Dumbbell lateral raises or dumbbell side raises as they are also referred to are an isolation shoulder exercise for the side delts.
Increasing muscle mass and size in the side delts can really cap off your shoulder muscles and give them a more rounded and shaped look.
Let’s take a look at how to do dumbbell lateral raises correctly and with proper form:
As mentioned earlier, dumbbell lateral raises are an isolation movement for the side delts. Many people perform these incorrectly or simply raise the dumbbells up too high by using more of their trap muscles than side delt muscles.
There are also other great exercises that you should give a try such as the dumbbell flys for pumps & vascularity that we cover on one of our articles.
Perform the dumbbell lateral raise as follows:
- Grab a Pair of Dumbbells. Ideally use a weight with which you can perform around 8-12 repetitions for. Going too heavy on this exercise to start with can place additional stress on your joints and will cause you to jerk the weight up using momentum, taking away from the stress and work placed on the side delts.Dumbbell Placement. Dumbbells can be placed down by your sides, down by your thighs (slightly in front of you, overhand grip, palms facing body) or in front of you with dumbbells facing each other (sideways). I personally like to place them slightly in front of me with palms facing the body.
- Upright Position. Stand upright and try your best to remain as upright as you can throughout the lift. I personally use a very small lean or sway of the body when lowering the dumbbells back down as it feels more comfortable. However, ideally you should minimize body movement as much as possible. In my opinion a very slight sway of the body is ok but nothing more than that. Do not use momentum to push the dumbbells back up.
- Lift! Lift the dumbbells out to your side while maintaining a slight bend in the elbow. Do not try to lift the weight with arms completely straight. This is ok for extremely lightweight but once you start lifting more weight this will strain your joints and muscles and feel extremely uncomfortable.
- You only need to lift the dumbbells up to shoulder height or slightly below. Any higher activates the trap muscles. What you want to focus on is lifting the weight out to the side with emphasis on your little pinky finger turning the weight slightly so that the dumbbell forms a straightish line when in the top position and is not tilted. A slight rotation of the wrist may be used to do this.
- Lower Dumbbells. Lower the dumbbells in a controlled manner back down to the starting position. When returning the weight people will tend to lean forward in preparation to push out the next rep with as much momentum as possible. Ignore the urge to do this and only use a very small lean if any. Try and stay as upright as possible with very little swaying.
- Dumbbell Lateral Raises – Things To Bear In MindBent Elbows. Try and maintain that bend in the elbows and do not lift the weight with arms straight. This is uncomfortable and takes away the stress placed on the side delts and transfers it to the joints. If you want, try practicing the technique with no weights in your hands while maintaining bent elbows.
- Body Movement. Try and minimize body movement. Body movement generates momentum for the lift and takes a lot of the stress away from the targetted muscle. If you can’t lift the weight with proper form it’s too heavy. A slight bend or sway on the lowering phase of the movement is ok as long as it is not exaggerated.
- Raise To Shoulder Level Or Just Below. People tend to have a habit to lift the weight up as high as they can when lifting out to the side. No need to do this. We are not looking to work the trap muscles and make the lift harder by expending more effort. Lift the dumbbells to shoulder height or just below. You will feel it more in your side delts.
- Variations. A number of variations of the dumbbell lateral raise can also be used in your shoulder routine. Variations of the dumbbell lateral raise include using machines or cables, sitting down instead of standing or leaning on a bench and performing lat raises using one arm at a time.
Hope you learned how to do them properly, they will certainly help you gain muscle in your delts and getting the pumps you so desire!