How to do the Side Lateral Raise for big side delts

The side lateral raise is one of the best exercises for the side delts. If you want wide shoulders, then the side delt, also known as lateral delt, is where you should focus your attention. First we will explain the anatomy of the shoulders, and then get on to the best isolation exercise: the side lateral raise.

Shoulder Anatomy

The Delts are split into three exterior muscles: the Anterior, Side and Posterior heads. The interior muscles of the Rotator cuff surround the humerus (upper arm bone) and hold it in the socket.

  • The Front Delt works primarily to flex the shoulder, lifting the arm up.
  • The Side Delt works primarily to abduct the arm, lifting the arm upwards, out to the side.
  • The Rear Delt works primarily to extend the arm, pulling it backwards.

As the name suggests, the side delts cap the end of the collarbone, with bigger side delts giving that fuller, broader shoulder.

For a more detailed look at shoulder anatomy, click here.

The Side Lateral Raise

This exercise is the perfect isolation exercise for the side delts. It can be used to pre-exhaust the side delts before any pressing or used to annihilate the fibres through high volume. The movement pattern is perfectly aligned with how the fibres run along the side delt, meaning the concentric and eccentric phases maximise muscle recruitment. It also is the best exercise to get a pump in the side delts.

Using our Dynamic Bands you can maximise muscle contraction. As the bands extend they offer more resistance, so at the point of peak muscular contraction, they are offering the most resistance. This means increased gains over time, and bigger shoulders.

Setup and exercise execution

Secure your anchor to a low position, attaching your Dynamic Band to the Dual-Carabiner.

Take hold of the rope handle, move away from the anchor so there is tension on the band and stand sideways on.

With your palm facing the ground, lift your arm upwards keeping it in-line with your side. Lift till your arm is parallel with the floor, or slightly above.

Hold the top position for a split second, then lower back to the starting position.

Repeat for 12-15 reps per arm. Due to the potential for bigger muscle groups to assist this exercise, it is better to perform more reps and focus on working the correct muscle group.


To increase the difficulty: stand further away from the anchor point, or even hold two bands in one hand.

Other Delt exercises

Click here for one of the best Front Delt exercises.

Open up your tight shoulders with the German Hang.

Fix shoulder pain with YTWI’s.

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