Side Delt Exercises for Mass: Unleashing Your Shoulder Potential

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By bulksupplementsdirect

Side Deltoid Trraining

Table of Contents

You’ve been hammering your side delts with dumbbell lateral raises and push presses, but they are still stubborn and not growing as fast as you want, right?


Well, that’s about to change! After reading this post, you’ll be on a path to huge delts and will know exactly what to do to get your shoulders growing!


But let me quickly share with you some reasons why your side deltoids may not be growing:


  • You’ve been focusing on your front and rear delt exercises too much


  • You’ve misunderstood how side delt exercises can up your lifting game


  • You may not be using the progressive overload principle for muscle gain


  • You’ve overlooked the visual appeal of well-built side delts for that coveted V-taper look (ok! ok! Maybe not!)


Now, it’s time to remedy that!


You will get over 20 years of training wisdom (and results) so that you don’t need to “trial and error” things!


So, let’s dive into the world of the shoulders and deltoids.


In this post, I’ll tackle everything from the best side delt exercises for mass to how many side delt exercises you should do for optimal results. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be able to put together the best shoulder and delt training plan to pack on some serious muscle size to your upper body.


Ready to unleash your shoulder potential? Let’s rock those side delts!


Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Muscle Building Guide <<<

Understanding the Anatomy of the Deltoid

Before I jump into side delt exercises, let’s take a quick tour of the deltoid muscle, your shoulder’s very own superhero.


I want you to understand what each delts do, as knowing this will enable you to create your mind-muscle link, which I’ll get into later!


So, the delts!, they are divided into three parts: the front (anterior), side (lateral), and rear (posterior) deltoids. Each part has a special role to play in your shoulder movement and overall aesthetics.


  • Anterior Deltoid: This front guy pitches in when you do chest exercises or raise your arm forward.


  • Posterior Deltoid: Your back delt comes alive when you’re pulling movements or lifting your arm backwards.


  • Lateral Deltoid: Our superstar, the side delt, comes into play when lifting your arm to the side.


But the kicker-side delt exercises are not just about improving your strength. They’re integral to that broad-shouldered look that can make you stand out in any gym selfie or beach shot.


Well-developed side delts give your shoulders a rounded, full look.


So whether you aim to hoist more weight in the gym, perfect your front and rear delt exercises, or turn heads with your sculpted shoulders, giving your side delts the attention they deserve is the way to go!


So, are you ready to explore the best side delt exercises for hugeness and elevate your shoulder game?


Awesome! Let’s get to it!


Side Delt Laterals

Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Arm Training <<<

The Science of Building Mass in the Side Deltoids

To get the most out of your shoulder training, I want to ensure you understand some of the science that plays into it.


It’s not just about hitting the gym and doing various shoulder exercises.


Understanding the science behind muscle hypertrophy is your ticket to maximizing gains.


Muscle hypertrophy refers to the growth of muscle cells. It’s like a superhero transformation for your muscle fibers, making them bigger and stronger.


Here’s how it works:


  • Mechanical Tension: This is all about lifting heavy and challenging your muscles with progressive overload. Your side delt exercises should be no exception. The more you push, the more your muscles grow. But that holds only if your form is perfect! Half reps mean half muscles!


  • Metabolic Stress: Ever felt that burning sensation during your last rep of side delt exercises dumbbell raises? That’s metabolic stress, a sign you’re on the right track for muscle growth.


But remember, we’re all unique. Your genetic makeup can influence how quickly and easily you build muscle. So, some of us might have to work a little harder at those side delt exercises.


Don’t forget the fuel! Good side delt exercises are just part of the equation. Nutrition plays a crucial role in muscle growth. It’s like the quality timber that helps build a robust house – get enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats to support your training (but more on that later!)


Recommended Read: >>> Is It Possible to Increase Wrist Size<<<

Fundamentals of a Good Side Delt Workout

Before we dive in, let’s get our basics right.


Here’s the golden trio of a successful side delt workout:


  • Form and Technique: You’ve heard it a million times, but we’ll say it again – form is crucial. Correct form in your side delt exercises ensures that the right muscles are engaged while reducing the risk of injury. So, whether it’s dumbbell side delt exercises or side delt cable exercises, always prioritize form over weight.


  • Volume and Intensity: Here’s where things get interesting. Balancing the volume (how many reps and sets you do) and intensity (how heavy you lift) is like a delicate dance. Don’t avoid lifting heavy in your side delt exercises, but remember to keep the volume in check to avoid overtraining.


