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Side Delt Exercises: 3 ways to Build Massive Shoulders with Lateral Raises

If you’re looking to build massive shoulders, incorporating effective side delt exercises into your training program is a must. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about side deltoid workouts, including the best exercises, variations, and tips for targeting these muscles with dumbbells, resistance bands, and cable machines. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find valuable information to help you take your shoulder training to the next level.

Shoulder muscles are a key component of an impressive physique, but many people overlook the importance of the side deltoids. These muscles, also known as lateral deltoids, are responsible for shoulder abduction and play a significant role in creating the illusion of a broad and powerful upper body.

The Best Side Delt Exercises for Size

When it comes to building massive side delts, there are several exercises that should be at the top of your list. Here are some of the most effective side deltoid exercises:

Side Lateral Raises with Dumbbells: side delt exercises

Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Dumbbell Lateral Raise for Side Delt

This classic exercise is a staple of any shoulder workout. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, and raise your arms out to your sides until they’re parallel to the floor. Lower the weights back down slowly and repeat for several reps. This exercise targets the side deltoids directly and is highly effective for building size and strength.

Lateral Raises with Resistance Bands: 

Resistance Bands Lateral Raise for Side Delts
Resistance Bands Lateral Raise for Side Delt

If you don’t have access to dumbbells, resistance bands are a great alternative. Stand on the center of the band and hold the handles at your sides. Raise your arms out to your sides until they’re parallel to the floor, then lower them back down slowly. This exercise provides constant tension on the side delts, making it an excellent choice for building muscle. You can use these same bands to help train your upper glutes and gluteus minimus as well!

Side Shoulder Exercises with Cable Machines: 

Cable machines offer a unique type of resistance that can be highly effective for targeting the side deltoids. Attach a D-handle to the cable machine, and stand sideways to the machine with your arm closest to the machine holding the handle. Raise your arm out to the side until it’s parallel to the floor, then lower it back down slowly. Repeat for several reps before switching sides.

Lateral Raise Variations for Side Delts

To keep your side delt training fresh and challenging, it’s important to incorporate variations into your workouts. Here are some lateral raise variations you can try:

45-Degree Lateral Raises: side delt exercises

Raise your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle instead of straight out to the sides. This variation targets the middle deltoids as well as the side delts.

Incline Lateral Raises: 

Lie face down on an incline bench with a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Raise your arms out to your sides until they’re parallel to the floor. This variation places more emphasis on the rear deltoids and is an excellent way to balance out your shoulder development.

Bent-Over Lateral Raises: 

Bend over at the waist with a pair of dumbbells in your hands, and raise your arms out to your sides until they’re parallel to the floor. This variation targets the rear deltoids and upper back as well as the side delts.

How to Target Your Side Delts

To get the most out of your side delt exercises, it’s important to use proper form and technique. Here are some tips to help you target your side delts effectively:

Use a full range of motion:  side delt exercises

When performing side delt exercises, make sure you’re using a full range of motion. This means raising your arms out to your sides as high as you can and lowering them back down slowly.

Focus on the mind-muscle connection: 

To really feel your side delts working, focus on the mind-muscle connection. Visualize your side delts contracting and squeezing as you perform each rep.

Keep your form strict: 

It’s easy to cheat on side delt exercises by using momentum to swing the weights up. However, this takes the focus off the side delts and can lead to injury. Keep your form strict and use a weight that allows you to perform each rep with proper technique.

Incorporate other shoulder exercises: 

While side delt exercises are important, it’s also important to incorporate other shoulder exercises into your training program. This will help you build a balanced and well-rounded set of shoulders.

Side Deltoid Workouts for Beginners

If you’re new to shoulder training, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some effective side deltoid workouts for beginners:

Workout 1: side delt exercises

  • Side Lateral Raises with Dumbbells: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Front Raises with Dumbbells: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Overhead Press with Dumbbells: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Workout 2: side delt exercises

  • Lateral Raises with Resistance Bands: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Push-Ups: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Cable Face Pulls: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Effective Side Deltoid Exercises for Mass

Side Delts Exercise Machine
Side Delts Exercise Machine

If your goal is to build massive side delts, you need to focus on exercises that allow you to use heavy weights and overload the muscles. Here are some effective side deltoid exercises for mass:

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: side delt exercises

This compound exercise targets the entire shoulder girdle, including the side delts. Use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps.

