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How To Do Overhead Dumbbell Lateral Raise?

Let’s work on deltoid muscle development. This exercise will strengthen and develop your shoulders, visually increasing their width. Overhead dumbbell press is usually performed while standing and requires a minimum level of training. The main thing is not to use too much weight and to follow the technique as accurately as possible to avoid injury to the elbow or shoulder joints.

What muscles work during the exercise?

The exercise primarily loads the deltoid muscle, which is known to be the brachialis muscle that forms the outer contour of the shoulder. In other words, powerful and broad shoulders are a consequence of a developed delta.

overhead dumbbell: lateral raise_1

Dumbbells are lifted up through the sides

Anatomically, the deltoid muscle consists of three sections:

  • Front section

  • Middle or side section

  • Rear section

Overhead dumbbell lateral raise is aimed at the middle (aka lateral) and back areas. The trapezius muscle (upper back and back of the neck) also works. The shoulder joints are additionally strengthened.

Exercise technique

Stand up and take your dumbbells. Now you are ready to start:

1Pick up dumbbells. The arms are straight, directed downward, along the body

2Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly to provide additional stability. You can also bend your arms slightly at the elbow to reduce the chance of injury to the joint. The back is straight, the gaze is directed forward

3As you inhale, lift the dumbbells. It is important to lift the dumbbell not in front of you, but through the sides until the dumbbells are above your head.

4While lifting the dumbbells, turn your arms so that your palms at the top point look forward. It is better to unfold them at a time when the dumbbells are approximately at shoulder level. At the top point, so long as the arms are brought together, it is not necessary to straighten them. They should remain slightly bent at the elbows. Be sure to keep your arms above your head and not at the shoulder line

5Exhale and slowly return to the starting position

Try to hold your breath whereas lifting the dumbbells, as it helps to focus on the required effort and maintain balance, which is important since the exercise is performed while standing.

Once again, we draw your attention to the fact that lifting dumbbells over your head is not recommended to be performed with overly heavy dumbbells. Correct technique is much more important here than weight. The exercise should be done very smoothly, without sudden jerks.

Moreover, unnecessarily heavy dumbbells will simply prevent you from accurately following the technique, as jerks will occur, and you won’t be able to raise your arms high enough. Finally, it can lead to joint injury.

overhead dumbbell: lateral raise_2

Exercise’s option with the position of the hands, palms inward

During the exercise, try to feel how the target muscles are working. The sensation should occur when the arms are raised approximately 30 ° concerning the body. You will feel the maximum tension when the arm is at about 45 ° about the shoulder line.


Overhead dumbbell lateral raise should be done with caution in people who have cardiovascular disease. It is better to consult a doctor beforehand.

Injured joints are a reason to refrain from doing the exercise. This is especially true of the elbow and shoulder joints, which bear the bulk of the load.

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