  • Progressive Overload: Want to see growth? Keep challenging your muscles. Gradually increasing the weight, volume, or intensity of your side delt exercises is key to muscle hypertrophy.


Variety is the spice of life, and your side delt workouts are no exception. Incorporating a range of exercises – from side delt dumbbell exercises to bodyweight side delt exercises – can stimulate growth and keep those muscles guessing.


So, buckle up, and let’s dive into some of the best side delt exercises for mass! Your journey to shoulder domination starts here.


Meet the Side Delt Exercises: A Comprehensive List of 10 Shoulder Builders

Below I have outlined 10 of the most effective delt exercises that will pack size, strength and width to your shoulder muscles.


Exercise Name

Sets and Reps

Muscles Worked


Dumbbell Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Improved shoulder stability, enhanced aesthetic appeal, increased shoulder strength

Seated Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Enables focus on side delts, reduces use of momentum, increased shoulder strength

Upright Rows

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts, Trapezius

Improved shoulder and upper back strength, better posture

Cable Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Consistent tension on the muscle, enhanced muscle definition

Machine Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Controlled movement, good for beginners, easy to increase weight progressively

Leaning Dumbbell Lateral Raise

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Increased range of motion, added variety to workout

Arnold Presses

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts, Front Delts, Rear Delts

Full shoulder workout, improved overall shoulder strength and stability

Face Pulls

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts, Rear Delts, Trapezius

Improved shoulder health, counteracts pressing movements

Battle Ropes

3-4 sets, 30 sec – 1 min

Side Delts, Full Body

Improved cardio, full body workout, functional training

Band Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Portable and convenient, easy to adjust difficulty, suitable for home workouts


Recommended Read: >>> Should You Take A Pre-workout Before Cardio? Pre Workout Cardio Tips <<<

#1 Dumbbell Lateral Raises: Form Over Fame, Always

Dumbbell lateral raises might not be the star of the show, but they’re a steady, reliable player when it comes to side delt training.


Description of the Exercise:


Dumbbell lateral raises are a simple yet effective movement that involves raising dumbbells out to your sides. It’s all about control and finesse, not brute force.


Muscles Worked:


This exercise primarily targets your side deltoids, but your traps and upper back muscles also join the party.


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand, arms fully extended, and palms facing inward.

  2. Keeping your torso still, lift the dumbbells out to your sides, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows and tilting the hands slightly forward.

  3. Continue the movement until your arms are parallel to the floor. Breathe out as you perform this movement and hold for a moment at the top.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Aim for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Remember, this exercise isn’t about lifting heavy but about perfecting the form.


Tips To Help:


  • Engage your core throughout the exercise.


  • Resist the urge to use your back or to swing the weights. Your side delts should be doing the work.


  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows to prevent strain.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • Dumbbell lateral raises are an ideal way to isolate and target your side delts, contributing to noticeable muscle growth.


  • The exercise also enhances shoulder stability and overall strength, which are beneficial for other lifts and daily tasks.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • If performed incorrectly, there’s a risk of shoulder impingement, so the form is crucial.


  • Beginners might find it challenging to maintain the right form initially.


#2 Seated Lateral Raises: A Comfortable Yet Effective Challenge

Next up on the side delt exercise roster, we have seated lateral raises. Don’t let the ‘seated’ part fool you; this exercise is no walk in the park.


Description of the Exercise:


Seated lateral raises are like the sibling to standing lateral raises. The only difference? You’re sitting down. This position allows for more focused and controlled movements.


Muscles Worked:


Like their standing counterpart, seated lateral raises primarily target your side delts. Your upper traps and supraspinatus also get a bit of a workout.


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Sit on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.

  2. With a slight bend in your elbows, lift the weights out to your sides until your arms are parallel with the floor.

  3. Lower the weights back down with control. That’s one rep.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Aim for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Remember, quality trumps quantity, so don’t rush through your reps.


Tips To Help:


  • Keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the exercise.


  • Avoid using momentum to lift the weights. Let your muscles do the work.


  • Remember to breathe. Exhale as you lift the weights, and inhale as you lower them.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • Seated lateral raises are great for isolating the side delts, promoting muscle growth.


