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Lateral Raise Angle Variations


Watching Milos Sarcev's training tips http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_HUVZ2slFM , he talks about doing lateral raises with arms not quite straight out from the body, nor not quite directly in front. He says this targets the front part of the medial head. He also says that doing lateral raises on an incline bench would stress the frontal part of the medial head and on the flip side, leaning forward during lateral raises stresses the rear part of the medial head. Have you guys had any experience with these variations of the lateral raise?

I ask this because no matter how much i have emphasized form with standard lateral raise, my medial delts still refuse to grow despite posterior and anterior growth. Therefore, I simply can't get the width on my shoulders. I've also tried wide grip upright rows to no avail. What do you guys think about these angle variations and have you tried them? (I'll try them myself tomorrow, just curious)


It would've saved a bit of time if you mentioned that he talks about the lateral raises around the 1:05:00 portion of that vid, for reference to anyone else interested in commenting.

Not only is there basically no such thing as a way to the front part of the medial part of the shoulder, but even if, and that's a big, big if, even if it were possible, it's going to serve almost zero purpose for the vast majority of lifters because they're not in a position to need to focus on developing such a tiny little segment within a segment of a bodypart.

Keeping the weights slightly in front of the shoulder, rather than straight in line with the shoulders, places the shoulder joint in a safer/healthier position, so I am an advocate of doing laterals like that. It keeps tension on the side delts with minimal recruitment of the front delts (not the "front part of the medial", I mean the actual front delts).

Doing lateral raises seated on an incline bench would increase front delt work because that part of the shoulder is then pre-stretched. Not what we want. Leaning forward would certainly bring in some rear delt work, but just like with rear delt flyes, I'd expect most people to use the back to start the movement, which would also decrease the delt work.

Also, Sarcev's cues about keeping the elbows up is pretty standard issue. "Thumb down, pinky up" or "imagine pouring out a water pitcher" are similar common cues that get the same result.

What's your height, weight, and general fat level?

What does your weekly training plan look like (days, exercises, sets, and reps), not just shoulders but for everything? Even if you're trying to see shoulder progress, the rest of what you're doing plays a role, especially your chest and back work.

Check these articles for some general info/tips worth trying:


Thanks for the response, I currently I work shoulders and chest on Monday, Bis and Tris on Tuesday, back and rear delts Wednesday, Thursday core /calves, shoulders Friday, Bis and tris Saturday, and legs Sunday. I'm male 195lbs, body far around 12%. Did you hear his views on the angle's role with the medial head? He's a pretty successful bodybuilder who seems to know wlhat he's doing, not to mention it makes sense.

Not only can you achieve a higher ROM, but the stretch on the shoulder is also increased from the incline bench as your arms can come closer to your body. Its still a lateral raise as the dumbbell is still being raised outward and away from the body. I feel like if anything it takes the slight bit of frontal delt out of the lift. I could be wrong, his explanation just makes a lot of sense to me.

I tried the raises today on the incline as well and my shoulders are pretty damn sore .


Take at least one whole day a week off from excercise


If you're hitting shoulders twice a week/sort of three times including back-rear delts, you might want to tweak what you're doing on each day. For example, one day work them heavier/lower rep and the next go a bit lighter with moderate-to-high reps. Just more variety for more diverse stimulus.

I already guessed the male part, but thanks. :wink: How tall are you? If you're 6'2", it's quite a bit different than if you're 5'8".

No, to me it does not make sense that there's any way to target the "front or rear portion of the medial delt." As I said, there's really no such thing and if there were, the average shmoe in the gym (you, me, and most people on this site) don't need to waste the time or energy trying to improve it.

A general rule of thumbs for exercise selection is "whatever gets stretched most gets trained hardest." Lying on an incline bench will stretch the front delts more, so even if the weights are moved through the standard lateral raise ROM, the front delts will be firing more from the get-go.

Sometimes, just doing something different is enough to spark growth. So stick with the new exercise for a month or so and see how it goes. Another "something different" to consider is lean-away laterals.

Because of the sideways lean, momentum is basically eliminated and you're able to work the lateral raise movement through a higher section of the ROM due to the altered pull of gravity. (In a standard lateral raise, bringing the weights above shoulder-level would bring in more trap work, but because you're angled, the traps can't contribute as much.)