Arnold Press: 

Named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, this exercise involves rotating the dumbbells as you press them overhead, which targets the side delts in a unique way. Use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps.

Dumbbell Upright Row: 

This exercise targets the side delts as well as the traps and upper back. Use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps.

Side Deltoid Training with Free Weights

Free weights are a great way to train your side delts because they allow for a greater range of motion and require more stabilization from the muscles. Here are some effective side deltoid exercises you can do with free weights:

Side Lateral Raises with Dumbbells: side delt exercises

As mentioned earlier, this exercise is a staple of any shoulder workout. Use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Bent-Over Lateral Raises with Dumbbells: 

Bend over at the waist with a pair of dumbbells in your hands, and raise your arms out to your sides until they’re parallel to the floor. Use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Dumbbell Front Raises: 

Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and raise them straight up in front of you until they’re at shoulder height. Lower them back down slowly and repeat for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Side Shoulder Exercises with Cable Machine

Cable machines are a great way to target your side delts because they provide a constant level of resistance throughout the entire range of motion. Here are some effective side shoulder exercises you can do with a cable machine:

Cable Lateral Raises: side delt exercises

Attach a D-handle to the cable machine, and stand sideways to the machine with your arm closest to the machine holding the handle. Raise your arm out to the side until it’s parallel to the floor, then lower it back down slowly. Use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Cable Face Pulls: 

Attach a rope handle to the cable machine and stand facing the machine. Grab the handle with both hands and pull it towards your face, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the end of the movement. Use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Cable Reverse Flyes: 

Attach a D-handle to the cable machine, and stand facing away from the machine with your arms out in front of you. Pull the handle back towards your body, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the end of the movement. Use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

FAQs

How Often Should I Train My Side Delts? 

It’s generally recommended to train your shoulders 1-2 times per week, depending on your training program and goals.

How Heavy Should I Lift For Side Delt Exercises?

Use a weight that allows you to perform each exercise with proper form and technique. For mass-building exercises, aim for a weight that allows you to perform 6-10 reps.

Can I Do Side Delt Exercises With Bodyweight?

While bodyweight exercises can be effective for building muscle, they’re not ideal for targeting the side delts specifically. Use weights or resistance bands for best results.

How Do You Work Out Side Delts? 

Side delt exercises like side lateral raises, lateral raises with resistance bands, and cable lateral raises are all effective for working out your side delts. Incorporating variations and using proper form and technique is also important.

What Lifts Work Side Delts? 

Any exercise that involves abduction of the shoulder joint will work the side deltoids. Some of the most effective lifts include side lateral raises, upright rows, and overhead presses.

How Do You Work All 3 Delts? 

To work all three deltoid heads, it’s important to incorporate exercises that target each area. For the front delts, try exercises like front raises and overhead presses. For the side delts, try lateral raises and upright rows. For the rear delts, try face pulls and reverse flies.

How Do You Train Side Delts With Dumbbells?

Side delt exercises with dumbbells are highly effective for building size and strength in your side delts. Side lateral raises, bent-over lateral raises, and front raises are all excellent exercises to try with dumbbells.

What Is The Best Rep Range For Side Delts? 

The best rep range for side delt exercises depends on your training goals. For mass-building exercisesaim for a weight that allows you to perform 6-10 reps per set. For endurance and definition, aim for a weight that allows you to perform 12-15 reps per set.

Conclusion

Building massive shoulders requires consistent training and a focus on the side deltoids. Incorporating effective side delt exercises like side lateral raises with dumbbells, lateral raises with resistance bands, and side shoulder exercises with cable machines can help you achieve your goals. Remember to use proper form and technique, and incorporate variations and other shoulder exercises to keep your training fresh and challenging. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, focusing on your side delts is a key component of a well-rounded, impressive physique. So, what are you waiting for? Add these exercises to your training program and start building massive shoulders today!

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