  • They can improve your shoulder stability, which is beneficial for other lifts and daily activities.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • As with any exercise, form is crucial. If not performed correctly, there’s a risk of shoulder strain.


  • The seated position may limit the amount of weight you can lift compared to standing exercises.


#3 Upright Rows: The Underdog of Side Delt Exercises

Recommended Read: >>> Dips at home <<<

The upright row may not be the first exercise that comes to mind for side delt development, but it’s ready to step into the limelight.


Description of the Exercise:


Upright rows involve pulling a barbell or dumbbells vertically up the front of your body, close to your torso. Picture yourself as a marionette and your arms are the strings. Except, you’re the puppet master here.


Muscles Worked:


Upright rows are a compound exercise working multiple muscles, including your side delts, traps, and the smaller muscles of the rotator cuff.


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell or pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip.

  2. Pull the weight up to your chest, keeping it close to your body.

  3. Lower the weight with control. That’s one rep.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Shoot for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps. Remember, it’s not a race. Take your time with each rep.


Tips To Help:


  • Always maintain a straight back and engaged core.


  • Don’t allow your wrists to bend; keep them in line with your forearms.


  • Avoid lifting the bar above your chest to prevent shoulder impingement.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • Upright rows are a compound exercise, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at once.


  • They can improve upper body strength and stability, which can assist with other lifts and daily activities.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • There’s a potential risk of shoulder impingement if not done correctly.


  • It may not be suitable for individuals with pre-existing shoulder issues.


#4 Cable Lateral Raises: Because Your Side Delts Love a Good Pull

If you’re a fan of the resistance that cable machines offer (and your side delts are), cable lateral raises should be on your list.


Description of the Exercise:


Cable lateral raises are similar to dumbbell lateral raises, but with a cable machine, providing constant tension for your muscles. You’ll look like a graceful bird taking off, minus the feathers.


Muscles Worked:


Cable lateral raises primarily target your side delts, but your rear delts, traps, and rotator cuff muscles will also get in on the action.


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Stand sideways to a cable machine with the cable set at the lowest level.

  2. With a slight bend in your elbow, lift the cable out to your side until your arm is parallel with the floor.

  3. Lower the cable back down with control. That’s one rep.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Aim for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps, focusing on maintaining good form throughout.


Tips To Help:


  • Keep your core engaged and back straight.


  • Avoid using your body to swing the weight; let your side delts do the lifting.


  • Control the cable on the way down. No free falls here, please.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • Cable lateral raises provide constant tension, potentially leading to greater muscle growth.


  • The cable machine offers a level of stability, which can help maintain form.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • The cable machine can be intimidating for beginners. Don’t worry, it doesn’t bite.


  • If not done correctly, there’s a risk of shoulder strain or injury.


Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Shoulder Training <<<

#5 Machine Lateral Raises: Let's Put Those Fancy Gym Machines to Good Use

Got a lateral raise machine at your gym? It’s time to acquaint yourself with this side delt-building marvel.t


Description of the Exercise:


Machine lateral raises, as the name suggests, are performed using a lateral raise machine. It’s like arm wrestling, but the machine always lets you win.


Muscles Worked:


This exercise primarily targets your side delts, but your upper traps and supraspinatus (one of the rotator cuff muscles) also get a piece of the action.


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Adjust the machine’s seat height so the pads align with your shoulders.

  2. Grasp the handles and lift your arms out to the sides until they’re level with your shoulders.

  3. Lower back down with control. Boom, that’s one rep.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Aim for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Remember, the machine is there to help, not to rush you.


Tips To Help:


  • Keep your back flat against the backrest.


  • Lift and lower with control; the machine isn’t going anywhere.


  • Avoid lifting past shoulder level to prevent straining your rotator cuff.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • The machine provides stability, which can be helpful for beginners or those with balance issues.


  • It allows for easy load adjustments, making it a suitable option for progressive overload.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • The fixed path of motion may not suit all individuals’ shoulder mechanics.


  • The machine’s availability may vary depending on your gym.


#6 Leaning Dumbbell Lateral Raise: Adding a Fun Twist to Your Routine

Recommended Read: >>> Kettlebells For Fat Loss: Your Ultimate Fat Burning Exercise <<<

If you’re feeling a bit adventurous or want to mix things up, the leaning dumbbell lateral raise is your ticket to excitement.


