The deltoid is a 3 headed muscle group comprised of the anterior, posterior and lateral deltoid. Naturally, developing all of the deltoid heads is necessary for a balance and complete look, but for explanation sake – the lateral deltoid is the one which gives you shoulder width, and more shoulder width we all want.
And that is precisely what the focus of this article is on, developing the lateral deltoid using an exercise which is, quite possibly, the most targeted and greatest of all exercise for developing raw shoulder width – the lateral raise.
The lateral raise is an exercise which involves the use of two dumbbells which are lifted simultaneously, to target the lateral deltoid muscle. It can be performed either standing or seated, and I’ll explain both:
Standing Lateral Raise
In a standing position, slightly bent at the knees for stability, with a slight forward bend at the waist, hold two dumbbells together in front of the thighs with elbows slightly bent and with palms facing inward.
Now, raise the dumbbells out and upwards to the sides – keeping the elbows bent slightly bent throughout – until the dumbbells are in a position slightly above the shoulder, and lower slowly. Throughout this motion you should also twist your wrists slightly so the rear end of the dumbbells ends up slightly higher than the front end, and when lowering, do so slowly and deliberately through the same path you lifted.
A slight rocking may be ok, but don’t swing the weights up with an almighty effort… you should use dumbbells that allow you to keep good form.
Seated Lateral Raise
Execution of the seated lateral raise is almost identical to the standing variation. There are only two fundamental differences, and that is when seated, the dumbbells are lifted from and lowered to a position at the side of the thighs rather than in front (they can’t be lifted in front, naturally, because you are sat down). And the second difference is, it makes it more difficult to cheat by rocking excessively.