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Lateral Raise Form: How Important?

Hi guys,
I’ve been bodubuilding for about 6 years now, i’m no Ronnie Coleman but i really enjoy it!

I have a question. i like working out my shoulders but i was wondering how important is form when doing a lateral raise?

Should your arms start by your sides and move straught out with no bend?
Or is it ok to do it with elbows bent as long as you still raise your shoulders the same?

Cheers, Joe.

It shouldn’t matter if you’re consistent. Obviously you can handle more weight if you bend your arms since you’re shortening the lever arm. This may in fact make it easier to progress.

keeping your arms straight is hell on your elbows. Slight bend. I hold the dumbbell at my waist and maintain that bend through the movement.

scapular plane. google it on top.

I see way too many idiots swinging the dumbells with their arms cocked at 90 degree angles, falling down in front of their torsos. Personally, I allow the weights to come down at my sides (keep stress on lateral head), and keep the angle of the elbow to a minimum, just to protect the joint a bit.

S

Has anyone actually found lateral raises to be effective or is everyone doing them just to follow the crowd?

Typically I find that my traps get most of the focus.

I prefer to do my lateral raises with cables, I grab the cable handle from the opposite side so that my arms start in a fully crossed X position, and it pretty much doubles the ROM. Got the idea watching a Milos Sarcev training video. He gives some good tips in there on how to make sure you keep focus on the lateral head of the delt and not shift it to the traps or anterior delt. And I definitely feel these more than anything else in my medial delt.

[quote]Lorisco wrote:
Has anyone actually found lateral raises to be effective or is everyone doing them just to follow the crowd?

Typically I find that my traps get most of the focus.
[/quote]

If you remember to be humble, and seriously don’t mind using lighter weight, they can definitely hit the side delts.

A slower tempo with 1-2 seconds up, pause at the top for a full, legitimate second, and 1-2 seconds down, will help. So will doing them seated on a bench with an upright back support or standing with your back (shoulder blades and tailbone) touching the wall for the entire rep.

As an alternative, I do like using a 1-arm power/cheat lateral with a heavier weight and “body oomph” (technical term) to get the weight up and emphasizing a slower negative.

On any lateral, try holding the dumbbell offset with your pinkie touching the inside of the plate. That helps to force your hand into pronation for the old “pour the water out of the pitcher” technique. Steve Reeves taught me that trick*.

    • Okay, so maybe he didn’t “teach me”, so much as I read it in his book. But still.

i never do lateral raises. i dont feel them very well and i cant see the benefit in using baby to grow anything.

personally i like to do front raises. i feel a good pump in my shoulders, i like the way the look when i do them…looks like hard rubber, and i can use decent weight, 50 pounds each. although i do feel it in my traps too but i think youre going to get that with almost any shoulder movement, lets be reasonable.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Lorisco wrote:
Has anyone actually found lateral raises to be effective or is everyone doing them just to follow the crowd?

Typically I find that my traps get most of the focus.

If you remember to be humble, and seriously don’t mind using lighter weight, they can definitely hit the side delts.

A slower tempo with 1-2 seconds up, pause at the top for a full, legitimate second, and 1-2 seconds down, will help. So will doing them seated on a bench with an upright back support or standing with your back (shoulder blades and tailbone) touching the wall for the entire rep.

As an alternative, I do like using a 1-arm power/cheat lateral with a heavier weight and “body oomph” (technical term) to get the weight up and emphasizing a slower negative.

On any lateral, try holding the dumbbell offset with your pinkie touching the inside of the plate. That helps to force your hand into pronation for the old “pour the water out of the pitcher” technique. Steve Reeves taught me that trick*.

    • Okay, so maybe he didn’t “teach me”, so much as I read it in his book. But still.[/quote]

Ever try doing a dumbbell shoulder press, and then at the top rotating to a pronated hand position and lowering all the way down laterally?

