Get Stronger Shoulders with the Seated Lateral Raise
The seated lateral raise targets the medial head of the deltoid muscle, or your side delts, and helps to stabilize the shoulder girdle during movements like the bench press and military press. It’s also an excellent isolation exercise if you have poor shoulder range of motion due to injury or surgery. Seated lateral raises can be performed with dumbbells or a cable machine, so which variation you use depends on what equipment you have available and how much weight you want to lift. Both versions are outlined below along with instructions on how to perform them safely and effectively.
Stand up and get into position
To perform a seated lateral raise, start by sitting at a bench or machine. Hold your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor and slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly bring your arms to shoulder height (or as high as you can go) and hold for one second before lowering back down to starting position. That’s one rep. If done correctly, you should feel it throughout your shoulders and upper back; avoid using momentum to hoist your weights up. To make sure you’re doing it right, try holding two soup cans instead of weights: The motion should be slow and controlled just like it is with real weights! Over time, aim to do three sets of 12 reps per session three times per week.
If you’re not lifting correctly, you won’t feel or see results. Always focus on doing your seated dumbbell lateral raises slowly and under control. Avoid letting your elbows sway back as you lift and lower—your arms should move in a straight line from side to side. Also, make sure you raise your arms above shoulder level to really target that upper-back muscle group. This exercise can be easily modified for higher difficulty by holding weights in both hands instead of just one. For an even greater challenge, try lifting one arm at a time, making sure to keep them both at shoulder height throughout each rep.
Drop Down and Repeat
The seated lateral raise is a popular move for strengthening and toning your shoulders. In fact, by adding size to your upper body, you’ll get stronger and have more power in all of your other lifts. The seated dumbbell lateral raise is easy to perform, so anyone can do it at home or in the gym—no fancy equipment required. It should be part of every fitness program, but if you want to start today, these tips will help you get there.
Make it Harder
When you’re at a gym, standing with free weights in hand, getting stronger shoulders is as easy as adding more weight to your lateral raise. But if you want to try doing them at home, it’s not quite that simple. If you don’t have access to heavier dumbbells (you can start out with 5 or 10 pound dumbbells), simply sitting down while you do your lateral raises will make them much harder than they are when done standing up. This isn’t just because of decreased stability—it’s also because in order to maintain proper form, your core and lower body have to work harder than usual when seated. So what are we talking about here?
Do Sets Throughout the Day
You can do your seated dumbbell lateral raises throughout your day to get stronger and build muscle. Do them at work, before you go to bed or even when you’re watching TV. This workout is great for building shoulders and upper back strength, which will help make all of your exercises more effective. If you do each set 10-15 times, three times a day, in seven days time you should see results!