Dumbbell Side Fly - Best Exercise Technique for Shoulder Widening

Side raises or lateral dumbbell raises are among the best exercises for your shoulders. With the correct technique, you can work the volume of the middle delts and the block of muscles of the upper back.

Learning the technique of lateral flights is essential for a beginner. Errors when doing this exercise can lead to future neck and nape pain.

Read on to find out the correct lateral fly technique and how to do this exercise to widen your shoulders.

Side Flights – Best Exercise for Shoulder Widening

Side dumbbell flights are among the best exercises for widening your shoulders and giving your upper arms a rounded shape.

Since they do not require a significant energy expenditure, the idea is to include this exercise at the end of a muscle hypertrophy routine.

In terms of repetitions, the ideal to increase muscle mass and widen the shoulders are about four sets of 10-12 repetitions. If your goal is to tone your shoulders and work on deltoid resistance, you should decrease the load by 30% and increase the number of repetitions to 15-20.

On the other hand, if you want to work on power, the ideal is about 5-7 repetitions with maximum load. In the latter case, executing a correct technique should be the main thing to avoid sports injuries.

Correct Dumbbell Lateral Raise Technique

The correct technique for dumbbell lateral raises is described below:

  1. Starting position

The body must remain upright parallel to the ground. The wrists must stay at the sides of the body, respecting the lines of the shoulders. The abdominals must remain active so that they support the spine.

  1. Grip

The grip of the dumbbells should be firm and with the palms of the hands. A beginner should ensure that the thumbs do not overlap the rest of the fingers.

  1. Boost

The trunk should remain slightly bent forward; your elbows should be bent about 10-20 degrees.

At the high point of the movement, the elbows should remain one line more elevated than the palms of the hands. The push should engage the shoulder muscles, avoiding immersing the biceps and neck.

If you notice that the weight does not allow you to give a range of movement, you should decrease it. The correct lateral raise technique should not allow the body to sway or shift the load onto the spine. Remember that you can do it slightly inclined.

If the technique has not been clear to you, you can check the following video:

Lateral raises for beginners

Recuerde que el secreto a la hora de hacer elevaciones laterales es sentir el trabajo de los músculos de los hombros, en particular de los deltoides. Este ejercicio debe realizarse consciente y a velocidad controlada. Una repetición de elevaciones laterales no debe durar menos de 10 segundos.

Los momentos más importantes de la biomecánica de los vuelos laterales son en la apertura final y en la posición inicial. Estos momentos son los que le van a dar la amplitud al movimiento y permitir darle la forma de redonda a los músculos de los hombros.

Errores comunes de elevaciones laterales con mancuernas

The main mistake of executing dumbbell lateral raises is the lack of control when lowering the dumbbells and the speed with which this exercise is performed. Swinging the dumbbells can be a problem for the shoulder joints; To avoid this, the key is to reduce weight.

Another common mistake when doing dumbbell lateral raises is keeping your back or arms straight; this places unnecessary loads on the neck muscles. The trunk should remain slightly leaning forward.

In a correct technique of lateral flights, the glance must remain towards the front. Avoid turning your neck to the side to look at yourself in the mirror is essential.

Side flights – how to do so that the neck does not hurt?

Remember that this exercise aims to improve muscles and widen the shoulders. Don’t try to go overboard with increasing loads, but rather focus on technique. This is the only way to make the neck painless.

The dumbbells should rise slowly until they reach the shoulder line when doing lateral raises. The palms of the hands at the high point can face the ground or to the sides (with the thumb pointing down).

What muscles are worked when doing lateral raises?

When doing lateral raises, the muscles of the shoulders and deltoids are mainly worked; These muscles are the ones that should lift the weight of the dumbbells. The biceps and core muscles are also exercised to a lesser degree.

In addition, the lateral raises can be combined with the abdominal planks in the breaks to prevent the body from cooling down. Suppose you are still at the beginner level. It is not recommended, but if you already feel that lateral raises are not a problem in your routine, consider combining the two exercises.

Lateral raises and military press – the best exercises for delts

Lateral raises and the barbell military press are among the best exercises for the deltoid muscles. If your goal is to broaden your shoulders, the best strategy is to combine the military press with dumbbell lateral raises.

Also, the front of the shoulder muscles (the deltoids) are involved during exercises that involve the chest. To ensure muscle growth of the shoulder muscles, combining them on the same day in the gym routine is convenient. For example, we were performing lateral raises with a bench press alternately.

Is it dangerous to do lateral dumbbell flights?

Dumbbell flys or lateral raises are considered the most dangerous exercise for the shoulder joints if performed with incorrect technique. It is essential to mention that the risk increases when running it with large loads. Don’t try to be overweight, especially if you are starting the gym.

At the end of the dumbbell flights, take a minute to relax your joints. Stretch and pay special attention to how your muscles relax. If you feel uncomfortable doing this exercise, ask a fitness professional for help. Never forget to warm up before doing this exercise.


Dumbbell raises, or lateral flights, are among the best exercises to work and widen the shoulders.

Executing lateral flights with the correct technique is essential to avoid injury. The ideal is to point the thumbs down, fixing the core and slight inclination of the trunk and arms.

Exceeding the weight is a common mistake among beginners, as is fully stretching the arms and not tightening the abdomen.

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