Biomechanical Perfection: Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise

Biomechanical Perfection: Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise
Starting position (Photograph by Mike Neveux)
Biomechanical Perfection: Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise
Ending position (Photograph by Mike Neveux)

The Side Lateral Raise is an exercise that can really pack on the mass to the side deltoids. Growing large side delts will add width to a body's frame and create the well sought after “V” taper.  The biomechanics are simple, yet easily performed incorrectly. The most common mistake is allowing the front delt or trap muscles to carry the load of the dumbbells. Follow the steps below and make use of the sample side deltoid routine given to shock your side delts into muscularizing growth! As a guideline, keep the movement under control and if anytime it feels unsafe or painful please choose another exercise. 

Starting Position:

  • Start with two dumbbells you feel confident about performing  20 – 30 repetitions
  • Spine stays straight up and down
  • Looking forward, suck lower abdominals in and squeeze glutes to keep lower back safe
  • Hold dumbbells at center with arms slightly bent just in front of body
  • Wrists stay straight
  • Drive the shoulders towards to the ground
  • Slightly squeeze your chest and biceps  to stretch your side delts

Ending Position:

  • Spine stays straight up and down
  • Head looks forward with neck relaxed, lower abdominals are sucked in and glutes stay squeezed to keep lower back safe
  • Shoulders are pushing down towards the ground
  • Actively reach each arm away from the body in a straight line to keep tension on the side delt and away from the neck
  • Wrists are in a straight line with the elbow, shoulder joints and collar bone
  • Arms are parallel to the floor; creating a 90 degree angle with the side of the body

 Sample Side Delt Routine

Exercise: Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise

Week 1

                  Days: Monday, Wednesday

                  Workload: 6 sets of 12 – 15 repetitions

                  Rest: 2:00 minutes between sets

                  Technique: utilize a 3 second negative and a 1 second positive

Week 2

                  Days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday

                  Workload: 4 sets of 8 – 12 repetitions

                  2 holding sets of 30 seconds   *choose a weight you can challenge yourself trying to hold                   stable for 30 seconds in the ending position.

                  Rest: 1:00 minute between sets

                  Technique: utilize a 2 second negative and a 1 second positive

Week 3

                  Days: Tuesday, Friday

                  Workload: 8 sets of 6 – 8 repetitions

                  Rest: 3:00 minutes between sets

                  Technique: utilize a 1 second negative and a 1 second positive

Week 4

                  Days: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

                  Workload: 7 sets of 20 – 30 reps

                  Rest: 0:45 seconds between sets

                  Technique: utilize a 2 second negative and a 1 second positive

                  *on Friday perform an extra 4 holding sets of 30 seconds each

 Week 5 – 6

                  Rest Shoulders Completely!

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