Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The lateral raise sculpts the sides of the shoulders.

  • Main muscles worked: Side of shoulders (medial deltoid)
  • Other muscles: Shoulders (anterior and posterior deltoid), Upper back (trapezius), Upper arm (biceps)
  • Exercise type: Isolation
  • Equipment: Dumbbells

The dumbbell lateral raise is an isolation exercise that works the side of the shoulder (medial deltoid). Targeting this area increases strength, sculpts the sides shoulders, and can build broader shoulders. The dumbbell lateral raise can also help improve mobility and stability of the shoulder joint.

For a more complete shoulder workout you can pair this exercise with the dumbbell front raise.

Keep your back straight and your head in a neutral position (avoid craning your neck forward or dropping your chin). Do not use weights that are too heavy, as this leads to poor form, using momentum, working the wrong muscles, and increases the risk of injury.

Variations: This exercise can be performed by lifting just one arm at a time. You can also make lateral raises easier by performing it without dumbbells, using just bodyweight.

To make lateral raises more challenging choose heavier weights or slow down the movement. You can also make lateral raises harder by turning it into a combo exercise, such as the front raise to lateral raise, which will sculpt the front and sides of the shoulders.

Sets & Reps: Dumbbell lateral raises tend to be performed for moderate to high repetitions, usually about 8-12 reps per set. This exercise is generally added to a shoulder workout or upper-body workout.


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