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Grab Your Dumbbells & Get Those Deltoids Burning With Lateral Raises

Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
lateral raise

If you're looking for a quick move to work your arms—and especially your shoulders—you won't want to miss out on lateral raises. While it may look simple, few moves will work your deltoids quite like this one.

Here's how to do lateral raises properly, as demonstrated by personal trainer and holistic nutritionist BB Arrington, CPT—plus tips, modifications, and the benefits of this move.

How to do lateral raises:

lateral raise

Image by mbg creative

  1. Grab a set of weights (lighter is ideal for this move). Come to a standing position with your palms facing in and your feet underneath your shoulders. Soften your knees. Roll your shoulders down. 
  2. Lift your arms up to form a letter "V" in front of you. Lower down for 3 counts. 
  3. That's one rep. Complete 10. 
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Tips & modifications:

  • Avoid locking your elbows to ensure you're engaging the proper muscles rather than straining your joints.
  • If you're doing lateral raises for the first time, keep the weight light to prevent injuries. You can always increase the weight slightly as your build strength to give your muscles more of a challenge.
  • To make lateral raises more challenging without adjusting the weight, slow it down. Try raising the dumbbells for 2 to 3 seconds, holding at the top for a few seconds, and lowering for up to 6 seconds.
  • If you find one side of your body is typically stronger than the other, try one-sided lateral raises, to ensure both sides are getting a challenge.
  • Mind your form by keeping the core and back stable. That means engaging your core and keeping shoulder blades down and back. When you do the move properly, your upper body shouldn't rock back and forth.

What are the benefits?

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First and foremost, this is a move that targets the shoulders, particularly the deltoid muscles. Your deltoids are the triangular-shaped muscles around the shoulder and are made up of three sections: the anterior deltoid, the lateral deltoid, and the posterior deltoid.

Along with getting your delts fired up, the strength this move builds also helps with increased shoulder mobility. And when you do lateral raises properly (aka keep the core stable and engaged), you're also working your abdominal muscles.

So the next time arm day rolls around and you're looking to work those shoulders, grab your dumbbells and give lateral raises a try.

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