Description of the Exercise:


Leaning dumbbell lateral raises are essentially a one-armed version of the standard lateral raise, but with a fun twist: you’re leaning. Don’t worry, this isn’t a sideways move in your career.


Muscles Worked:


You’ll be targeting your side delts primarily, but your traps and rotator cuff muscles will also feel the love.


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Stand next to a sturdy upright object (like a post or machine) and hold on with one hand.

  2. Lean away from the object, holding a dumbbell in your free hand.

  3. With a slight bend in your elbow, lift the dumbbell out to your side until your arm is parallel with the floor.

  4. Lower the weight back down with control. There’s one rep.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Aim for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Remember, it’s not a race, unless you’re racing against poor form.


Tips To Help:


  • Keep your body straight while leaning.


  • Avoid letting the dumbbell swing; control is key here.


  • Engage your core for stability.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • The leaning position isolates the side delts more effectively.


  • It can add a refreshing twist to your regular side delt workout.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • It requires a certain level of balance and core strength.


  • Not ideal if you have back issues or vertigo.


#7 Arnold Presses: A Nod to the Terminator's Shoulder Workouts

If there’s a shoulder exercise that deserves a standing ovation, it’s the Arnold Press. Named after the legend himself, this move is like a blockbuster for your delts.


Description of the Exercise:


The Arnold Press is a variation of the traditional shoulder press, but with a twist (literally). You start with your palms facing you and end with them facing outwards.


Muscles Worked:


This exercise targets all three heads of your deltoids. So, it’s like a house party for your shoulders, and everyone’s invited.


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Sit on a bench with back support, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level, palms facing your body.

  2. As you press the dumbbells up, rotate your hands until your palms face forward.

  3. Pause at the top, then slowly reverse the movement. And that’s one rep, folks.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Try for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Remember, “I’ll be back” is only cool if you’re talking about proper form and control.


Tips To Help:


  • Don’t rush the rotation. This isn’t a speed dating event.


  • Keep your back flat against the bench.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • It works all parts of your deltoids, making it a comprehensive shoulder exercise.


  • This exercise also engages your upper chest and triceps.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • If you have shoulder issues, this might not be your best bet.


  • It requires a fair bit of coordination, so beginners might need some practice.


Recommended Read: >>> Arnold Back Workout: How to Make Your Back Huge! <<<

#8 Face Pulls: Side Delt Exercise or Beauty Routine? You Decide

Face Pulls – contrary to what the name suggests, it’s not a new skincare routine. Instead, it’s a fantastic exercise to work those side delts and make them pop!


Description of the Exercise:


Face Pulls are a cable exercise targeting the posterior delts and the upper back muscles. They’re named such because you’re literally pulling the cable towards your face.


Muscles Worked:


While Face Pulls primarily target the posterior deltoid, they also work your side delts, traps, and rhomboids. So, it’s a win-win-win-win!


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Stand in front of a cable machine with a rope attached at head height.

  2. Grab the ends of the rope with an overhand grip, step back, and pull the rope towards your face.

  3. Return to the starting position. Congrats, you’ve just completed one rep!


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Opt for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Your delts are going to thank you. (Well, not literally, but you get the idea.)


Tips To Help:


  • Keep your elbows higher than your hands throughout the exercise.


  • Don’t let the cable machine yank you forward. Stay rooted.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • This exercise targets the often neglected posterior deltoid, improving overall shoulder balance.


  • It also helps improve your posture. Stand tall, champ!


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • If done incorrectly, it can strain your neck and shoulders.


  • It requires access to a cable machine, which not everyone might have at home.


9 Battle Ropes: Functional Training for the Win (and the Burn)

Battle ropes – they’re not just for medieval knights, they’re for everyone who’s serious about their side delt exercises!


Description of the Exercise:


Battle ropes are heavy-duty ropes that you slam, whip, drag, or move in waves for a high-intensity workout. They’re not your average jump ropes, that’s for sure.


Muscles Worked:


While working your entire upper body, battle ropes also put a focus on your side delts. They’re also great for your core, so it’s a two-for-one deal!


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Stand facing the anchor point of the rope with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  2. Grasp the ends of the rope in each hand.

  3. Create waves with the rope by raising and lowering your arms.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Try three rounds of 30 seconds each. If you feel like Hercules afterwards, don’t blame us!


Tips To Help:


  • Keep your core engaged and your back straight.


  • Go for intensity over duration. It’s about quality, not quantity.


