The goal of any isolation exercise is to maximize tension on the target muscle throughout the entire range of motion. However, on a standard lateral raise, tension is released ever so slightly during the bottom few degrees—the last 12 inches or so before the dumbbell reaches the outer quad—which means the delts aren’t working quite as hard as they could be. With this variation, those few “easy” degrees are eliminated by the body lean. The result: thoroughly exhausted middle delts.

Start Position

  1. Stand next to a stable structure like a cable crossover station. Place your feet close to it.
  2. Hold on to the object for support, and lean away from it. your supporting arm should be fully extended.
  3. Hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand (your working arm) and start with that arm hanging straight down toward the floor.

Finish Position

  1. Keeping the elbow of the working arm extended, lift the dumbbell upward. Focus on using the middle deltoid.
  2. Stop when the working arm is parallel to the floor or slightly above. Pause, then slowly return to the start position.
  3. The rest of your body—everything but your working arm—should remain stationary throughout each rep.

Quick Tips

Where it hits: Middle delts.
When to do it: Late in your shoulder workout (after overhead presses)
How much to do: 3-4 sets. 10-15 reps.

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