Home » Optimal Shoulder Raise for Maximum Size – The Ultimate Guide!

Optimal Shoulder Raise for Maximum Size – The Ultimate Guide!

by Gym Slacker

Which Raise is BEST for Bigger Shoulders (THIS ONE!)

Have you ever wondered which raise is best for bigger shoulders? Look no further because in this article, we’re going to explore the different versions of the lateral raise and help you determine which one is best for you and your shoulder training. So, let’s dive in!

How NOT to Perform a Lateral Raise

Before we delve into the different versions of the lateral raise, it’s important to know how NOT to perform this exercise. Many people make the mistake of “pouring the pitcher” by internally rotating their shoulders at the top of the movement. This can lead to impingement and long-term shoulder problems. Instead, focus on keeping your thumb higher than your pinky to create external rotation and allow for more room within the shoulder joint.

Straight Arm or Bent Arm?

Now that you know the proper form for the lateral raise, let’s discuss whether it’s best to perform the exercise with a straight arm or a bent arm. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, but there are a few things to consider.

The straight arm lateral raise requires less weight to perform properly. This is because the shoulder is strongest at the bottom range of motion and weakest at the top. To increase tension on the middle deltoid, you can shorten the range of motion and perform the raises from the mid-point to the top-end. You can also try 1.5 reps to achieve the same effect.

On the other hand, the bent arm lateral raise allows you to use a heavier load due to the shortened moment arm. To find the appropriate weight for this exercise, you can take your straight arm lateral raise weight, cut it in half, and add it to the weight you were using for the straight arm version.

The Cable Lateral Raise

In addition to the straight arm and bent arm lateral raises, you can also incorporate the cable lateral raise into your shoulder workout. The straight arm cable lateral raise offers similar benefits as the straight arm dumbbell version, but with the added accommodation for the strength and resistance curves. The same principles apply to the bent arm cable lateral raise, where you can use a heavier load to create tension in the muscles.

Which Version Should You Choose?

So, which lateral raise should you include in your shoulder workout for bigger shoulders? The good news is that all of the versions discussed in this article are effective at creating tension in the deltoids. Therefore, you can choose any of them based on your personal preference and comfort.

Remember, the key to building bigger shoulders is not about the amount of weight you can lift, but rather how well you can create tension in the muscles. So, focus on proper form, implement variations of the lateral raise, and incorporate them into a comprehensive shoulder training program to achieve your desired results.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step training program that prioritizes the science behind every exercise, I highly recommend checking out our ATHLEAN-X training programs. They are designed to help you achieve optimal results and build strength effectively.

For more informative videos on how to get bigger shoulders, don’t forget to subscribe to this channel and turn on your notifications. Stay tuned for our future publications!

Remember, bigger shoulders are within your reach! Train smart, work hard, and enjoy the journey to a stronger, more sculpted physique.

Click here to subscribe to Athlean-X today!

You may also like


ATHLEAN-X™ June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Where do these exercises fall in my list of shoulder exercises ranked? You might be surprised! – https://youtu.be/tZafawk3arc

Drew Lough June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

This is the opposite of my experience… I was doing side raises like you suggest for a couple years, barely seeing any progress or gains, then I started doing the 'pour the pitcher' internal rotation and my side delts almost doubled in size within a couple months.
I'm mostly interested in sustainable strength, don't want to injure myself, so suffice to say this is confusing. Any idea why I might progress more doing something you say is 'wrong'?

John G June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Thanks in million. Great content.

CGM June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

anyone know the name of the cable machine he uses. trying to buy one

ambone71 June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Hi Jeff how much is your program.

Ricky Fiting June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Very useful info.

Abel Ajr June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Long live front raise ! rip lateral raise /

joyfull music exploring - thomas riedel June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

not harming supraspinatus should be main topic of this excercises. you never mention this tendon

sulezraz June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm Reply
SERCH June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

jeff te amo, sos el mejor

Brian T June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

The thing I like about bent-arm side raises is that at the top, there is a quasi-isometric resistance to prevent the arm from internally rotating. IE, you get some external-rotation-muscle stimulation.

However, just doing the tops — even with a respectable resistance — isn't the same as putting the the muscle into stretched contraction. I don't see any easy mechanism to fix this other than to do one set of easy-at-the-bottom straight-arm raises… but then another set of tough-at-the-bottom lateral cable raises.

DJ STOEK June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm


J Z June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Best vid ever, cables are easiest on the shoulder joint for sure. 10/10

wade marchand June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Jeff what’s your thought about hand position in the bent-over reverse fly?

Mister Spaghetti June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Hello mvp here 5:06

Stephen Chapman June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Top end Coaching

Ali Morrison June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm


smitemus June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Jeff with white pants spotted 0:23

The TRUTH June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Thanks for sharing great form

MN Nic June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm


Trucking with The Carrs June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Awesome thank you

Siberius June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Okay so from what I can gather for the lighter version:
Lateral Raise – Lean forwards a bit to get the lateral deltoid facing directly upwards (don't achieve that through internal rotation of the shoulder).

Use a light weight and go straight out sideways in line with the ground. To avoid potential tennis elbow (overloading the extensor tendons that keep your hand from flopping down), rotate the hands back a bit so as they're either on a diagonal angle relative to the ground, or in a vertical hammer-fist position, as this will instead recruit the radial deviators, which takes some or all of the load off of the extensor tendons.

VoiceOfTheSoul June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

7kg dumbbells have given me great capped delts.

I always concentrate on correct form and the negative portion.

King Sunheart June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

This is utterly fantastic. THANKS, JEFF & ATHLEAN X!

Peter N June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Saw Ben Patrick's videos on DB external rotations. After watching this and the other videos on this channel about DB lateral raises, is that ATG movement actually bad for my shoulders?

Okeson June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

I feel like I was doing this while aiming at my back workout. Was I basically doubling down? I had arm wide while focusing on making the pull close between shoulders.

I had watched the back video I found from you for the workout, but currently feel like I didn’t do it correctly.

Anthony Martino June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Always have done mine straight arm one arm at a time. Bending the arm takes load off the delt. You do have to use far less weight but it more effectively works the side delt.

try again June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

man he killed me wit the water bottle😭😭😭probably had to do it 8 times just to get the right one lmfaoooo

Augustin Garnier June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

I added a lighter load elastic band to my 5-lb weight lateral shoulder lift and it makes for a brutal shoulder-burn workout in a short time. As I will be turning 60-years old in a few months I have to be careful with the load on my joints. However, I am happy to report that I have put on 15-lbs of muscle since starting your perfectly tailored programs 3-months ago, Jeff. Thanks again!!

Lyric faith June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

My elbow always hurt doing this

Michael Alesci June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

you know he's the goat when he's got Poland Spring water in the fridge

Tonaldo June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

No mentions about when you go sideways and cable goes thru your legs :/ then it's perfectly in line

Shahin Ghasemkhani June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm


BeeeHonest June 19, 2023 - 6:27 pm

Great info, thanks!


Leave a Comment