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Shoulders Workout (2) – Side Lateral Raise or Side Arm Raise

September 4th, 2008 · 3 Comments ·


Side Lateral Raise or Side Arm Raise is an isolation workout for shoulders. It targets the outer head of deltoid.


  • Stand upright, with your feet about shoulder width apart and arms to your sides. Hold a dumbbell in each hand beside your thighs, with your palms turned toward your body. For beginner, start with light weight.
  • Keep your back straight, your head and eyes forward.
  • Keeping your arms straight, as you inhale, lift the weights out and up to the sides until they are about the shoulder level or slightly higher. At this position, the arms and body should resemble the letter “T”.
  • Do not lock your elbow. Hold for a one-count if possible. Your palms should be facing the floor at this point.
  • Exhale and slowly lower them to your sides (resisting all the way down).
  • Do 3 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions each.


Tips of Doing Side Lateral Raise Correctly:

  • Do not lean forward.
  • If you find it too hard to do side lateral raise while standing, then sit at the edge of a bench. However, once you know how to do it properly, stand upright and do it. It is important to train your stabilizer muscles.
  • Make sure you lift the dumbbells on the way up rather than “swinging” them up. If you still swing, try sitting down to perform this exercise.
  • Do not raise the dumbbells too much higher than your shoulders. Over extension makes you more prone to a shoulder injury.
  • Choose a right weight which allows you yo complete all the sets.
  • This exercise can be performed using Side Lateral Raise Machine.



Modification for Variation:

  • Once you have mastered the skill, say after 6 months, you can try these few things to break from your plateau.
  • Lean forward slightly with flexed knees.


  • Start with the dumbbells in front of your thigh instead beside your thighs.
  • When you raise the weights, instead of the arms at your sides, make it at the position of 10 o’clock (for left hand) and 2 o’clock (for right hand).
  • fit-lady-doing-side-lateral-raise.jpg

  • While holding the dumbbell, some people prefer to raise the pinkie slightly higher than the thumb to focus the load on a specific muscle. But for me, whether the pinkie is higher or not, that is fine. Try it out yourself for the difference.




Category: Shoulders

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3 responses so far ↓
  • Tom Parker // Sep 5, 2008 at 5:17 AM

    Nice comprehensive article Mun. I love throwing in the front, side and rear lateral raises to mix up my shoulder workout. They really help my shoulders get a little more definition.

  • dailymuscle // Sep 5, 2008 at 1:26 PM

    I once took a couple of months off from the usual routine of doing usual shoulder presses, and focused entirely on exercises that involved the posterior (back) and lateral (sides) of the shoulder muscles. 2 months later – my attempts at shoulder presses again were awesome. My shoulders were very much stronger.

    The point I’m trying to make is that most people tend to skip this exercise, or to only do this half-heartedly. And when we do that… imbalances/uneven development of the muscles can occur. I have observed many people either going too light, or performing it incorrectly. A very appropriate writeup Mun. Good job!

  • fred // Sep 10, 2008 at 4:29 AM

    I would disagree with the statement, that you should not lift the DB’s higher than your shoulder height… It depends on the weight you use and your technique – and you can exercise your shoulder in the whole range of motion;
    Besides that, nice article!

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