I recommend hitting the side lateral raise immediately after you’ve finished up the heavy pressing movements (e.g. barbell overhead press) during your shoulder workout.
Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise Form:
Grasping a pair of dumbbell stand straight with palms facing towards your body with a slight bend in your knees.
Maintaining your straight position proceed to raise the dumbbells to your sides with a slight bend in your elbows.
As you reach the top of the repetition tilt the dumbbells slightly as if you were pouring a glass of water.
Lower the dumbbells back down to your side.
Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise Variations
One Arm Side Lateral Raise
Hanging off of a smith machine or barbell with one arm, grasp a dumbbell in the opposite arm and lean into the arm grasping the dumbbell.
Perform strict form isolated lat raises with one arm before swapping sides.
Front/Side Raise Combo
Perform one repetition of the side lateral raise followed by one repetition of the dumbbell front raise, continue alternating for the desired number of repetitions.
Common Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise Mistakes
Not Hitting All Areas Of The Deltoid
Your shoulder is not just made up of one muscle, the shoulder is comprised of 3 ‘heads’, these are known as:
- The anterior deltoid (the front of your shoulder)
- The medial deltoid (the side of your shoulder)
- The posterior deltoid (the rear of your shoulder)
If you are not training all 3 heads you will not get round, full shoulders.
Shoulder training is based around 2 main movements, presses and raises, the traditional dumbbell and barbell presses are a great starting exercise for your shoulder routine as they are a compound exercise (and therefore hit all heads of the deltoid) we can then hone in on the anterior, medial and posterior heads individually through different variations of raises.
Bouncing The Weight
Your stance should be shoulder width and you should maintain a slight bend in your knee (I have seen quite a few people performing standing shoulder exercises with locked out knees, however for stability and reduced risk of injury a slightly bent knee is superior).
At the bottom of the repetition you pause for a split second before proceeding with the following rep – no bouncing.
Using Limited Range Of Motion
Partial reps can be used to push yourself beyond your point of failure at the end of your set, however strict, full range of motion must be practised first.
The dumbbells should be raised until they are at least parallel and lowered all the way back down to your sides.
Incorrect Scheduling Of Your Workout
I highly recommend having at least 1 day between your chest and shoulder workouts.
The flat barbell bench press, incline bench press and dips place a large amount of tension on the front deltoids (even though the chest is the primary muscle targeted during this exercise).
If you’re going straight from a heavy chest workout on Monday into a shoulder workout on Tuesday you won’t be getting the best bang for your buck out of your workout – your shoulders will be recovering and from my experience you won’t be able to lift anywhere near as heavy as if they were fresh.
Ongoing, excessive amounts of stress placed on the shoulders can result in a shoulder impingement which’ll have you out of performing the vast majority of upper body exercises for weeks if not months, not good.
If you’re strapped for time and can only train three times a week the push/pull/legs workout regime is an option which hits both chest and shoulders in the same (push) workout however if you’re able to train 5 days a week I recommend performing a split in the following order:
Alternatively, through a leg or rest day between your chest and shoulder workouts.
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- Dumbbell One Arm Side Lateral Raise
- Dumbbell Front Raise