How to do lateral raises correctly?(Complete way)

Are you tired of spending countless hours at the gym, only to see minimal results from your shoulder workouts? If so, it’s time to take a closer look at your form when performing lateral raises. This often overlooked exercise is essential for building strong, defined shoulders, but many people struggle to do it correctly. In this article, we will guide you through the complete way to perform lateral raises with proper form and technique. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to achieving those sculpted shoulders you’ve always dreamed of in no time!

Why lateral raises are important for shoulder development

Lateral raises may seem like a simple exercise, but they are vital for developing strong and well-rounded shoulders. While many people focus on exercises like shoulder presses and push-ups to build their deltoids, lateral raises specifically target the side delts, which help create that desirable broad-shoulder look. By neglecting lateral raises, you miss out on an opportunity to fully develop your shoulder muscles.

Another reason why lateral raises are important is that they help improve shoulder stability. The side delts play a significant role in stabilizing the shoulder joint during various movements, such as lifting heavy objects or performing overhead activities. Neglecting these smaller muscles can lead to imbalances and increase the risk of injury in other exercises or daily activities. So by incorporating lateral raises into your workout routine, you not only enhance the aesthetic appearance of your shoulders but also ensure their long-term health and functionality.

In addition to targeting specific muscle groups and promoting stability, lateral raises also contribute to overall upper body strength. As a compound exercise that engages multiple muscles simultaneously – including the traps, rhomboids, and even core – lateral raises strengthen both prime movers and assisting muscles. This improved strength can translate into better performance in other upper body exercises such as bench presses or pull-ups, helping you reach new personal records while minimizing any potential weaknesses within your shoulder girdle.

In conclusion, don’t underestimate the power of lateral raises for developing well-rounded shoulders.

Step 1: Correct starting position and grip

Step 1: Correct Starting Position and Grip

When it comes to performing lateral raises effectively, getting the correct starting position and grip is crucial. Many people often overlook these aspects, but they play a significant role in targeting the right muscles and ensuring that you get the most out of this exercise.

To start with, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and firmly planted on the ground. This stable base will help you maintain proper balance throughout the movement. Next, grip the dumbbells with a neutral grip, meaning your palms should face each other. Avoid gripping the weights too tightly as it can lead to unnecessary tension in your forearms.

Additionally, pay attention to your posture during this exercise. Stand tall with your chest up and shoulders back; this will help activate your core muscles for stability and prevent any unnecessary strain on your lower back. By maintaining an upright posture, you allow for optimal muscle engagement during each repetition.

Overall, taking the time to establish a correct starting position and grip may seem insignificant at first glance, but it can significantly impact the effectiveness of lateral raises. So remember to set yourself up properly before diving into this fantastic shoulder exercise!

Step 2: Engaging the shoulder muscles properly

Engaging the shoulder muscles properly is essential for performing lateral raises correctly. When performing this exercise, it is common for individuals to rely on momentum or use improper form, which can lead to ineffective workouts and even injury. To engage the shoulder muscles properly during lateral raises, focus on a slow and controlled movement. It’s important to lift with your shoulders rather than using other muscle groups such as the back or hips to generate momentum.

Additionally, maintaining proper posture throughout the exercise is crucial for engaging the shoulder muscles effectively. Keep your chest lifted and avoid rounding your shoulders forward. By maintaining proper posture, you create a solid foundation from which you can engage the shoulder muscles more efficiently.

Another tip for engaging the shoulder muscles properly during lateral raises is to squeeze them at the top of each repetition. This intentional squeeze helps activate the targeted muscles even more and ensures that you are getting maximum benefit from each movement. Visualize squeezing your shoulders together as if you are trying to hold a pencil between them. By focusing on activating these specific muscles, you will feel a greater burn and see better results in your shoulder strength and toning journey.

Remember, proper technique and engagement of the target muscle group are key when it comes to getting results from any exercise, including lateral raises. Take time to master these steps before increasing weight or intensity; quality over quantity will always lead to better results in fitness training!

Step 3: Lift the weights to shoulder level

Lifting the weights to shoulder level is the critical step in a proper lateral raise exercise. It’s essential to maintain control and focus on form throughout this movement. Many people make the mistake of swinging their arms or using momentum to lift the weights, but that can lead to injury and detract from the effectiveness of the exercise.

When lifting the weights, imagine your shoulders as hooks and your arms as ropes. The tension should be focused on your lateral deltoids, not on your biceps or traps. Engage your core for stability and maintain a slight bend in your elbows throughout the movement. By doing so, you ensure that you are targeting and isolating the muscles effectively.

Remember, quality over quantity is key here. It’s better to use light weights with proper form than heavy weights with poor technique. Take it slow, feel each repetition, and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger over time. With consistency and patience, you will see significant progress in strengthening and sculpting those deltoids!

