Dumbbell Lateral Raise Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Dumbbell
  • Isolation
  • Pull
  • Beginner
  • None
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Shoulders Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. The dumbbell lateral raise is a good exercise for building width in your upper body which gives you the "V" shape. Grab a set of dumbbells and stand straight up with the dumbbells at your sides.
  2. Your palms should be facing your body. You should be holding the dumbbells slightly off your body, as this keeps the tension on the side delts. This is your starting position for the exercise.
  3. To execute, slowly raise the dumbbells up to around shoulder height. It's important that you do not let your wrists go above your elbows while raising the weight, as this will take the work off the side delts and put it on the front delts.
  4. Pause at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  5. Do not let the dumbbells touch your body, and then raise them for the next rep.

​Lateral Raise Tips:

  1. The dumbbell lateral raise is one of those exercises that so many people do incorrectly. First, this is an isolation exercise, so you should be focusing on stretch and muscle contraction, not using heavy weights.
  2. Second, you MUST keep your rep timing slow and controlled. So many people use momentum to swing heavy weights up, and this is not going to get you the best results from the dumbbell lateral raise.
  3. Third, it very important that your elbows stay above your wrists. If your wrists come up too far, the focus comes off your side delts and onto your front delts. A good trick to ensure this does not happen is to tilt the dumbbells down as if you were pouring a jug of water as you raise them up. This makes it very hard to raise the wrists higher than the elbows.
  4. And finally, keep the side delts under stress for the whole set by not allowing the dumbbells to touch your body or "hang" at the bottom of the movement.

32 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 03/17/2015 - 21:30

Why did they remove the drawing of a very muscled toon with indications what muscles are being worked on? Could we please have them back? It is very helpful for novices like me to identify what side delts are and how are they placed on the body. Thank you.

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Posted Sat, 04/23/2016 - 14:50

The muscle portrait is missing from the mobile view. In Firefox you can "request desktop site" from the menu to see it. Hope this helps.

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Posted Sun, 01/25/2015 - 21:41

According to the description he's doing exercise the wrong

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Posted Mon, 09/29/2014 - 10:17

nowhere is the importance of breathing mentioned
when should we breathe in and when should be breathed out

breathing control is the base of weight lifting
but there is silence on this main point

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Posted Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:52

Doing it the way this guy is doing it you will get an impingement. Never go above the shoulders.

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Posted Wed, 05/21/2014 - 08:40

You can do low weights in isolation as much as you want, even with the calves also, but it wont do anything except tone. Do yourself a favour and see what Arnie says about all this. He used to do this for years without any gains until he WENT HEAVY. The only way you can do this is already have concrete lower back and a super strong core. In other words your wasting your time doing sideways raises UNLESS you have been hitting the gym 4/5 times a week for 2 to 3 years. Then your body will be ready to add mass to the shoulders and get that V shape. If your new to the gym or returning and hitting side ways raises, or for that matter, any isolation excersies, your wasting your time. Stick to bench press, military press, pull ups, dead lifts and squats to build your mass. Later much later do this. Else yeah you may look pretty, but on low weights your doing nothing, only potentially gaining an injury as your core is so weak.........

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Posted Thu, 04/03/2014 - 11:04

This paragraph is in fact a fastidious one it assists new web users, who are wishing for blogging.

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Posted Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:55

Have been trying this excersise for 5 months. Left shoulder continues to pop 2-3 times every rep regardless of weight. Really want to do this excersise or something equivalent but feel the shoulder should not be aggregated like this. Possibly aggregating a childhood injury like a broken colarbone or something to do with 2 neck surgeries 10 yrs ago. Any alternatives?

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Posted Tue, 11/12/2013 - 15:36

a lateral machine can just as well give you the same results as dumbbells can right?

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Posted Mon, 07/01/2013 - 07:51

i`m 15 years old so is it alright if i do follow this exercise?

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:19

Can women do this excercise also?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:00


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Posted Fri, 04/12/2013 - 00:03

Even I feel the wrist is going above the elbow! i am only saying that because I towards the end of my set starts yo cave in!

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Posted Thu, 04/11/2013 - 10:59

For such a simple looking workout there are many ways you can do it wrong. My elbows seem to have this sharp pain when I do this exercise. Does anybody know exactly what I'm doing wrong?

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Posted Tue, 07/09/2013 - 14:24

Shoulder excercises are hard to do, but this one is my favourite...try bending ur elbows slightly, thats how i do it anyway.

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Posted Sun, 03/24/2013 - 07:13

Am I the only one who finds it almost impossible to add weights to this? I've been doing this exercise for a good 2 months and I'm still using 15s. I always try 20s but I can barely do 3 and I lose my form.

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Posted Fri, 02/15/2013 - 17:39

Is there an alternative to this? The smallest plates I have are 3 pounds, and I can not lift a dumbbell with one on each side for 10 reps. Please help!

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Posted Sun, 03/17/2013 - 17:45

man up bro..

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Posted Sat, 12/29/2012 - 08:27

Why can I feel this in my traps?

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Posted Sat, 12/08/2012 - 12:09

I always feel so weak when I do this one cause I usually use pretty small dumbells, but I guess that's isolation for ya.

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Posted Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:35

i am doing dough's 5 day workout and i like know what pounds to use for the side lateral raises my current weight is 174 and height is 5'6"

Joey's picture
Posted Fri, 12/07/2012 - 12:16

You'll use a weight where you struggle to complete the recommended reps. Once your'e able to complete all the prescribed reps, you'll move up in weight.

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Posted Wed, 11/28/2012 - 18:36

So, I don't have the machine at my gym to do the leg exercises- are there substitutions? I have a calf and thigh machine(not sure if that's waht it's called), but nothing to do the leg curls... Any ideas?

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Posted Thu, 11/01/2012 - 16:46

Is it me or are his wrists above his elbows in the video.

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Posted Tue, 12/04/2012 - 15:56
Steve P

When he says to keep the wrist below the elbow he means to not allow the elbow to bend too much. If you try using too heavy a weight you will notice that your elbow will start to cave in as it compensates for the heavy weight. The result is a bent elbow where your wrist continues the motion but the elbow dips below it. In the video he is extending the exercise to a point where the wrist passes the elbow to increase the range motion, but notice how his elbow does not dip down even at the top of the motion.

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Posted Thu, 10/18/2012 - 04:14

Thats called dombom jc adam pablo raise

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Posted Sun, 05/19/2013 - 09:36

It's called kombo dombom jc adam pablo raise

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Posted Sat, 06/15/2013 - 11:18

It's called the rombokombo bombo dombom jc adam pablo raise

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Posted Sun, 08/12/2012 - 11:00

thats called Adam Pablo Raise.

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Posted Wed, 10/03/2012 - 16:01

Thats called jc Adam Pablo Raise

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Posted Fri, 05/25/2012 - 19:08
Petey Pablo

What is the exercise called when doing lateral raises just like these BUT at the same time flexing your traps forward and focusing on putting the weight on the traps instead?

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Posted Wed, 07/18/2012 - 03:29

Thats called the Pablo Trap Raise.