Dumbbell Lateral Raise - straight arms, or slightly bent elbow?

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    Jun 29, 2012 6:22 PM GMT
    I was doing dumbbell lateral raise exercise at the gym yesterday, and a more experience gym-goer pointed out my incorrect form. Some of them were good advice, like: arms in line to the body and all times, slow motion, etc.

    But this is what I am not sure. Some instructions advocate bending elbows
    http://weighttraining.about.com/od/exercisegallery/tp/lateral.htm

    but the guy in the gym insist that I should keep my arm as straight as possible (without locking).

    How do you guys do it?

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    Jun 29, 2012 8:47 PM GMT
    Slightly bent is probably better on your joints. I also do them so the dumbbell is vertical at the end of the extension (away from legs).
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    Jul 07, 2012 5:48 PM GMT
    I relate to the confusion, uberick. Good question. It's true of a lot of exercises. Many forms and reasons to do this one way or another.

    I agree it is better for your joints, elbows if arms are slightly bent. That's also part of the idea of never to lock your joints. Truth is I use both. Sometimes no bend in the arm and other times a definite bend. It depends on what part I want to work of the muscle, and also just whim on my part.

    The lateral raise works the deltoids (shoulder "caps"). There are 3 main parts of the deltoids: anterior (front), middle (medial? forgot), and posterior (back). If you want good strong shoulders that also look it, work all three parts. Lateral raises usually are for the middle deltoid, but you can use different forms of lateral raises to work more of the front and back. Ask around and look on this site to see if there are exercises. Lots of types of exercises. Some have to do with how you hold the dumbell in your hand!

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    Jul 09, 2012 4:23 AM GMT
    More than slightly bent is best, almost 90 degrees as you want to lead with the elbow and not the wrist. After all you are working the side / medial delt! Very old school was almost straight but we have evolved.
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    Jul 09, 2012 4:32 AM GMT
    Slightly bent elbow. And you wanna go slow as you raise up. Never raise them fast. It is all about slow and control. You never wanna lock your elbows.
  • MikemikeMike

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    Jul 09, 2012 5:58 AM GMT
    S34n05 saidSlightly bent is probably better on your joints. I also do them so the dumbbell is vertical at the end of the extension (away from legs).

    thisicon_idea.gif
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    Jul 09, 2012 6:32 AM GMT
    CaseyCasey saidMore than slightly bent is best, almost 90 degrees as you want to lead with the elbow and not the wrist.

    icon_eek.gif

    By bending the elbow to almost 90 degrees, you shorten the moment arm at the shoulder joint by half... meaning you have to use twice as much weight to obtain the same kind of result. Sure, it looks like you're lifting more... but essentially, you're just cheating.

    I'd suggest sticking with slightly bent elbows (about 5 degrees of flexion); this should be just enough to reduce the joint compression forces within the elbow. If you keep your palms in a neutral position throughout the exercise, you'll be predominantly working the middle head of the deltoid, as well as the anterior & posterior heads.

    Carry on. icon_wink.gif
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    Jul 12, 2012 8:45 PM GMT
    If you can imagine you arms been cut off at elbows and you could perform the Side Lateral would of course would be using more weight. Sorry, but where does the cheating come into it? By using more weight and been more technical in controlled from you are putting added stress on your side delt for it to grow. By leading it with the wrist you are not able to use more weight for you are putting the movement in an unnatural position. It's like going all the way down doing preacher curls... at the bottom of the movement you went too far to get back up. That is unnatural, that is stretching the muscle not building. Yoga is next door! The results are limited! Just imagine you having no arms and then doing the movement.. .. try it... it adds pounds to the side delt thus creating width. It's not for the narrow minded. .... but if you don't try you will not succeed.
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    Jul 12, 2012 8:49 PM GMT
    you need to have some sort of bend, I would never do that excercise with my arms in a straight line
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    Jul 12, 2012 9:02 PM GMT
    Wow, an actual fitness question. What kind of site do you think this is?!
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    Jul 16, 2012 1:46 AM GMT
    To prove my point: What angle is the machine lateral raises at? There you go. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jul 16, 2012 5:50 AM GMT
    Slight bend so you're not overstressing the joints.
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    Jul 16, 2012 6:23 AM GMT
    The bend should be very slight... like 10 degrees at most. Your elbow is actually the most stable when it is fully extended due to the bone structure of the arm. The least stable state (for most people) is when it's bent at a ~20 degree angle, due to burden on the ligaments as opposed to muscle. The slight bend just helps to prevent you from hyperextending.

    At the end of the day, the amount of weight that most normal people are comfortable lifting is probably not going to cause any sudden injury in someone with no prior elbow problems. Just do whatever feels most comfortable.
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    Jul 16, 2012 6:33 AM GMT
    i've always done it both ways and find that they work the muscle slightly differently. i also vary the degree to which i lean forward, sometimes i'll do them sitting down sometimes standing up. i find that each variation works slightly differently. at the end of the day, i suppose its for you to experiment and figure out what works and feels best for you. of course, stop the moment you feel a strain on anything that shouldnt be straining, i.e. joints, ligaments.
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    Jul 16, 2012 6:33 AM GMT
    CaseyCasey saidTo prove my point: What angle is the machine lateral raises at? There you go. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Imma believe the guy who looks like he lifts trucks. Nearly 90 degrees it is.
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    Jul 16, 2012 6:41 AM GMT
    principal0 said
    CaseyCasey saidTo prove my point: What angle is the machine lateral raises at? There you go. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Imma believe the guy who looks like he lifts trucks. Nearly 90 degrees it is.


    i agree too, with the caveat that nearly 90 degrees is, to me, best suited to building mass. sometimes that isnt your goal, in which case something else might not be that bad
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    Jul 18, 2012 6:09 PM GMT
    it just depends on the weight you are using. there is no need to bend your elbows with a lighter and managable weight. but if you are going heavy or giant setting or super setting etc then a bend in the elbows will really help joint comfort. as far as technique for gains, eeryone will tell you something different, just try using straight arms for a week or two and bent for the same and see if you notice the difference, in gains or pain/discomfort. i use both and go really heavy at times and have no problems at all.
    remember in the gym good body doesnt equal knowledgable or correct. if you ask 10 people about the finer points of any excersize you will get 6 or 7 different opinions on fine tuning your form lol
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    Jul 18, 2012 6:27 PM GMT
    principal0 said
    CaseyCasey saidTo prove my point: What angle is the machine lateral raises at? There you go. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Imma believe the guy who looks like he lifts trucks. Nearly 90 degrees it is.
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    Jul 19, 2012 2:21 AM GMT
    Results matter, talk is just talk.. my door is never closed but always open.