Muscles Targeted: The standing dumbbell side lateral raise exercise targets the middle part of the deltoids. The deltoid is the muscle of the shoulders that is made up of 3 heads, which consists of the lateral (middle), anterior (front) and posterior (rear) deltoid. The deltoids provide strength and stability for the majority of upper body exercises. The deltoids also provide an aesthetically pleasing look for people who are searching for a way to create a thinner looking waist since the larger and broader your shoulders become, the more of a “V-Taper” look your upper body will reveal which will make your waistline appear smaller than it really is. One of the most appealing body parts for men is to have big, wide shoulders and a small tapered waist.
Exercise Advice: Grab two dumbbells and hold them down by your sides or in front of your thighs, whichever is more comfortable for you. Take a shoulder width stance with your knees slightly bent. Slowly raise both dumbbells up at the same time to about eye level. As you raise the weight, focus on keeping your wrists firm and pause slightly at the top before lowering the weight back down to the starting position. It’s okay to allow for a very slight bend in your elbows during the movement.
Things To Avoid: Avoid any jerky or fast movements when doing standing dumbbell side lateral raises. The key is to keep your tempo slow and controlled throughout the entire range of the movement. This exercise is considered more of a shaping movement for the deltoids and not a mass builder like the barbell press, so avoid using super heavy weight and focus on using lighter dumbbells. You should never swing the weight up since this is simply cheating and can cause injuries. Avoid hunching your shoulders when raising and lowering the weight. You should not raise the dumbbells above your head since this will take the emphasis off of the deltoids and place more tension on the rotator cuff and the trapezius muscle which is something you want to avoid. Do this exercise in front of a mirror to make sure your posture is correct when performing this movement.
Reps and Sets: Since this is not a mass building movement, your repetitions will be in the higher range of between 12-15 reps. Choose a light pair of dumbbells and make sure you’re performing the movement correctly before increasing the weight. A mirror comes in handy for watching your form. Sets will be in the range of 2-4 sets depending on your fitness level. Make sure to combine the standing dumbbell side lateral raises with a few other shoulder exercises in order to target other heads of the deltoids which will provide symmetry and overall development to your shoulders.
Other Exercises To Use: Since this exercise works the lateral deltoid (medial or middle head), you want to add a front deltoid exercise and also include a rear deltoid exercise to hit the entire area of the shoulders and deltoid muscles. These exercises include the bent over cable raises and front deltoid plate raises.