The dumbbell lateral raise is a workout that uses dumbbells to exercise and strengthen the muscles of the shoulders. The shoulder muscles called the deltoids are important for ensuring that a person can raise his arms to the front, back, and side. Many bodybuilders work to make the deltoids stronger and larger. The health and strength of these muscles are important for everyone, however.
Starting position for dumbbell lateral raises requires the exerciser to stand up straight and position his legs shoulder-width apart from each other. He’ll need to have a dumbbell in each hand and positioned at his sides for this exercise. The exerciser typically chooses a weight that is light enough to allow him to do several repetitions without pain or straining. Attempting to perform this exercise with weights that are too heavy could cause injury to the shoulder.
To begin the dumbbell lateral raise, a person usually contracts the muscles of his abdomen and raises both arms up and out to the side of his body, forming a T shape. Some people try to do this exercise with the elbows held out straight. It’s considered better form to bend the arms a bit at the elbows instead, however.
The exerciser usually stops raising the dumbbells once they are at shoulder level. It’s okay to stop when the dumbbells are a little lower than shoulder level, but they shouldn’t be raised higher than the shoulders. The goal is to make sure the arms are in parallel position. Once the arms are at shoulder height, or a little below, the exerciser then lowers his arms back to the sides of his body.
The number of repetitions a person does depends on his fitness status and his goals for the exercise. An effective shoulder workout may be achieved, however, by doing two or three sets of dumbbell lateral raises, with each set including about eight to 10 repetitions each. For beginners or those who find the dumbbell lateral raise difficult, it may be helpful to start with one set and gradually move on to two. Likewise, it may prove helpful to do fewer repetitions per set at first.
An individual need not always perform the dumbbell lateral raise while standing upright. There are many variations of it that allow a person to do the same lifting movements while seated or while lying prone on a bench. Some people may also begin this exercise with the dumbbells held in front of their bodies rather than out to side. This allows them to target different areas of the deltoids.