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Dumbbell Lateral Raises

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

This exercise works the middle portion of the shoulder muscles (deltoids) by lifting the arms away from the body. Strengthening these muscles will improve your ability in all sports that involve arm motion. You'll also broaden your shoulders, improving the way jackets and shirts fit on your frame.

Muscles Worked

Starting Position
Stand on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells at your sides. Your knees should be slightly bent, and your palms should face in toward your hips (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, raise both dumbbells up from each side and away from the body, keeping your elbows straight (see Photo 2).
  2. Keeping your trapezius muscles relaxed, continue raising your arms until they are horizontal with your shoulders (see Photo 3).
  3. Slowly lower the arms back to starting position and repeat (see Photo 4).
Bent-arm variation
After you exhaust your shoulders using the straight-arm form described above, move immediately on to the bent-arm lateral raise. To do the bent-arm lateral raise, bend your arms at a 90-degree angle at the elbow so that you are holding the dumbbells out in front of you with your palms facing in toward each other with your elbows at your sides. Preserve the angle in your elbow as you lift your arms to the side, until your entire arm is parallel with the floor. Then lower back to the starting position, maintaining the angle in the elbow throughout.

About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of Diakadi Body Personal Training and Wellness Center, which was voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.