Single-arm lateral raise

The single-arm lateral raise is a shoulder exercise that targets the medial or middle head of the deltoid muscle. It's a staple strength-training move and is a great option for accessory work on upper-body training days. Hold on to a post for balance, or do it free-standing to challenge core strength and stability. It is usually performed for moderate to high reps, at least 8-12 reps per side, as part of the upper-body or shoulder-focused portion of a workout.


  1. Builds shoulder strength and size, even with light weights
  2. Can help create balanced shoulder development between sides
  3. Easy to increase range of motion by holding on to a post and leaning to the side
  4. Can create better mind-muscle connection than raises using two arms

Single-arm lateral raise Images


Single-arm lateral raise Instructions

Single-arm lateral raise muscle diagram
  1. Pick a dumbbell and place it in one of your hands. Your non lifting hand should be used to grab something steady such as an incline bench press. Lean towards your lifting arm and away from the hand that is gripping the incline bench as this will allow you to keep your balance.
  2. Stand with a straight torso and have the dumbbell by your side at arm’s length with the palm of the hand facing you. This will be your starting position.
  3. While maintaining the torso stationary (no swinging), lift the dumbbell to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and your hand slightly tilted forward as if pouring water in a glass. Continue to go up until you arm is parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this movement and pause for a second at the top.
  4. Lower the dumbbell back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  6. Switch arms and repeat the exercise.

Variations: This exercise can also be performed sitting down.