The lateral raise seems like such a simple exercise. How many variations can there possibly be? Well, the answer to that question, as I’ll soon show you, is “Plenty”! Since a recent study has revealed seven segments of the deltoid – not just three – and the ball and socket configuration of the glenohumeral joint allows more motion to occur at the shoulder than any other joint in the body (up to 16,000 positions for the arm), more areas can and should be stimulated.

Thus, it’s important to use many different angles when performing your laterals if you really want to add some size and width to those delts! So, let’s get to it.

Fiber Type Distribution

There’s a low percentage of fast-twitch (FT) fibers in the medial deltoid, averaging 36% FT and 57% slow-twitch (ST). (25, 4) And, according to Tesch and Larsson, “Fiber-type distribution 7.62×39 bulk ammo pattern in present bodybuilders tends to resemble the muscle structural profile of endurance athletes. The bodybuilders did exhibit relatively high muscular endurance, which is consistent with the observed low percentage of high-glycolytic, fatigable FTb fibers.”

Yet, paradoxically, the bipennate structure of the medial deltoid with five to seven tendons allows for powerful contractions. These strong, short fibers are less susceptible to intrinsic stretching and display their greatest strength at 90 degrees and are weakest at the upper and lower 15-degree range. Therefore, it’s evident that the shoulders can withstand a high workload since they’re involved in almost every upper-body movement. They’ll also respond to a variety of rep ranges.

Abduction vs. Other Shoulder Movements

How does abduction (moving the arm away from the body) rate compared to the various other shoulder movements? About middle of the road. In general, adduction (toward the body) is higher than abduction torque (2:1), internal rotation is higher than external rotation torque (3:2), and extension is higher than flexion torque (5:4). Overall, according to Halder et al., “Adduction strength is highest, followed by extension, flexion, abduction, internal rotation, and external rotation.” If you want to promote balance around the shoulder joint, consider the above-mentioned ratios. Remember, you’re only as strong as your weakest link!

Scapular Plane

When performing a lateral raise, you should always concentrate on the elbows – raising them upward and outward until you reach ear level. (2) Although there’s significantly less activity in the medial deltoid and supraspinatus during scapular plane elevation with the elbow bent, compared with the elbow straight (due to a shorter lever arm), it’s a good idea to maintain a slight bend to relieve stress on the elbow joints.

Keep the wrists straight and firm and, as always, keep the chest up and out. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine and set the scapula through retraction. This transforms the upper back into a rigid, solid platform allowing greater deltoid isolation. Use a mirror to check for symmetry when performing a bi-lateral raise. Actually, some authorities recommend that this exercise is simultaneously done with both arms so that any compensatory motions can be easily detected.