[quote]Lorisco wrote:
Ever try doing a dumbbell shoulder press, and then at the top rotating to a pronated hand position and lowering all the way down laterally?
[/quote]

Hmm. That I have not. I don’t usually like lateral raises above shoulder-height, but coming off the press, the muscle tension could still be there. I’ll give them a whirl.

Another funky move I have tried (for the sake of trying funky moves) is a W-raise a.k.a. W-press a.k.a. Larry Scott press a.k.a partial Arnold press.

It’s basically the first half of an Arnold press, going from palms facing your mouth (about jaw height), rotating back and up so the dumbbells end up around the top of the head. Strange move and “shouldn’t” work the delts, but it does develop a burn pretty quickly.

[quote]Lorisco wrote:
Has anyone actually found lateral raises to be effective or is everyone doing them just to follow the crowd?

Typically I find that my traps get most of the focus.
[/quote]

Personally they do wonders for my shoulder width. I just got back into doing them and my shoulders after only a couple weeks are noticably wider.

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
i dont feel them very well and i cant see the benefit in using baby to grow anything.[/quote]
Figuring you meant “baby weights”, those two points probably go hand-in-hand. Some exercises require a relatively-lighter weight to be most effective. “Lift heavy shit” isn’t always the best motto for hypertrophy.

This is kinda rhetorical, but how much body English/momentum are you using? I find it hard to believe you’re lifting 25% bodyweight in a front raise with strict form, so it’s not a surprise your traps are getting worked.

I “feel” lateral raises in my abs, but that doesn’t mean I’m not primarily targeting my side delts. There are technique cues you could use to focus on the side delt, such as unilateral touch training, pinching the scapula back, trying to contract the lats during the lift (that’s another tip from Reeves who was all about de-emphasizing the traps), etc.

If your traps are getting more work than whatever muscle you’re intending to work, you (or whomever) should check your exercise technique, exercise choice, and overall program.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
LiveFromThe781 wrote:

Figuring you meant “baby weights”, those two points probably go hand-in-hand. Some exercises require a relatively-lighter weight to be most effective. “Lift heavy shit” isn’t always the best motto for hypertrophy.

[/quote] Yeah, if only poor Markus Rühl had known that before he started wasting his time with all those 450-700 lb smith shoulder presses…
I’m sure his delts would look much, much bigger now. (sry, couldn’t resist)

[quote]

This is kinda rhetorical, but how much body English/momentum are you using? I find it hard to believe you’re lifting 25% bodyweight in a front raise with strict form, so it’s not a surprise your traps are getting worked.

[/quote] Well, as long as his delts still do enough of the work and he doesn’t just let the weight drop down on the eccentric… But in all honesty, I’ve never been able to do laterals or front raises pain-free with any kind of weight (and you ultimately get there, even if you go super strict at all times) without a little bit of swing (not using your low back to actually boost the weight up except on the last few reps maybe, but letting yourself swing a little with the weight, kinda hard to explain. Same on BB curls or upright rows).
Also, if you can only progress from 20 pounds to 40 pounds with strict form (and after years of training), well…

[quote]

I “feel” lateral raises in my abs, but that doesn’t mean I’m not primarily targeting my side delts. There are technique cues you could use to focus on the side delt, such as unilateral touch training, pinching the scapula back, trying to contract the lats during the lift (that’s another tip from Reeves who was all about de-emphasizing the traps), etc.

[/quote] If only reeves had actually possessed big delts. Wide cavicular structure, all right. Big shoulders, less so.
Though the tips aren’t bad at all. I usually try to involve the rear delts in laterals or Upright rows… Seems to work very well in making the side delts work all the harder for some reason, and easier on the shoulders than strict side raises or upright rows (in my case at least).[quote]

If your traps are getting more work than whatever muscle you’re intending to work, you (or whomever) should check your exercise technique, exercise choice, and overall program.[/quote]

I could agree with that.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Yeah, if only poor Markus Rühl had known that before he started wasting his time with all those 450-700 lb smith shoulder presses…
I’m sure his delts would look much, much bigger now. (sry, couldn’t resist)[/quote]
I hear you, but what I was getting at is that some exercises do well with a lighter weight. I’m sure it’s not uncommon for bodybuilders to do heavy pressing and use relatively-lighter lateral and/or front raises as finishers for the workout.

