Seated Laterals For Side Deltoids

Vince, I can’t seem to feel my side head of the delt work when I do standing lateral raises. I try turning the wrists but as the weights get heavier, I don’t seem to be able to isolate the side head. Any suggestions?

I recommend you do the lateral raise seated. This is my version of one of the fastest developers of the outside head of the deltoid. This movement cups the lateral strand and brings it to prominence.

Here is how to perform this great movement.

Sit on the end of a flat workout bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Lean forward from the hips and touch both ends of the dumbbells together under the thighs; always touch all four bells under the legs and keep the upper body in the proper position to keep the stress on the lateral head.

Hold your forward position of your body as you raise the dumbbells upward to head height. When the dumbbells reach head height or the top of the movement, be sure the back of each bell is higher than the front. This insures the side or lateral strand of receiving maximum stimulation. Try four sets of 8-12 reps, with no more than 30 seconds rest between sets.

(Musclemag Magazine October 1988)

  1. I know Vince would have disapproved (one arm at a time) but years ago I got great results from doing one arm 60-degree laterals on the incline bench. The one thing I would do is keep the bell moving in the mid-range area. By this I mean never let it go all the way down nor let it get too much above shoulder level. It kept a constant tension on the lateral/medial delts.

  2. I would like to add something to my post on 60 degree laterals. I would set the incline bench to 60-degrees and lean back on it with my shoulder and body on the non-exercising hand. I would then grasp the dumbbell with my other hand and begin my laterals. Slowly and keeping the dumbbell tilted higher where my little finger was- Vince style. I would also keep the dumbbell in a line slightly back of a line from my shoulder to emphasize the lateral delt as much as possible. The development I received from this and the way I did the Vince bent over laterals leaning forward and toughing the bells under my legs and the 15-16 in shoulder width Upright Rows- Vince style added width in a very short period of time. Strict performance Vince style with maximum weights- I often used the 10-8-6-15 progression on Bradford lifts and upright rows.

    It was hard at first but soon it became habit. I never knew how hard 25-30 pounds could be for 12-15 reps this way.

  3. Not only size but power as well. By the way I was 58 years of age when I did this. Strength. Following this method I was able to do 80-degree seated dumbbell presses with my butt to the incline board (not 8 inches out in front which make it easier) with 75s for 16 reps all way up and down.

    I had a very bad accident at work and had to be air lifted by the trauma unit in October 2012 but hope to heal one day and be able to get back into it.

  4. I like 45° incline bench laterals lying face down turning the DB:s front bell slightly upwards(45°) at the top of the movement. 🙂

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