How to do Shoulder Raises – Lateral Front & Rear

How to do lateral, front and rear shoulder raises? . They can be performed with dumbbells, kettlebells, cables and using a specifically built pin machine.

The different variations of the side shoulder raise exercise can be used to target the front, middle and rear deltoid for full deltoid development.

Benefits of the shoulder raise

Full development of the three main sections of the shoulders will lead to larger, broader and stronger shoulders. It also adds more stability in the shoulder and the rotator cuff which will also reduce the risk of injury.

Areas of the deltoid

  • Anterior (Front)
  • Lateral (Middle)
  • Posterior (Rear)

Variations of shoulder raises

  • Side raises – lateral or middle
  • Front raises – Anterior
  • Alternating front raises – Anterior
  • Bent over rear raises – Posterior

Side shoulder raises – Works the lateral (middle) area of the deltoid

How to do the side lateral raise

  • Stand up straight, feet about shoulder width apart with a dumbbell in each hand, arms resting at the side of you.
  • Slowly raise your arms out to your side so they are just above parallel with the floor, keep your elbows slightly bent as you raise your arms. keep the rest of your body as straight as possible and your shoulders pinned slightly back.
  • Hold for a short moment in the parallel position and then slowly lower your arms back down and repeat.

Alternating front dumbbell raises – Works the Anterior area of the deltoid


  • Stand up straight holding a dumbbell in each hand, feet about shoulder width apart.
  • Slowly raise one arm up in front of you, so your arm is just above parallel with the floor, it should be pointing straight ahead. Keep your body still, only your arms should be moving during the exercise.
  • Hold for a short moment and then slowly lower, and then repeat with your other arm.

Rear shoulder raises also known as the Rear deltoid fly – Works the Posterior (rear) area of the deltoid.

This version can be perform while standing or seated.


  • While holding the dumbbells, have your feet about shoulder width, bend your knees, keep your back straight and just about parallel to the floor, maybe angled up slightly.
  • With the dumbbells, palms facing each other, elbows slightly bent, slowly raise your arms out to the side until they’re about horizontal, your elbows should be higher than the dumbbells.
  • Hold in the horizontal position for a brief moment and then slowly lower them back down to the start position and repeat.

kettlebells can also be used instead of dumbbells to perform these exercises.


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