Incline Side-Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raise

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Incline Side-Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raise (Incline Side Laterals)

Incline side-lying dumbbell lateral raise is a good isolation (single-joint) exercise for the deltoid, especially for the middle section of the muscle. It will help you broaden your shoulders. Having a great lateral head will give the illusion of a super wide set of shoulders. Incline side laterals are perhaps difficult for beginners, but it is an interesting variation on conventional lateral raises. That is the reason why we have included this lateral (side) deltoid exercise into our database.

Exercise Instructions – Proper Technique

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Grasp a light dumbbell in your right hand and lie on your left side on an incline bench that is set to approximately 40-60 degrees. Hold the dumbbell next to your right side with your palm facing your thigh.

Incline Side-Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Incline Side-Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raise

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Without changing the bend in your elbow, raise your arm until it’s it’s in line with your shoulder as you rotate your palm outward. Lower the weight under control. Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions with right hand, then switch arms.

Additional Tips & Tricks

Some helpful hints (key elements to consider) on how to perform incline side-lying dumbbell lateral raises safely and effectively.

  • Your working elbow should be slightly bent during the lift.
  • Your working arm should be perpendicular to your body in the final position (at the end of the range of motion)
  • Also, your palm should be facing forward in the end of the movement.
  • Focus on moving in a slow and controlled fashion the entire time.

Muscles Engaged in Incline Side-Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raise

  • Main muscles: deltoid (lateral), supraspinatus
  • Secondary muscles: deltoid (front and rear), trapezius and serratus anterior, biceps (long head), subscapularis
  • Antagonists: latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major (lower), teres major and minor, biceps (short head)

Exercise Variation

You can perform lying side laterals either on the flat or on an incline exercise bench. Furthermore, you can try to perform lateral raises with your body in a declined position.

  • Decline one-arm dumbbell lateral raise. Standing, hold on to something that will provide firm support,
    leaning your body away at a decline. This position allows you to achieve a strong final contraction if you perform the movement strictly. It also involves the trapezius somewhat more at the end of the upward movement due to the angle you will achieve.
Decline one-arm dumbbell lateral raise

Decline one-arm dumbbell lateral raise

  • Side-lying one-arm dumbbell lateral raise. Lie on your side on the floor or on the flat exercise bench and lift the dumbbell from your thigh to a vertical position. This variant is the least common and it is recommended that it be used only occasionally to concentrate the workout on the side of the deltoid muscle.
Side-lying one-arm dumbbell lateral raise

Side-lying one-arm dumbbell lateral raise

Replacement Exercise

Try to do lateral raises using different types of equipment or you can replace this exercise with upright rows.

Closing Thoughts

The incline side-lying dumbbell lateral raises (incline side laterals) combine elements of the dumbbell lateral raise and the cable lateral raise. The lying position allows you to strictly isolate the movement. The exercise is therefore more difficult this way than when you are standing up. Remember that the goal here is not to lift heavy weights, but to maintain correct technique. By maintaining strict exercise form, you will keep the load on the muscles that the exercise was designed to develop, even when you use light dumbbells. When you do not maintain strict exercise form, you will reduce the load on the muscles that you are trying to develop and increase your risk of injury.

The main advantage is that you will achieve constant resistance over the entire range of movement because the position eliminates the “dead spot” at the top in a conventional raise. The variant also works the outside of the deltoid muscle, which is responsible for the first 30-degrees of the movement, very effectively (the least intense part of the movement in the lying or decline variants).

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