Tip: A Better Way to Do Lateral Raises

This method involves doing 5 reps followed by a 5-second hold at the top, then 4 reps with a 4-second hold, then 3, 2, and 1 in the same manner.

Don't Chase Weight on Laterals

Don't focus on adding weight with lateral raises. Sure, you'll be able to bump up the weights a little as a newbie, but most people plateau quickly. Adding more and more weight just mean using worse and worse form. Did you get stronger or just cheat more?

Do This Instead

Keep the weight for lateral raises lighter and focus on maintaining good form with your arms reasonably straight and body English kept to a minimum. If you use some momentum on the last couple reps of a set, that's one thing, but if you're cheating from the start, the weight is too heavy.

Instead of chasing weight increases, try to increase the reps or the volume, adding in a few sets here and there or doing them an extra day per week.

Countdown Lateral Raise

Start by choosing a set number of reps, usually somewhere between 4 and 6. However many reps you started with, you'll immediately follow that up with an isometric hold, held for an equivalent number of seconds. Then you begin the countdown, all the way down to 1 rep.

A set that starts with 5 reps would look like this:

  • 5 reps
  • 5-second hold at the top
  • 4 reps
  • 4-second hold at the top
  • 3 reps
  • 3-second hold at the top
  • 2 reps
  • 2-second hold at the top
  • 1 rep
  • 1-second hold at the top