Shoulder Training – Dumbbell Rear Lateral Raise

The dumbbell rear lateral arm raise exercises your shoulder muscles. It focuses on the posterior delt. This article describes the basic strength training technique for this exercise.

Muscles Exercised

The dumbbell rear lateral arm raise focuses on your delts. The emphasis of this exercise is on the posterior delt. It also exercises your traps and rhomboids to a degree.

Exercise Technique

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, and knees bent slightly
  • Bend at the waist until your upper body is parallel with the floor. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. Begin with the dumbbells hanging straight down.
  • As you raise the dumbbells, your elbows should be bent slightly. The angle that your elbows are bent should not change throughout the exercise.
  • Take a deep breath and raise both dumbbells simultaneously away from your body until they reach shoulder height. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to finish the repetition.
  • Lower the dumbbell in a slow, controlled fashion, exhaling as you do
  • Keep your upper body motionless as you raise the dumbbells to reduce the use of momentum to assist the delts. This will increase the effectiveness of the exercise. If you cannot raise the dumbbell using proper technique, select a lighter dumbbell.
  • Concentrate on using your delts to raise the dumbbells straight out to the side. You should not use your lats in a pulling motion as you do in a rowing exercise.
  • Do not bring the dumbbells together at the bottom – this will allow you to use momentum to begin the repetition. They should hang straight down at the end of each repetition.
  • The rear lateral arm raise should be performed with relatively light weights and high repetitions. Select a weight that you can perform all of your repetitions using proper technique. On your last 1-2 sets, your last repetitions should be difficult, but you should not have to relax your form to complete them.


The shoulder is a vulnerable joint. Take care to prevent injury to the shoulder. Use weights that you are able to control each repetition with strict form.


  • Incline Bench: Lie face down on an incline bench for the exercise to aid in keeping the upper body motionless
  • Pec Deck: The rear lateral raise is nearly the opposite of a pec fly. Sit backwards in the pec deck facing the pad. Pull the handles to the rear, squeezing your shoulder blades as you do.

Building Shoulder Strength: As with any muscle group, you need to train with balance. To build strong shoulders, you need to train the anterior, middle, and posterior delts. You also need to train supporting muscle groups such as your traps.

Additional Shoulder Exercises


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