Step 4: Maintaining proper form throughout the movement

Maintaining proper form throughout the movement is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of lateral raises. Many people tend to rush through this exercise and sacrifice form in favor of lifting heavier weights. However, this can lead to injury and prevent you from fully engaging the targeted muscles.

To maintain proper form during lateral raises, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.As you lift the weights out to your sides, make sure to keep your arms straight but not locked at the elbows. Avoid swinging or jerking your body, as this takes away from the isolation of the shoulders.

Focus on controlling the movement and feel the tension in your shoulders as you raise and lower the weights. It’s important to perform lateral raises with a slow and controlled motion rather than rushing through them. By keeping proper form throughout each repetition, you will not only reduce the risk of injury but also ensure that you are effectively targeting your shoulder muscles for optimal results.

Step 5: Lowering the weights slowly and controlled

When it comes to lateral raises, most people focus on the lifting part of the exercise and neglect the lowering phase. However, lowering the weights slowly and in a controlled manner is just as important for maximizing results and preventing injury. By lowering the weights slowly, you engage your muscles in a negative contraction, which adds an extra level of strength and definition to your shoulders.

Additionally, performing slow and controlled reps allows you to maintain proper form throughout the movement. It helps prevent momentum from taking over and ensures that you are targeting the right muscles effectively. This can especially be helpful for beginners who are still developing their mind-muscle connection.

Finally, by slowing down during the lowering phase, you’re challenging your muscles for a longer duration. This extended time under tension can enhance muscular endurance and hypertrophy. So next time you perform lateral raises or any other exercise, remember to lower those weights with intentionality and control – your shoulders will thank you!

Top 5 Benefits of Lateral Raises

Lateral raises, a classic shoulder isolation exercise, offer a plethora of benefits that contribute to both functional fitness and aesthetic goals. Incorporating lateral raises into your workout routine can lead to remarkable results. Here are the top five benefits:

1. Sculpted Shoulder Muscles: Lateral raises primarily target the lateral deltoids, the muscles on the sides of your shoulders. Regularly performing this exercise helps develop and define these muscles, leading to a broader and more sculpted shoulder appearance.

2. Improved Shoulder Stability: Strong lateral deltoids play a crucial role in stabilizing the shoulder joint. By enhancing the strength of these muscles, you can reduce the risk of shoulder injuries and imbalances, improving overall joint stability.

3. Enhanced Upper Body Functionality: The lateral deltoids are essential for various upper body movements, including lifting objects overhead, pushing, and pulling. Strengthening these muscles through lateral raises can enhance your overall upper body functionality and performance in both everyday activities and sports.

4. Posture Enhancement: Weak lateral deltoids can contribute to poor posture, leading to rounded shoulders and a hunched back. Lateral raises help counteract these issues by promoting better shoulder alignment and encouraging an upright posture.

5. Well-Rounded Shoulder Development: While the anterior (front) deltoids often receive significant attention from compound pressing movements like bench presses, lateral raises ensure balanced development by targeting the lateral aspect of the shoulder. This balance is essential for both aesthetics and functional strength.

FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Can I use heavy weights for lateral raises?

Ans: Lateral raises are more effective when performed with moderate weights that allow you to maintain proper form and perform controlled movements. Using excessively heavy weights can lead to improper technique and strain on the shoulder joints.

Q2: How often should I do lateral raises?

Ans: It’s recommended to include lateral raises in your shoulder workout routine 2-3 times a week, with a day of rest between sessions. 

Q3: Are there variations of lateral raises?

Ans:Yes, there are several variations of lateral raises, including front raises, bent-over lateral raises, and cable lateral raises. These variations target different angles of the deltoid muscles for a more comprehensive shoulder workout.

Q4: Can lateral raises replace compound shoulder exercises?

Ans:Lateral raises are an isolation exercise and should complement compound shoulder movements like overhead presses and upright rows. Compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups, while lateral raises specifically target the lateral deltoids.

Q5: How can I prevent shoulder strain during lateral raises?

Ans: To prevent strain, maintain proper form by keeping a slight bend in your elbows, avoiding excessive swinging, and using controlled movements. Gradually increase the weight as your strength improves to avoid unnecessary strain on the shoulders.


In conclusion, performing lateral raises correctly can provide numerous benefits for your overall fitness and body strength. First and foremost, one of the main advantages is the development of stronger shoulders. Lateral raises specifically target the deltoid muscles, helping to sculpt defined shoulders and enhance upper body aesthetics.Additionally, correctly performing lateral raises can improve posture and stability. By engaging the muscles in your back and core during this exercise, you can strengthen those areas and reduce the risk of back pain or injuries. This improved stability will not only benefit your physical appearance but also enhance your performance in other exercises or daily activities that require a strong foundation.

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