Benefits Of This Exercise


  • They provide a full-body workout, with an emphasis on your side delts.


  • They’re great for improving cardiovascular endurance. Who needs a treadmill, right?


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


  • The ropes can be heavy and challenging for beginners.


  • They require a fair amount of space and specialized equipment.


#10 Band Lateral Raises: Your Side Delts’ Best Travel Buddy

When the gym is a no-go, or you’re on the road, band lateral raises step in to save your side delts from boredom.


Description of the Exercise:


Band lateral raises are a resistance exercise that targets your side delt muscles, performed with a stretchy resistance band that can easily fit in your pocket.


Muscles Worked:


No prizes for guessing that the star of the show here is your side deltoids. However, your traps and upper back muscles do get an honorary mention.


How To Perform The Exercise:


  1. Stand on the center of the band, feet shoulder-width apart.

  2. Hold the ends of the band, palms facing in.

  3. Raise your arms to the side until they’re parallel to the floor, then lower.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


Three sets of 10-12 reps should do the trick. And no, doing it in front of a mirror doesn’t count as an extra set.


Tips To Help:


  • Keep your movements slow and controlled. No flapping around like a startled bird.


  • Make sure to maintain tension in the band throughout the exercise.


Benefits Of This Exercise:


  • Portable and convenient. Your side delt exercises can follow you anywhere.


  • It provides constant tension, increasing the effectiveness of the exercise.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise:


  • Resistance bands can snap if not taken care of properly.


  • The resistance might not be sufficient for advanced lifters looking for a heavy pump.


Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Leg Training <<<

Advanced Side Delt Exercise Tips!

So now that I’ve gone through the top exercises, I want to share some advanced tips that you can add to your arsenal.


The deltoids, like all our muscles, adapt very quickly and experience shows me that in 6 weeks, if you arent switching things up, then you are likely to walk down the path of a plateau.


Plateaus can lead to stagnation and boredom, and I want you to avoid that at all costs.


To push past plateaus and keep those side delts growing, add some spice to your workouts. And by spice, I mean advanced techniques like drop sets, supersets, and more.


  • Drop Sets: Imagine this – you’ve just completed a set of heavy side delt dumbbell exercises. Instead of resting, you immediately reduce the weight and pump out more reps until failure. That’s a drop set, and it’s a fantastic way to maximize muscle hypertrophy.


  • Supersets: This is where you perform two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. Try combining a heavy compound movement (like a shoulder press) with a side delt isolation exercise for a killer superset.


But remember, these techniques are not for the faint-hearted! They demand more from your muscles and can tax your nervous system, so ensure you have your nutrition and recovery strategies in place.


Functional Training and Side Delt Development

I’ve talked a lot about side delt exercises for mass, but let’s not forget about function.


Building strong, functional shoulders not only enhances your performance in other lifts but also supports everyday activities. So, it’s time to incorporate some functional training into your side delt workout.


Functional training is all about exercises that mimic everyday movements, making you stronger, fitter, and more efficient. Here are a few functional exercises that work your side delts:


  • Farmer’s Walks: Just like carrying groceries, this exercise works your entire shoulder girdle, including your side delts.


  • Kettlebell Swings: A total-body exercise that involves a powerful thrusting movement, engaging your side delts.


  • Push Presses: This compound movement involves your whole body but gives your side delts a fantastic workout.


Functional training’s benefits are immense – improved posture, better movement efficiency, and reduced risk of injury. And when it comes to side delt exercises, functional training can help you build both mass and strength, so you’re not just looking good, you’re also strong and stable.



So, feel free to add functional movements with your side delt exercises. They will keep the muscles guessing and reduce boredom settling in!


Importance of Nutrition for Side Delt Growth

We are what we eat!” – never has such a truth been so true! (does that even make sense! who cares!)


Our diets determine what our bodies will do regarding performance and gains. Feed your body rubbish and expect to get minimal results.


Here’s why nutrition is key for muscle growth:


  • Protein Power: You’ve probably heard that protein is the building block of muscles. It’s true! Consuming adequate protein helps repair the muscle fibers broken down during your side delt exercises, facilitating growth.


  • Macronutrient Magic: While protein is essential, don’t overlook carbs and fats. Carbs provide the energy for your workouts, and fats support hormone production, including testosterone, which plays a role in muscle growth. Aim for a balance, with around 40% of your calories from carbs, 30% from protein, and 30% from fats.


