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Get More Out of Your Lateral Raises

Take lateral raises above parallel to prompt middle delt and trap growth.

By Bill Geiger, MA
Get More Out of Your Lateral Raises

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Individuals with pre-existing rotator-cuff injuries shouldn'’t take lateral-raise moves much higher than parallel, warns Brockhoeft. But for those who can, he offers several ways to include them in your workout (see below).

This makes sense, he says, because it develops better separation of traps and delts, creating the ideal V-shape that makes you look wider, and hits those trap fibers, making you appear thicker.

So don't be like the rest of the guys in your gym. Build up those delts by occasionally taking your lateral raises a little higher for greater gains.

In Your Workout

  • Moving the weight all the way up to 135 degrees (halfway between the arms-parallel position and overhead) is harder than going to just arms-parallel, so you'’ll have to use lighter dumbbells.
  • Start with your heavy presses for shoulders, then do your lighter-weight, high-volume isolation work.
  • If you have heavy and light shoulder days, go to arms-parallel on the heavy days, and above parallel on the light days.
  • Alternately, do lateral raises to arms-parallel first in your workout, then do a few sets above parallel with lighter weights.
  • One tough variation: Start with the weights in the arms-parallel position (go lighter since you can'’t use any momentum) and use a range of motion from 90-–135 degrees.

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