How to do lateral raises

Lateral raises are up there with some of the best shoulder workouts that you can do to build up your deltoids and improve your shoulder mobility. They’re pretty simple and mainly involve raising weights to shoulder height at the side of your body, before lowering and beginning again. But, they’ll only work if you do them with good form.

Even though they’re simple in setup, lateral raises can be incredibly tough. We spoke with Peter Williams, PT and Gym Manager at PureGym Cardiff, to find out everything you need to know about how to do the lateral raises with perfect form. Peter has shared with us his top tips on how to do lateral raises, the benefits and variations that come with the exercise, and some common form mistakes you should seek to avoid.

If building your shoulders is your goal, however, it’s important to note you won’t do it with lateral raises alone. The lat delts are one of three deltoid muscles, and this is just one group of muscles that make up the shoulder and upper back. Make sure you’re training all the muscles to build a strong and balanced upper body — combining compound exercises like bench press, overhead press, and lat pulldowns with isolation exercises like lateral raises, rear delt flyes, and chest flyes will ensure you build total upper body strength and size.

an illustration of a woman doing a lateral raise

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

How to do lateral raises

a photo of a man doing a lateral raise

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, palms facing toward your body, with a soft bend in your elbows. Brace your abs and, keeping your torso still, raise the dumbbells out to your 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?

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