The Standard Lateral Raises
And Their Variants
Videos And Instructions

Lateral Raises are one of the most popular shoulder exercises. They'll help you get nice-looking shoulders.

On this page, you’ll see many different ways of performing this exercise. You’ll need a pair of dumbbells or something you can use as weights.

The Standard Lateral Raises


  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells.
  2. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keep your arms by your side with your palms facing you. This is your starting position.
  4. Lift the dumbbells out to the sides until they reach shoulder level.
  5. Pause for a second.
  6. Slowly lower the dumbbells until you reach the starting position.
  7. Repeat the recommended number of times for your weight training program.

Things to watch out for

  • Keep your torso still while you're performing side raises.
  • Don't swing your body or use momentum. Do the exercise in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Don't lock your elbows. Keep a slight bend.
  • When your arms are at shoulder level, your thumbs should be lower than your little fingers. Imagine pouring water into a glass. That's how your hands should be positioned. Otherwise, you'll end up using your biceps rather than your shoulders.
  • Breathe in when you lift and breathe out when you come down.

It’s important not to use too heavy a weight. Signs that you might be using too much weight:

  • You can’t lift the weights without bending your elbows almost 90 degrees.
  • You can’t lift them without using momentum.

Slightly Different Ways Of Doing Shoulder Raises

  • You can also do side raises with alternating arms. Or ...
  • Do one arm first for the required repetitions and then do the other.

Once you can perform this exercise with no problem, try the following to make it a bit more challenging.

Performing Lateral Raises On One Leg

You can do the usual side raises standing on one leg. This makes extra stability work for your whole body. See the video below.

You can also try alternating raises standing on one leg.

You can even try using only one leg and one arm ... like this.

This variation gives you a very unbalanced load. Your core has to work hard to keep your balance. It’s a great way to strengthen your core muscles.

Try the various ways of doing this exercise. And have fun shaping those shoulders! :)

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