Lateral-Focused Shoulder Workout

As we mentioned in our 3D Delts Workout, the most commonly lacking part of the shoulder musculature, for a lot of trainees, is the side head, which gives that popping, wide look of the shoulder line.

This part of the musculature is usually behind in development for many people, simply because they do not know how to optimally target it.

We will just mention that if you really want to develop it, it would be best to focus on LATERAL movements with dumbbells, cables and machines, rather than overhead, pressing movements like the shoulder press, which primarily engages the front head of your shoulders.

The Workout

Even though the lateral movements are an essential part of your side-focused workout, we start off with a compound OHP (overhead pressing) movement, in order to activate all parts of the shoulder musculature and get it ready for the heavier part of the workout.

Exercise map

Dumbbell shoulder press

Dumbbell shoulder press

It is recommended that you start off with light weight for the first two (warm up) sets and then move on to moderate weight for the last three (working) sets of this exercise- Go easy on the weights and avoid reaching failure.

Execution

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit down on the bench, resting your back and head comfortably
  • Lift the dumbbells up, until the point where they are by the sides of your head, with the arms being at a 90-degree angle- This is your starting position and the elbows MUST NOT go below this angle, as that will cause excessive shoulder joint pressure.
  • Push the dumbbells up and above your head, without letting them touch- Do not lock out the elbow
  • After holding the contraction briefly, let the dumbbells down to their original position slowly
  • Proceed to the next repetition

Dumbbell lateral raises

Dumbbell lateral raises

For this exercise, we will go up until failure on the last set and do two more repetitions after reaching failure, using the cheat principle.

Simply put- Complete the last set with a weight that will allow you to fail at the 8-9th repetition, using strict execution. After properly completing the 8 repetitions, use inertial movements to help yourself on the way up to get a couple more repetitions after reaching failure with strict form.

The inertial movement in this case is done with torso inertia- Leaning forward a bit, before each additional repetition after failure, then force the weight up.

Execution

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells (not too heavy, you want to fail at the 8th-9th repetition and only then cheat)
  • With elbow slightly bent, keep the dumbbells by your sides
  • Look forward and keep back straight
  • Lift the dumbbells up with a moderate pace, contracting the shoulders
  • After holding the contraction briefly, let the dumbbells down slowly, keeping tension on the deltoids

Dumbbell front raises

Dumbbell front raises

Execution

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand up straight stably
  • Keep the dumbbells in front of you, so that your palms are facing your body
  • Lift the dumbbells up (either both simultaneously or alternately) until your arms are parallel to the ground
  • Let the dumbbells down slowly

Machine lateral raises

machine lateral raises

Execution

  • Sit down, rest your back and tuck your arms under the pads
  • Grab the handles and look forward
  • Raise the lever up and contract the deltoids
  • Let the lever down slowly, keeping tension on the shoulders

It is important to remember that lateral movements are supposed to be done with moderate weights, as higher levels of intensity will cause the trapezius to work significantly more than usual, making the lateral work sub-optimal for the deltoids.

Remember to train SMART, not just heavy and all-in. The body is a complex machine, which requires structured tension, in order to develop optimally.

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