Hoisting heavy weights overhead to build cannonball delts can spell disaster for guys with pre-existing shoulder injuries. Instead, try the dumbbell delt archer. The exercise, courtesy of Eric Fleishman, aka “Eric the Trainer,” owner of the fitness company ETT Corp, is a joint-friendly variation of conventional shoulder raises that has you move the shoulder through multiple planes of movement and recruit more deltoid heads without irking your joints. It’s also a nice change of pace from the standard lateral-, front-, and rear-delt raises. Sub it in for one of the three standard variations or use it as a finisher. Either way, prepare to grow, pain-free.


  1. Begin in the same position as you would for lateral raises. Lift your right arm out to the side while lifting your bent left arm up in front of your face as if you were checking the time on a wristwatch.
  2. Slowly lower back down and repeat to the other side—bringing the bent right arm up toward your face while the left arm does a standard lateral raise.


“This unique movement should be performed mindfully with great control over the weight,” says Fleishman. Start with a weight that’s lighter than what you would use for lateral raises.

SEE ALSO: The Best Full Shoulder Workout