Lateral Deltoid is responsible for shoulder abduction, meaning laterally moving your arm up.
Cable Lateral Raises
This is a common exercise seen at the gym. Usually, the pulley is set at the very bottom position. Then when the raise is initiated, the shoulder can be seen moving up slightly. This is because the direction of resistance is going to favor the trapezius. Setting up the pulley at wrist height instead should reduce the trapezius engagement while favoring the lateral deltoid.
- Adjust the pulley to wrist height
- Standing to the side of the pulley, grasp the D handle attachment with the hand away from the pulley
- Without raising the shoulder and keeping the arm extended, raise the arm until parallel with the ground
- Lower to starting position
Lying Lateral Raises
Perhaps even more common exercise is standing lateral raise. While it’s a decent exercise, the resistance curve does not match the strength curve of the muscle. It’s very easy at the bottom and only gets harder the closer the arm is parallel. However, the lateral deltoid is stronger when it’s lengthened (at the bottom of the movement) and weaker when it’s shortened (at the top of the movement). By lying on the floor or an incline bench, we can increase the resistance at the bottom and reduce it at the top.
- Lie down on your side on the ground or an incline bench
- Grip the dumbbell with the arm on top
- Raise your arm until close to perpendicular with the ground
- Lower the arm to starting position