In this category you will find detailed descriptions of all major exercises that focus on your lateral (side) deltoid muscles.
There really are only two main side deltoid exercises (movements) you’ll need to include in your routine: (1) lateral raises, and (2) upright rows.
Everything else (as you can see from the exercises in this category) are just variations created by using different types of equipment (barbell, dumbbells, cables, machines).
Although dumbbells are classic exercise equipment, they are unfortunately not the best choice for lateral raises. We strongly recommend using machines over dumbbells to perform lateral raises. Therefore, machine lateral raise should be your new exercise of the first choice if you goal is to increase the size of your lateral deltoid heads (those on the sides of you).
Your next best choice for lateral raises involves using a low cable pulley. The ideal scenario is to have a pulley where you can adjust the height. In this case, put the pulley a little above your knee so that the resistance provided by the cable comes well within the shoulder’s pulling axis. When the pulley is close to the ground, the resistance does not come from the side, which reduces the work of the deltoid.
Finally, we recommend skipping upright rows. They can easily cause severe shoulder impingement and wrist pain (or stiffness) in many people. Machine and cable lateral raises will be more than enough to stimulate muscle growth in this section (head) of the deltoid muscle.
Keep in mind that lateral deltoids are also heavily involved in pressing shoulder exercises (such as dumbbell or barbell shoulder presses) especially if you perform them with the elbows out to the side.