7 Best Lateral Deltoid Exercises for Men to Get Stronger Shoulders

Guide to best deltoid exercises for stronger shoulders. (image via Pexels/Photo by Mike Jones)
Guide to best deltoid exercises for stronger shoulders. (image via Pexels/Photo by Mike Jones)

If you know the best lateral deltoid exercises, you'll be able to allow your shoulders to have an overall growth rather than putting focus only on the front deltoids.

Lateral deltoids are one of the three parts that make up the shoulder and are widely responsible for providing a rounded shape to the shoulder.

The Best Lateral Deltoid Exercises

You don't need to do all of them every day. The idea is to know the best ones so that you can mix and match whenever you train shoulders.

1) Arnold press

It is known that this exercise is named after famed bodybuilder and Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This exercise works on the delts but also affects the triceps and traps.

You sit on a bench with dumbbells (choose your weight accordingly). Keep your back straight, core engaged, and shoulders steady, and push the weights towards the ceiling.

Your thumbs should be inwards as you push the weights. However, your wrist twists midway through the push so that your thumbs are outwards at the top of the movement.

As you bring it down, turn your wrist to have your thumbs face inwards.

If you've never done this exercise before, you should do it with lighter weights to understand how it works before moving to heavier dumbbells.


2) Dumbbell military press

This exercise works on the lateral deltoids along with the arms, traps, and anterior deltoids and is an essential movement among the best lateral deltoid exercises.

You can do the exercise while standing or being seated. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height, and your palms should be facing outwards. Push the weights overhead in a straight motion and hold them for a second before bringing them back down.

There can be chances that if you take your arms below shoulder height, your triceps will take over when pushing the weights back up.

It's essential to keep a muscle-mind connection when doing this exercise.


3) Barbell upright row

This is one of the best lateral deltoid exercises because of the muscles it works with. It focuses on the anterior and lateral deltoids and the biceps, wrists, and traps. It even helps with activating the smaller muscles surrounding the area.

Stand with a barbell in front of you, preferably slightly above your knee.

Hold the barbell, and your palms should be towards you. Keep your core engaged and pull the barbell toward your chest/chin. As you move it upwards, your elbows will flare, but keep it in control.

When moving back down, ensure to control the negative. Otherwise, you can end up with a muscle pull or tear if you drop the weight too quickly.


4) Lateral raise

This is one of the most common movements among the best lateral deltoid exercises and is usually done with front raises. However, you cannot do this exercise with extremely heavy weights, so focus on the reps more than the weight.

Nevertheless, some fitness enthusiasts do partial reps with heavy weights to constantly put more stress on the muscles.


5) Lying cable upright row

While barbell upright rows work on the lateral deltoids, the luring cable upright row is a variation of the same.

You'll need a bench and a cable pulley machine to do this exercise. Since you'll be lying on a bench, it's essential to ensure you're not lowering your elbows too much when pulling the bar towards yourself.


6) Behind-the-back cable lateral raise

This exercise is a variation of dumbbell lateral raise and is one of the best lateral deltoid exercises to build strength and muscle endurance.

Attach a grip to the cable pulley machine and hold it from the back. Raise it in a lateral raised motion and squeeze the muscle as you reach the top of the motion.


7) Incline W raise

This is an interesting exercise that you should add to the list.

You need a bench and a pair of dumbbells to do this exercise. Adjust the bench at a 45-degree angle and hold the dumbbells at a 90-degree angle from your elbows.

To exercise, bring your elbows upwards to make them parallel to your shoulders. Hold it for a second before moving back.


Consider this one of the best lateral deltoid exercises for a burnout or finisher movement!

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Edited by Piyush Bisht