Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Exercise / Shoulders

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The dumbbell lateral raise is an exercise that primarily targets the lateral deltoids, the muscles on the sides of the shoulders. It is an effective isolation exercise for developing shoulder strength, stability, and aesthetics.

Balanced shoulder development can help create a proportionate and visually appealing physique. To achieve a well-rounded upper body workout, it’s recommended to combine the dumbbell lateral raise with exercises that target other shoulder muscles, such as the front deltoids (e.g., front raises) and rear deltoids (e.g., bent-over lateral raises).

How to do:

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides with your palms facing your body.
  2. Engage your core muscles and maintain a slight bend in your elbows throughout the exercise.
  3. Keeping your back straight and your shoulders relaxed, exhale and lift both arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows as you raise your arms.
  4. Focus on using your shoulder muscles to perform the movement, rather than relying on momentum or swinging your body.
  5. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, feeling the contraction in your shoulder muscles.
  6. Inhale and slowly lower your arms back down to the starting position, controlling the descent.
  7. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Start with lighter dumbbells and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable and stronger.
  • Keep your wrists in a neutral position throughout the exercise.
  • Avoid shrugging your shoulders toward your ears. Keep your shoulders down and focus on using the deltoids to lift the weights.
  • Control the movement both on the way up and down to engage the muscles fully.
  • Maintain proper posture by keeping your chest up and your shoulders down.
  • Avoid using excessive swinging or momentum to lift the weights. Focus on a controlled and deliberate motion.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise Benefits

Shoulder Muscle Development: The primary benefit of dumbbell lateral raises is the targeted development of the lateral deltoids, which are the muscles on the sides of your shoulders. By regularly performing this exercise, you can increase the size, strength, and definition of these muscles, contributing to a more sculpted and well-rounded shoulder appearance.

Shoulder Stability: Dumbbell lateral raises engage the muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint, including the rotator cuff muscles. Strengthening these muscles can improve shoulder stability, reduce the risk of injuries, and enhance overall shoulder function.

Improved Shoulder Function: The lateral raise motion mimics movements involved in various daily activities and sports, such as lifting objects to the sides, reaching for objects, or throwing. By strengthening the muscles involved in lateral raises, you can improve your shoulder’s functional capacity and performance in these activities.

Postural Benefits: Strong lateral deltoids help support good posture by assisting in keeping the shoulders in a neutral position. Strengthening these muscles can help counteract the effects of rounded shoulders and promote better posture alignment.

Upper Body Symmetry: Developing well-defined lateral deltoids through dumbbell lateral raises can contribute to overall upper body symmetry and aesthetics. Balanced shoulder development enhances the overall appearance of your physique and creates a visually pleasing proportion between the upper body muscles.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise – Muscles Worked

Target - Lateral Deltoid
Synergists - Supraspinatus
Synergists - Serratus Anterior
Synergists - Anterior Deltoid
Synergists - Trapezius
Rear Lateral Dumbbell Raise musle