lateral deltoid raise

What You Need To Know About The Lateral Deltoid Raise

Time for our Workout Of The Month. Each month we take a look at a different exercise and break it down by movement, how to do it, and discuss some of the positive versus negative impact that it can have to you and your level of fitness. Some workout’s of the month breakdown how to do a common exercise, others feature a specific exercise. This month we’ll be breaking down what a turkish getup is and how to do it.

Understanding The Lateral Deltoid Raise

Being so into health, nutrition, and fitness I naturally get a lot of questions from friends and family regarding their own health. I had a question from one of my workout buddies about the lateral deltoid raise. The question was in regards to the movement of the lateral deltoid raise, keeping the arms straight, or bending them?

First, let’s breakdown the deltoid:

The deltoid is a ball of muscles that sits on your shoulders. It’s divided up into three different sections:

The anterior deltoid: The front of your shoulder responsible for helping with pushing movements
The middle deltoid: The middle of your shoulder responsible for helping with lateral raising movements
The posterior deltoid: The back of your shoulder responsible for helping with pulling movements

deltoid muscles

How To Perform The Lateral Deltoid Raise

1. You should either stand or sit with your back straight and the weights hanging freely in each hand at your side.
2. Raise the arms to horizontal with the elbows only slightly bent; only bringing the weights to the level of your shoulders.
3. Lower the weight to the initial position.

Breaking Down The Lateral Deltoid Raise

The point of this exercise is to target the deltoid; specifically, this movement mainly targets the middle deltoid. The purpose of the three different sections of the deltoid is to support heavy weighted movements (pullups, bench presses etc.) through a range of motion with precision.

Tips For Performing The Lateral Deltoid Raise

lateral deltoid raise

1. The deltoids are relatively small muscles on the body so the exercise should be performed with lighter weight in sets of 8-25.
2. Many people try to lift the weights above the level of the shoulders. Don’t do this. It takes work away from the deltoids and puts the effort on the trapezious muscle on the upper back. Lift the weight bringing your elbows inline with your shoulders. If you’re looking to workout your trapezius muscle there are far better exercises to do (deadlifts, barbell rows, farmer walks etc.).
3. If the weight that you’re using is too heavy that you have to bend your elbows to more of a 90 degree angle, the weight your using is too heavy. Use lighter weight and only keep your arms slightly bent. Bringing your elbows to a 90 degree elbow takes the focus off the deltoids and moves it to your trapezius. Again, there are better exercises to do to target the trapezius.
4. Look to keep the arms at a 10-30 degree angle with and to really isolate the lateral deltoid, make sure when raising the weight, the elbows don’t fall below the level of the wrists.
5. To maintain the intensity of the lateral deltoid raise, hold the weight for a period of two to four seconds when the weights are level with your shoulders before lowering them back down.
6. Slow your momentum. This isn’t a power exercise.

Hopefully you can use these tips to help you out with your shoulders so you can do exercise the right way with the right form.


1. Delavier, F. “Strength Training Anatomy: Third Edition.” Paris: Human Kinetics. 2010. Print. 42-43.
2. N.a. “Dumbbell Lateral Raise.” Exercise Prescription. Web. 29 March 2015.

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