  • Foodie Favorables: Some specific foods can aid in muscle recovery and growth. Lean meats, eggs, and fish are excellent protein sources. Quinoa and brown rice can provide slow-releasing carbs, while avocados and nuts provide healthy fats.


Remember, nutrition and training go hand in hand. You can’t out-train a bad diet, and even the best side delt exercises won’t lead to growth without proper nutrition. So, fuel up right and watch those side delts grow!


Recommended Read: >>> 5 Shoulder Workout Supersets For Massive Delts! <<<

Rest and Recovery for Optimal Growth

Let’s pause on side delt exercises for a moment and discuss something equally important: rest and recovery. Because believe it or not, those side delts of yours grow not during your workout, but when you’re resting.


Here’s why:


  • Rest for Growth: You see, when you perform those challenging side delt exercises, you’re causing microscopic damage to your muscle fibers. It’s during rest that your body repairs and rebuilds these fibers, making them larger and stronger than before.


  • Recovery Strategies: So, how do you maximize this recovery? First up, sleep. It’s when most of your muscle repair happens, so aim for 7-9 hours a night. Next, consider active recovery. This isn’t about pumping out more reps of your side delt exercises, but gentle activities like walking or yoga that promote blood flow and hasten recovery.


The takeaway here? You don’t grow in the gym; you grow in bed, snoozing. So, make sure you balance your side delt exercises with proper rest and recovery. Because, as they say, there’s no such thing as overtraining, only under-recovering!


Side Delt Flexing

Recommended Read: >>> Lat Pushdowns: The Secret to a Strong and Defined Back <<<

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

It’s time for some real talk. Even with the best side delt exercises, we can stumble on our muscle-building journey. But fear not, because I’ve got your back, or should I say your delts!


Here are some common pitfalls and how to dodge them:


  • Form Fiasco: Incorrect form can not only hamper your muscle growth but also lead to injuries. Always prioritize quality over quantity. For side delt exercises, ensure your movements are controlled, and your core is engaged. And hey, there’s no shame in seeking help from a trainer!


  • Overtraining Overkill: Remember, your muscles grow when you rest, not when you’re doing a thousand reps of side delt exercises. Listen to your body. Pain, constant fatigue, and decreased performance can all be signs of overtraining.


  • Plateau Problems: You’re doing everything right, but your side delts refuse to grow. Sound familiar? It’s called a plateau, and it’s more common than you think. Overcoming it involves changing your workout routine, adjusting your nutrition, or simply giving your body more rest.


Remember, muscle growth is a journey, not a race. Be patient, avoid these pitfalls, and trust the process. Your side delt potential is waiting to be unleashed!


Workout Program: Structuring Your Side Delt Workouts

Right, time to bring it all together.


With a treasure trove of side delt exercises and tips under your belt, let’s talk about how to incorporate them into a weekly workout routine. Because as the saying goes, it’s not about having time, it’s about making time.


  • Workout Plan: A balanced workout week should ideally include 1-2 side delt focused sessions. Remember, our goal is muscle growth, so volume (total reps and sets) matters. Try starting with 3 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise. And hey, don’t forget to mix up your side delt exercises to keep those muscles guessing!


  • Intensity and Volume: As for intensity, aim to lift a weight that challenges you but still allows you to maintain correct form. Gradually increase your weights as you progress – the magic word here is ‘progressive overload’.


  • Frequency: You might be eager to work those side delts daily, but remember our chat about rest? Yes, those muscles need time to recover and grow. So, balance your high-intensity side delt days with lower-intensity or rest days.


With these considerations in mind, you’re ready to structure your own side delt smashing routine.


Tips to Enhance Your Side Delt Training

Now I want to bring you into the advanced shoulder training fold!


Ready to take your side delt training to the next level?


Here are some pro tips that can make all the difference between good and great:


  • Mind-Muscle Connection: This isn’t some zen stuff, folks. It’s about focusing your attention on the muscle you’re working on during those side delt exercises. Feel the burn, embrace the tension, and imagine your delts growing with each rep. Because, believe it or not, where the mind goes, the muscle follows.


  • Slow and Steady: Regarding side delt exercises, speed isn’t your friend. Slow, controlled movements not only reduce the risk of injury but also maximize muscle tension. So, think less ‘Flash’ and more ‘Tortoise’.


