How To Do Lateral Raises


how to do lateral raises

Lateral Raises are an upper body move that uses dumbbells to help strengthen your shoulder muscles as well as teaching your body to focus on your core strength and stability. Shoulder strength is an important part of a well-rounded fitness program.

Not only do strong shoulders look amazing, but they are extremely important for everyday life. Think of how many things you lift up or push overhead.

Shoulder strength is part of functional training for living. Learning how to do lateral raises will get you on the track for stronger, sculpted shoulders.

When you start off learning to do the lateral raises, you will want to go with the lightest weights possible. 5 or even 3-pound dumbbells might be enough when you are learning the move.

It is crucial that you learn how to do it properly. It is especially important to keep your shoulders down away from your ears and don’t scrunch up as you raise the weight.

This will help you avoid a pinched nerve or another injury to your shoulder. Relax your upper back, keep your shoulder blades pulled down, and raise the weight slowly.

Not only that, but lowering the weight slowly with a controlled feeling is going to give you more results and less injury than going fast. Stay slow and controlled at all times.

Don’t take for granted the benefits of strong shoulders. Shoulders can be easily forgotten, but it is very important.

Incorporate the lateral raise into your fitness routine or check out our workout 7 Moves to Sculpt Your Back and Shoulders.

Use the links below to quickly navigate this guide:

How To Do Lateral Raises

Here are the steps to performing Lateral Raise:

1) Begin in standing position, feet a few inches apart and arms alongside body holding dumbbells.

2) Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, lift your arms to the side until they are parallel to the floor, and return back to the starting position with control.

What Muscles Do Lateral Raises Work?

Lateral raise is a powerful move that strengthens and sculpts your shoulder muscles! For strong, shapely shoulders you should try lateral raise!

Benefits of Lateral Raise

There are many reasons you should incorporate lateral raise into your workouts. Here are just a few:

Strengthens Shoulders

Lateral raise is a great upper body move! This exercise will strengthen your shoulder muscle focusing especially on the medial deltoid, which is the part of the shoulder that can give it that beautiful shape!

Strengthens Core

Lateral raise focuses on your shoulders but for proper lifting technique you need to pull your abs in and tighten your overall core in order to stand tall and steady.

Improves Mental Focus

In order to perform a truly good lateral raise, you need to focus on pulling the core in, lifting the arms without raising the shoulders, and keep your body stable. There is a lot to think about for best performance and this helps you keep your mental focus sharp.

How Many Calories Does a Lateral Raise Burn?

People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working at a higher intensity. Bottom line – the harder you work, the more calories you burn. Lateral raise builds muscle in your body, which makes for a better metabolism and higher calorie burn all day long.

Lateral Raises Variations

If you like the lateral raise and the results you get from it, here are a few more exercises you might want to try:

Incorporating Lateral Raise Into Your Workouts

Lateral raise is a great exercise to practice any time on its own. However, you could also incorporate it into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

Use Lateral Raises in an Upper Body Challenge

Love it or hate it, arm day works! Working all your upper body muscles can make for one intense training session. Use this workout as your arm day challenge. You’ll sculpt and shape your upper body. Keep working at it consistently and you’ll see change in the shape of your upper body!

Arm Day Workout: Try each exercise below for the number of repetitions listed with just a few seconds in between to rest.

Repeat one more time

Use Lateral Raises in Your Full Body Strength Workout

Even though arm day is powerful, getting a full body workout in one fell swoop is also a great idea. Not only do you make the most of your time, but you get your heart rate up as well. Take one workout and get it all done at once. This next workout gets it all done and includes lateral raise as well as a bunch of other basic strength moves you’ll love.

Full Body Strength Workout: Warm up for about 2-3 minutes then, do between 10-15 of each of the following moves:

Use Lateral Raise in a HIIT Workout

You can easily incorporate lateral raise into a hiit workout that skyrockets the heart rate and targets the upper and lower body both! Check this out:

HIIT Workout: Do each of the following moves for 30 seconds with no rest between moves. After completing all 4 moves, take a 30-second break and repeat. Go through the sequence 4 times.


Repeat 3 times

Here are 3 more workouts you might enjoy that incorporate Lateral raise:

Targets: shoulders, back


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