Compound pulling and pushing movements like overhead presses and rowing variations are essential when you want big, strong, and muscular delts. These moves will add size and strength to your delts so that you can look great in those form-fitting shirts. But these compound moves predominantly train the front and rear deltoid—which leaves the lateral deltoid muscles oftentimes neglected.

This is where these lateral raises and variations of this delt-destroying move come in. Lateral raises will add some pop to your lateral deltoid, which gives you the appearance of broader shoulders.

The advantages of this trio of lateral raise variations are that they’ll strengthen your shoulders unilaterally, helping to strengthen imbalances between sides while adding more muscle to the deltoids to improve your shoulder stability. Here we’ll dive into tips and tricks to get the best out of this isolation exercise and three variations to add some pop to your lateral delts.

Lateral Raises Tips and Tricks

When it comes to the lateral raise, creating and maintaining muscular tension should be top priority. This doesn’t mean the load isn’t essential, but there’s no need to overload at the expense of losing tension.

To vary and progress the lateral raise variations below, consider incorporating the four tips (besides more weight and more reps) below:

  • Perform unilaterally
  • Add a pause in the top position
  • Change your body position like performing them in a tall or half kneeling position
  • Perform them with tempo like 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down

Programming lateral raises for higher reps (12 to 20) for 2 to 4 sets and at the end of your training works best.

The most common mistake here is using too much weight. This usually results in using too much momentum from other body parts like the upper traps and losing good lifting posture. And both will cause you to lose tension in the lateral deltoid.

3 Lateral Raise Variations

Here are three variations for you to try to build boulder shoulders that will be the envy of your friends. You may need to buy bigger shirts.

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