Build your delts and get enviable shoulders with these tips on how to do lateral raises.

Shoulder muscle training

Side Raises are right up there with some of the best shoulder exercises you can do to build your delts and improve shoulder mobility. They are pretty simple and mostly involve lifting weights to shoulder height on your side, before lowering and starting again. But, they will only work if you do them in good shape.

While simple in setup, lateral raises can be incredibly difficult. We caught up with Peter Williams, PT and Gym Manager at PureGym Cardiff (opens in new tab), to find out everything you need to know about how to do lateral raises with perfect form. Peter shared with us his top tips on how to do lateral raises, the benefits and variations that come with the exercise, and some common mistakes you should avoid.

If building your shoulders is your goal, however, it’s important to note that you won’t just be doing this with lateral raises. The lateral deltoids are one of the three deltoid muscles, and this is just a group of muscles that make up the shoulder and upper back. Make sure you’re training every muscle to build a strong, balanced upper body – combining compound exercises like bench press, bench press and side pull-ups with isolation exercises like side raises, rear delts and chest straps will ensure you build total. upper body strength and size.

an illustration of a woman doing a side raise

How to do side raises

a photo of a man doing a side raise

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, palms facing your body, with a gentle bend in your elbows. Contract your abs and, keeping your torso still, lift the dumbbells out to the sides until they are level with your shoulders and slightly in front of your chest. Hold here for a second before slowly lowering the dumbbells back to the start.

What are the benefits of lateral raises?

The lateral raise is an isolation exercise that works the lateral delts (shoulder side) and traps (upper back). The main benefits of lateral raises include building bigger and stronger shoulders and improving shoulder mobility and stability. This can mean stronger upper body lifts, wider shoulders, and less chance of injury.

What are the different variations to try?

Side raises are usually done with dumbbells (check out the best adjustable dumbbells for weightlifting at home here), but to make this exercise more challenging, you can switch to kettlebells or a cable machine.

With kettlebells, the center of mass is below the handle and your muscles have to work harder to adapt to how that changes throughout the movement, and the cables provide a constant source of tension throughout the lift, which is great for fatigue. and challenge the muscle. If you’re working out at home, you can also use resistance bands for this exercise – check out the best resistance bands on the market here.

You should only make progress once you get the form right and make sure you are recruiting the right muscles to conduct this exercise.

What are common form errors?

The biggest mistake people make with lateral raises is using momentum to lift the weight instead of recruiting the muscles in your shoulders and upper back. To really get the most out of lateral lifts, it’s important to focus on form – don’t rock your hips forward and use speed or momentum to lift the weights. Choose a weight that is challenging but allows you to move in a smooth, controlled motion and focus on building that mind-muscle connection.

Looking for more workout inspiration? Here are six resistance band exercises to build your arms without weights, the best abs exercises you can do for free, an exercise that is better than squats to build your glutes