T Nation

Side Delts

Okay so I’ve started doing machine side raises because it’s a fixed motion/movement so I can’t go wrong with it…

I swear I do it with appropriate weight and I’ve even gone as far as checking whether it really is shoulder abduction what I was doing, and it was!

But for some reason I felt it in my front delts, not my side delts…

Even tho I still find it very hard to tell if what I’m feeling is front delt or side delts… I don’t know “where” I’m supposed to “feel the side delts”

But the movement was fixed and correct, I checked it in the mirror, elbows higher than wrists and hands, arms bent at 90 degree, my forearms pushed against and resting on the pads. (it’s an L-lateral raise machine)

So should I just “train the movement” in that I shouldn’t worry about where I feel as long as the movement looks like what it’s supposed to look like, and just progress with weight?


try these two variations:

  1. sit perpendicular on a flat bench, grab pair of DBs and do lateral raise. you will be seated in such a way that the bench will stop the DBs from coming down to your sides. Lower them to the bench then raise them up again… prepare to be humbled by how little weight you can use on these.

  2. stand leaning against an incline bench (about 75-80 degrees angle), so you are slightly leaning forward. Do lateral raises. If you can’t see your rear delt in the mirror, it’s likely that you are not hitting your lateral delt.

finish with a set of standing partials to absolute failure.

I had a hard time targeting my side delts as well, then I put my rear delt laterals, with a machine, first, then the side lateral exercise before any pressing movement. Problem solved.

So do you agree with what I said? That I should just “train the movement” in that I make sure the form is correct and the movement looks like it’s supposed to, and by doing this, I’m going to be able to hypertrophy side delts?

It depends on your machine, some are not as good as others, I imagine the machine your using may focus more on the front as opposed to the back. Try seeing if you can effectively use the machine with your pinky finger up, that should place more of the focus where it should be.

Also make sure you are trying to lift your elbows not your hands, this should remove the stress from the traps. It’s a mental trick just like pulling your elbows back, as opposed to pulling your arms back on back workout days.

You should not just train the movement. Learn to specifically flex the lateral delt. I really like John Meadows’ method of doing partial lateral raises with heavy weight for high reps. I do them for side delts and rear delts, and they’ve really be responding.

Do not buy in to the idea that since you are locked into a movement pattern, you can’t screw it up. Quite the opposite. It actually allows you to cheat the movement without altering the bar path. That’s good for when you want to target certain muscles, but a free weight bar path won’t allow it (think about the different foot positions on the leg press).

Grab a pair of dumbbells that is about double your 12-rep max for lateral raises. Stand with your feet together. Raise them as high as you can, leading with your pinky fingers. Lower them without letting them touch your legs. Repeat for 35 reps, focusing on leading with the pinkies and stopping short of your legs. After the fourth set, I guarantee you’ll feel it in your side delts, and after the fourth week I guarantee you’ll see a difference in the mirror.

Ugh… again with the side delt issue. 3rd or 4th thread in a month.

Why not just post a video of you performing the movement?

I can’t @Steez right now, sry.
But I do it like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgjb0SQSI9k @3:55

Lol @ “I can work up to 150lbs on this machine, where I’d never be able to do that with free weights.” That tells you where his mind is. He’s not even taking leverages into account.

This isn’t powerlifting. Nobody gives a rat’s ass how much weight you’re using. You’re trying to work and build the muscle, so that’s what you should be focusing on. If you can’t feel it in your lateral delts, you’re screwing it up. Grab some dumbbells and do it right, at least until you learn to control the muscle.

do what Walkway said.