Lateral Dumbbell Raises

About Lateral Dumbbell Raises

Lateral dumbbell raises – when done correctly – are very effective in strengthening the middle or “lateral” portion of the deltoids. The shoulder joint is more susceptible to injury due to its increased mobility. Because of this heightened risk of injury, extra caution must be taken and exercises – lateral dumbbell raises included – should be completed using proper form. Unfortunately, when it comes to lateral dumbbell raises, an astonishing amount of people are doing it wrong. Although lateral dumbbell raises are fairly simplistic compared to some of the more involved compound (multi-joint) movements, people still seem to perform them incorrectly and use poor, often-times dangerous form.

Lateral Dumbbell Raises Video

Get A Free Workout Program
Detailed Workout Programs Designed By Certified Personal Trainers.
Get Them Now!

Lateral Dumbbell Raises – Do’s & Don’ts


1) Bend forward slightly at the hips prior to and throughout movement initiation. The lateral portion of the deltoid is located more to the back of the shoulder than the actual middle. Slight hip flexion will create a more effective line of pull for lateral deltoid recruitment.

2) Keep a slight bend in the elbow to minimize stress on the joint.

3) Stop raising arms once hands have reached shoulder level. Raising beyond this point will increase the risk of sustaining an injury to the supraspinatus as it becomes impinged between the clavicle.

4) Perform a “shoulder set” which involves raising the shoulders up, back and down, prior to movement initiation.


1) Allow too much of a bend at the elbow. The greater angle in which the elbow is bent, the easier the movement is to complete. You’re better off to simply lighten the weight and perform the exercise with only a slight bend.

2) Allow your arms to fully fall to the sides between repetitions. When this happens, it gives the deltoids a rest between reps. To maintain constant involvement of the deltoids, stop downward phase of the movement approximately 12 inches from the outer thighs.

3) Turn thumbs down at the top of the movement if you’re bent over at the hips. The purpose of turning the thumb down is to draw optimal recruitment from the lateral region of the deltoid. This is already accomplished by flexing forward, therefore, alternating hand position is unnecessary. If both methods are completed simultaneously, the risk of sustaining a shoulder injury is increased.

How To Do Lateral Dumbbell Raises

  1. With appropriately weighted dumbbells in each hand, perform a “shoulder set” by drawing the shoulders up, back and down.
  2. While maintaining a comfortable bend in the knees, bend over slightly at the hips while maintaining spinal alignment.
  3. Exhale an draw arms up and out to the sides. Elbows should be bent slightly and your hand should be in alignment with your shoulder at the top phase of the movement.
  4. Inhale and lower back down at a controlled speed. The downward phase should be halted once hands come within 12 inches of the outer thighs.
  5. Repeat until the desired number of repetitions are completed.


A similar movement can be performed using cables instead of dumbbells.

Be Sociable, Share!
exercises for abs
abdominal exercises

One Response to “Lateral Dumbbell Raises”

  1. […] raises make for a great additon to your routine. Front dumbbell raises are quite similar to the lateral raise, only instead of raising your arms laterally (to the sides), you raise them straight out to the […]