Again, I hear you. I was addressing Live’s use of heavy front raises and feeling it in the traps. In my first post on this thread, I described power laterals that I perform in almost that exact same manner - explosive “cheating” positive with a strict negative.

I also explained that I’ll sometimes use a slower tempo, up to five seconds per rep, on strict laterals. The slower tempo requires a relatively-lighter weight and the increased overall tension on the delts balances out the compromise in load. But regardless, I’ve always believed in diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

Meh, that ties into Reeves’ overall training theory, focusing on the body as a whole and relative proportions, rather than individual muscles groups. However, he did say that he wishes he’d built just one more inch of total shoulder width.

[quote]If your traps are getting more work than whatever muscle you’re intending to work, you (or whomever) should check your exercise technique, exercise choice, and overall program.

I could agree with that.[/quote]
Cool beans. Dudes with the same initials… unite!!

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Yeah, if only poor Markus Rühl had known that before he started wasting his time with all those 450-700 lb smith shoulder presses…
I’m sure his delts would look much, much bigger now. (sry, couldn’t resist)
I hear you, but what I was getting at is that some exercises do well with a lighter weight. I’m sure it’s not uncommon for bodybuilders to do heavy pressing and use relatively-lighter lateral and/or front raises as finishers for the workout.

Well, as long as his delts still do enough of the work and he doesn’t just let the weight drop down on the eccentric… But in all honesty, I’ve never been able to do laterals or front raises pain-free with any kind of weight (and you ultimately get there, even if you go super strict at all times) without a little bit of swing
Again, I hear you. I was addressing Live’s use of heavy front raises and feeling it in the traps. In my first post on this thread, I described power laterals that I perform in almost that exact same manner - explosive “cheating” positive with a strict negative.

I also explained that I’ll sometimes use a slower tempo, up to five seconds per rep, on strict laterals. The slower tempo requires a relatively-lighter weight and the increased overall tension on the delts balances out the compromise in load. But regardless, I’ve always believed in diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

If only reeves had actually possessed big delts. Wide cavicular structure, all right. Big shoulders, less so.
Meh, that ties into Reeves’ overall training theory, focusing on the body as a whole and relative proportions, rather than individual muscles groups. However, he did say that he wishes he’d built just one more inch of total shoulder width.

If your traps are getting more work than whatever muscle you’re intending to work, you (or whomever) should check your exercise technique, exercise choice, and overall program.

I could agree with that.
Cool beans. Dudes with the same initials… unite!![/quote]

Heheheh :wink:

im not going to lie, i use a little momentum but i hold the weight out at the top portion, thats how i know its not all gung-ho movement. and i also do it because i know theres probaly people watching like “oh, he cant use that much weight” so when i hold it straight out (if only for a second), im basically telling to go fuck themselves.

as i said, i dont feel it ONLY in the traps but of course i do feel it a little bit. i feel my biceps when i do DB press, does that mean im doing it wrong?

you guys dont need to train your shoulders the way i train my shoulders. do whatever you want, im merely sharing my experiences and preferences.

If you feel it in your traps, it’s simply a matter of dropping your poundages somewhat, and focusing on only moving from the shoulder joint. Also, there’s no reason to go above parallel to the floor. Too many people feel they need to lift huge weights, and all that happens is that they never develop a good ‘capped’ look on their delts.

S

Don’t cheat, use light weight, do a lot of reps (e.g. 3x20).

That’s what has helped me. The middle of my shoulder feels so tight after three sets of them.