How to do a Lateral Raise


Want to learn how to do a lateral raise? This is one of the most popular exercises, and you’ve probably already done it yourself if you’re worked out with dumbbells before. Also known as a side raise or shoulder fly, the lateral raise is an amazing exercise for shoulders and upper arms, and all you need are two dumbbells and a bit of enthusiasm. Keep reading to learn more.


We’ve all seen it: someone holding a dumbbell in each hand and raising their arms outward until they are perpendicular with the body. It’s a simple enough exercise and is great for building shoulder and upper arm strength, but you should follow the steps to ensure you’re performing the exercise safely and effectively.


Here’s the correct way to do a lateral raise.

  1. Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand, your arms resting at your sides. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, and don’t forget to maintain good posture.

  2. Keeping your arms straight, lift your arms out to the side, stopping once your arms are perpendicular to the rest of your body.

  3. Gently reverse the motion until you are back in your original position. You’ve just done one lateral raise!

Because the steps are so straightforward, there are a few easy mistakes to avoid here. Like with most exercises, be sure to maintain good posture to protect your spine, and don’t forget to breathe. This will also help you be mindful of your arm motions. You don’t want to swing the weights up and down; instead, move your arms deliberately, and always maintain control of your movements.

If you’re struggling to lift the weights with good form, feel free to move to smaller dumbbells. There’s no pressure here, and it’s better for your health and fitness progress to build up gradually instead of starting with weights that are too heavy for your current ability.


Whether you’re looking to do lateral raises at home or work out with equipment in the Gym Group, we’re here to support you. And if you need more specialist advice, our friendly personal trainers at your local Gym are happy to help you create a personalised workout plan—or even give you some one-off pointers.

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