The lateral raise is a free weight isolation exercise using dumbbells. It can also be performed using kettle bells or another type of individual weight.
The exerciser stands and lifts the dumbbells outwards and upwards in a lateral movement from beside their hips, until they are in line with the shoulders.
What muscles does the lateral raise use?
The lateral raise uses the middle part of the shoulder muscles (medial deltoid). There is also minor use of the upper back (trapezius) as a synergist muscle.
Benefits of the lateral raise
The lateral raise is an isolation exercise, great for finishing off a upper body workout and targeting the entire shoulder.
Performing lateral raises results in stronger shoulders, which helps you build a stable platform for all other upper body exercises and reduces your risk of injury.
Lateral raises can be used alongside the shoulder press for great overall shoulder development.
Performing the lateral raise
Stand upright with the dumbbells gripped neutrally and held down at your sides, resting by your outer thighs. Palms should be facing the body with dumbbells parallel with the floor.
Brace the abdominals and exhale as you lift the dumbbells away from your sides and upwards by raising your arms out. Raise to shoulder height and pause, keeping a slight bend in the elbow.
Once at the top of the lift, slowly return the weights back to your sides in a downward motion. The wrist and the elbow should be at the same height throughout the movement, with wrists neutral and straight, not bent.
Make sure the shoulder remains neutral throughout the motion and does not rotate inward or outward during the lift.
Lateral raise with resistance cable
Lateral raises can also be performed using a resistance cable.
For this exercise, hold the cable beneath your foot and hold the handles at your sides. Slowly lift the cables upwards and outwards from your body until your hands are parallel to the ground.
Hold for a second then move the handles back down until your hands are resting at your sides again. Repeat the motion to complete more reps.
Do you use lateral raises in your bodyweight workout? Do you prefer to use dumbbells or cables? Let us know your thoughts on training the shoulders through bodyweight exercise.