  • Warm-ups and Cool-downs: Don’t skip these! Warm-ups prime your muscles for the workout ahead, and cool-downs help your body recover post-workout. A few minutes of dynamic stretches before and after your side delt exercises can go a long way.


Remember these tips during your next workout session. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about doing side delt exercises but doing them right.


3 Side Delt Training Plans For You

Below I have created three training plans you can use depending on your experience level.


The goal of these plans is to focus on the side deltoid development, so performing them once per week will be more than enough to see results.


Don’t worry too much about the front and rear delts if your wider training regime has chest and back training, as they will get worked.


The key is to perform the workouts below for 4 to 6 weeks so that the side delt gets prioritization.


Beginner Side Delts Workout

Exercise Name

Sets and Reps

Training Tips

Warm Up

5-10 minutes

5-10 minutes of light cardio and dynamic stretching

Machine Lateral Raises

2 sets, 10 Reps

Keep your movements controlled and slow

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

2 sets, 10 Reps

Maintain a slight bend in your elbows, raise to shoulder height only

Seated Lateral Raises

2 sets, 10 Reps

Use a lighter weight than standing raises, focus on muscle contraction.

Band Lateral Raises

2 sets, 10 Reps

Stretch the band to a comfortable tension, not too tight

Intermediate Side Delts Workout

Exercise Name

Sets and Reps

Training Tips

Warm Up

5-10 minutes

5-10 minutes of light cardio and dynamic stretching

Arnold Presses

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Rotate your wrists as you lift, and keep your back straight.

Cable Lateral Raises

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Maintain constant tension on the cable; avoid swinging your body.

Leaning Dumbbell Lateral Raise

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Lean away from the supporting hand for a greater range of motion.

Upright Rows

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Keep your hands close to your body, lift to your chest

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Maintain a slight bend in your elbows, raise to shoulder height only.

Advanced Side Delts Workout

Exercise Name

Sets and Reps

Training Tips

Warm Up

5-10 minutes

Choose a light cardio activity to increase heart rate.

Arnold Presses

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Rotate your wrists as you lift, and keep your back straight.

Cable Lateral Raises

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Maintain constant tension on the cable; avoid swinging your body.

Leaning Dumbbell Lateral Raise

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Lean away from the supporting hand for a greater range of motion.

Face Pulls

2 sets, 12-15 reps

Keep your elbows high, and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the movement’s peak.

Battle Ropes

2 sets, 30 sec – 1 min

Maintain a steady rhythm, engage your core

Upright Rows

2 sets, 10-15 reps

Keep your hands close to your body, lift to your chest.

Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Back Training <<<

FAQs On Side Delt Workouts and Exercises

What's the best way to work on side deltoids?

You can target your side deltoids by performing exercises like lateral raises, overhead presses, and upright rows. These exercises put the focus on your side deltoids.

How do I properly work out my lateral delts?

To effectively train your lateral delts, maintain a focus on form over heavy weight and include exercises such as lateral raises, upright rows, and shoulder presses in your routine.

Which muscles do the lateral delts help to move?

The lateral deltoids are primarily responsible for moving your arms out to the side, a movement called abduction. They also assist in other shoulder movements.

What are rear and side delts exactly?

The rear and side delts are parts of your deltoid muscle, located on your shoulder. The side delt, or lateral delt, aids in lifting your arm to the side, while the rear delt, or posterior delt, helps pull your arm back.

Can working out my rear delts make me appear larger?

Yes, well-developed rear delts can contribute to a balanced, muscular appearance, giving the illusion of a wider upper body.

Do side delts add to the width of my body?

Yes, developing your side delts can make your upper body look wider. They contribute to the ‘V’ shape physique, creating an illusion of a smaller waist.

What are some of the best lateral deltoid exercises for shoulder mobility?

The best lateral deltoid exercises that also improve shoulder mobility include the overhead press, seated dumbbell military press, barbell upright rows, and cable lateral raise. These exercises target your shoulder muscles, particularly the lateral and anterior deltoids, and involve shoulder abduction, which is great for mobility.

What role do lateral deltoids play in upper arm movement?

The lateral deltoid is a significant muscle in the upper arm that aids in the abduction of the arm at the shoulder joint. When you lift your arm to the side until it’s at shoulder height, it’s primarily your lateral deltoid at work.

Can lateral deltoid exercises help me achieve broad shoulders?

