Look Strong By Building the Side Delt

Look Strong By Building the Side Delt

Have you been going to the gym for a big part of your life, and you can never seem to get that wide brawny physique that you see all over the internet? Or, have you started working out and want to look that way? I have found the solution for you to get rounder broader shoulders, and in order to get them, you only have to include certain exercises into your workout regimen. You can look strong by building the side delt!

Disclaimer – Although I am a Certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not establish any kind of personal trainer-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from or related to your use of this information. You should consult a physician, a registered dietician, or a nutritionist prior to starting any workout or nutrition program.


Lateral delt Insertion point and origin

Step 1- Know the Anatomy

The side deltoid is a small head on the lateral side of the shoulder. The origin begins at the acromion process on top of the scapula and the point of insertion is on humorous, or top arm bone. Take note of the direction of the muscle’s fibers run and you will need to keep this in mind when building the delt.

Step 2 – Drop the Ego

When performing exercises on the side delt, you want to do so in a slow and controlled manner. The contraction of the muscle is key to building the muscle. Visualize the contraction of the muscle from the muscle’s origin, on top of the scapula, to its Insertion point or at the top of the humorous. You DO NOT want to bounce the weight up and down because this does not contract the muscle to its full extent. And, another tip is to just simply lower the weight you are doing when performing any exercises on this muscle. Check out the illustration above. The lateral deltoid is not a big muscle so there should be no reason why you are using a big weight with this muscle. Take note of the direction that the fibers; again, visualize contracting those fibers together in the direction that they run.

Step 3 – Building the Side Delt with These Exercises

Warm up and Stretch

Be sure to warmup and stretch the shoulder muscle. This will ensure a safe and efficient workout. A torn rotator cuff is a common injury, so you want the muscle to be warmed up and ready to go. If you have prior shoulder injuries, then I would suggest getting checked out by a physician so you do not cause further injury or damage to the shoulder.

Lateral Raise

The best exercise to build the lateral head of the shoulder is the Lateral Raise. This exercise can be performed with both arms or with one arm. If you are a beginner, or if you really want to focus on the contraction of the muscle, then I recommend performing this exercise with 1 arm.  A cable machine or dumbbell can be utilized.

“Aside from superficial appearance benefits, the exercise also helps strengthen your shoulders independently. This can help correct potential strength discrepancies between your right and left sides.” (Verywellfit.com)

The Exercise

Stand or sit with your core or abs activated. Put a dumbbell in each hand, put your hands to your sides, and elevate the weight to about a 45-degree angle. This is your starting point. Do not let the weight go past the 45-degree mark because you always want to keep tension on the muscle. If you allow the weight to go all the way to the bottom, then you have allowed the muscle to relax.

Side Delt Raise Fitmanfitness

Now, slowly move the dumbbell or cable weight up until your arms are parallel with the ground, and as you move the weight up, slightly bend your thumb up just so it is above your pinky. This will ensure a complete contraction of the muscle as you are moving it up. Hold the contraction at the top for 1-2 seconds and begin to lower the weight slowly to the 45-degree level. Remember to focus on the muscle fibers and visualize contracting the muscle from its insertion point to its origin.

If you are performing a one-arm version then follow the same principles as the two arms. I recommend that you place the opposing index finger of the hand that you are not working out on top of your acromion process right about the shoulder. This will allow you to note where the origin of the muscle is as you are contracting it. If you bring the weight too high, you will start incorporating your trapezius muscles.

Chest muscle growth: The ultimate guide

Tips to remember when building the side delt:

  • Visualize the contraction
  • Go Slow
  • Do not allow weight to go past a 45-degree angle when lowering the weight.
  • Do not sway your body or bounce the weight up
  • Use lightweight – I usually recommend using only up to 20 lbs. per arm.
  • Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10-12 reps per arm.
  • You will feel a “burn” of the muscle – continue to do high reps.

The upright row

The Upright Row is a great exercise for building the side delt.

side delt lateral raise fitmanfitness

Standing up, core activated, and a slight bend at the waist forward. Hold dumbbells in each hand, shoulder-width apart. Exhale and bring the weight up by pulling your elbows up and in an outward motion. Bring the weight chin height. A good tip is to bring the elbows slightly higher than the rest of your arm, and this will ensure a full contraction of the lateral deltoid.

In Conclusion

By knowing the anatomy of the lateral delt and what exercises to perform, you will get wider shoulders in no time! These exercises are great for the lateral delt. Check out my article called “ The Best Strategy to Grow Your Front Delt“ at www.fitmanfitness.com. “Look strong by Building the Side Delt” was written by Armand Reixach III. Armand is a certified Personal Trainer with years of experience.

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