Lateral Raises – Build Your Shoulders

lateral raises


Lateral Raises

Lateral raises are a weightlifting exercise that targets the shoulder muscles. To do a lateral raise, hold a weight in each hand with your palms facing your thighs. Slowly lift your arms out to the sides until they are parallel with the floor. Pause for a second, then lower the weights back to the starting position.

Lateral raises can be done with either dumbbell or by using a pulley machine (similar to the one shown here). The advantage of doing this exercise with a pulley machine is that your body is kept stationary while you lift the weight, and there’s less chance of injury because you aren’t lifting as much weight. However, if you choose to do lateral raises with dumbbells, you’ll work more muscles and increase your strength and coordination.

Working out the lateral deltoids:

Lateral Raises

To get the most benefit from this exercise, focus on working each shoulder separately. It’s easy to inadvertently shift some of the load onto one side when both arms are doing the same thing. For example, when raising both arms at the same time, many people find that they can raise more weight on the hand that’s closest to the pulley. Thus, to work your left shoulder separately, raise your right arm while lowering your left arm.

Shoulder safety:

Lateral raises are generally safe exercises, although you should always use proper form and never jerk your body or swing the weights up to gain momentum. If you experience any pain or discomfort in your shoulders when doing this or any other exercise, stop immediately and consult a doctor before continuing with weight lifting. Also, make sure you breathe out when lifting the weight (inhale when returning to starting position).

Instructions & Tips:

The lateral raise is an isolation exercise for the deltoids. Although it can be done with a dumbbell, using a machine will allow you to lift less weight and isolate the muscle more effectively. If doing it on a machine, adjust the seat so that your arm is horizontal and slightly above shoulder level when extended.

To begin, grasp the handles and lean back slightly so that there is tension on the cables. Keep your abs tight as you slowly raise your arms out to your sides until they’re parallel with the floor. Pause for a second at this position before lowering them back down to complete one repetition. Breathe in as you perform this part of the movement.

As you get stronger, gradually increase weight but never sacrifice proper form; always control the movement up and down. Using your muscles to help you move the weight will not produce results. As with all isolation exercises, it’s best to alternate shoulders each workout. You can also vary your grip on the handle or use a dumbbell for this exercise.

Safety Tips & Precautions:

Always use proper form when performing any exercise and follow these safety tips: 

Never jerk body or swing weights up to gain momentum; always use control just as if lowering an object that is too heavy. Be sure to breathe out when lifting the weight (inhale when returning to starting position). There are no weight limits set for this exercise, but never try to lift more than your strength allows. Avoid dropping weights at the end of repetitions avoid jerking them upward or swinging them.

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