Yes, indeed! Exercises such as the overhead press, dumbbell armpit row, and lateral raises are some of the best exercises for sculpting wide, toned shoulders. Including the incline bench press and behind the neck press in your shoulder workout can also help promote growth in the deltoid muscles, especially the lateral and medial deltoid.

How can I perform lateral deltoid exercises with proper form?

Start with your elbow slightly bent, gripping your dumbbell or barbell firmly. For exercises like the lying dumbbell lateral raise or the barbell upright row, raise the weight to your shoulder height, keeping your upper arms close to your body. For the one arm cable lateral raise, stand with your upper thigh close to the cable machine, keeping your other arm steady for balance.

What are some lateral delt training tips to avoid shoulder pain?

Always warm up before starting your workout to prepare your shoulder joint and muscles. Make sure you’re lifting a weight that’s appropriate for your strength level to prevent strain. Lastly, maintaining good form, like keeping your elbow slightly bent during lateral raises, is crucial to avoid injury.

Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Fat Loss <<<

What's the importance of the rear deltoid in shoulder workouts?

The rear deltoid, while often overlooked, is crucial for achieving balanced shoulder muscles and preventing imbalances that can lead to shoulder pain. Incorporating exercises like the dumbbell armpit row and the one arm cable lateral raise, which target the rear deltoid, can help maintain this balance.

What does a shoulder workout superset entail?

A shoulder workout superset involves performing two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. This method not only increases the intensity of the workout but also saves time.

What are some examples of compound shoulder exercises?

Compound shoulder exercises work multiple muscles simultaneously. Examples include overhead press, push press, and Arnold press.

Can you suggest a combined leg and shoulder workout routine?

A leg and shoulder workout might involve alternating between leg exercises like squats or lunges, and shoulder exercises like lateral raises or overhead presses.

What's the concept behind a shoulder circuit workout?

A shoulder circuit workout is designed to challenge the shoulders from multiple angles, using a series of exercises performed one after the other with minimal rest.

How can I effectively target my front deltoids with front deltoid exercises?

Front deltoid exercises like the front dumbbell raise or barbell military press can help strengthen and define the front part of the shoulder.

What's the best way to use a rear delt dumbbell for shoulder workouts?

The bent-over reverse fly is a great exercise for the rear delts. It involves holding a dumbbell in each hand, bending at the waist, and raising the arms out to the sides.

Can you recommend an effective rear delt cable fly exercise?

For the rear delt cable fly, stand in the middle of a cable machine, cross the cables, and pull the handles out to your sides. This exercise targets the rear delts effectively.

What exercises should I perform if I want to learn how to get broader shoulders?

To get broader shoulders, you can incorporate exercises like lateral raises, overhead presses, and upright rows into your routine. These exercises target the shoulder muscles and can help enhance their width and definition.

Recommended Read: >>> How to Get Bigger Forearms Fast <<<

Closing Thoughts On Side Shoulder Exercises

Well, folks, we’ve covered quite the ground today, haven’t we?


From understanding the deltoid anatomy, to the science behind muscle growth, to the plethora of side delt exercises we’ve discussed – we’ve got you well-equipped for your journey towards more robust shoulders.


In summary:


  • Anatomy and Science: The side delts are crucial not just for a well-rounded physique, but also for your physical performance. Building mass in your side delts involves understanding and applying principles of muscle hypertrophy.


  • Workout Fundamentals: Correct form, intensity, volume, progressive overload, and workout variety are key for effective side delt workouts.


  • Advanced Techniques and Functional Training: Techniques like drop sets, supersets and functional exercises can push past plateaus and contribute to overall shoulder health.


  • Nutrition and Recovery: Don’t underestimate the power of good nutrition and adequate rest. Your muscles grow outside the gym too!


  • Common Pitfalls: Avoid incorrect form, overtraining, and understand how to overcome plateaus for sustainable progress.


  • Workout Program: Incorporate side delt exercises in your weekly routine considering frequency, volume, and intensity.


  • Enhancing Training: Mind-muscle connection, slow movements, and warm-ups and cool-downs can significantly enhance your training.


Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your side delts be. But with consistent effort, a well-structured workout program, and a sprinkle of grit and determination, you’re well on your way to unleashing your shoulder potential.


So, here’s to you and your journey towards more robust shoulders. Now, go conquer those side delt exercises!


Side Delt Exercises

Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Chest Training <<<

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