How to do Lateral Raises

Craft defined shoulders and bring strength to your upper body when you learn how to do lateral raises.

If you’re looking to develop that gorgeous hourglass figure, then call off the search – lateral raises are here to help.

They’ll develop muscle and strength in your shoulders, which is essential for powering up those big lifts and even reducing the risk of injury.

Check it out.

How to do lateral raises

1. Stand or sit with your back in a strong neutral position and a dumbbell in each hand

2. Maintaining a straight back and braced core, break slightly at the elbow and raise both arms out to the side until they’re parallel to the floor

3. Slowly lower your arms until they are by your sides again

Tip: Try not to shrug the weights up or break at the waist at all. This will take the pressure off your shoulders. Drop the weight a little and try again.

Tip #2: Move slowly on the way back down to get that eccentric burn. This will help to grow strength and muscle faster.

Tip #3: Lead with your elbows as you lift. We’re not talking bending your arms completely, just break at the elbow and ensure they’re always the highest point. This will protect the very delicate rotator cuff and reduce your chance of injury, whilst strengthening your shoulders.

[Related Article: How to do Front Raises

What muscles does the lateral raise work?

Lateral raises work your shoulders, or in muscle terms, the three heads of your deltoids: anterior, medial and posterior.

The anterior deltoid runs along the front of your shoulder, the medial along the side and the posterior on the back.

Working these muscles will not only bring shape and definition to your upper body, it will also help to reduce the chance of injury. Many athletes and weightlifters are affected by a weak rotator cuff, which is extremely delicate, yet essential to stabilising bigger lifts like your bench and military press.

By working your delts, you should feel stronger and more stable whenever you perform upper body lifts.


gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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