BEST SIDE DELT EXERCISES: HIGH INCLINE BENCH SIDE LATERALS

incline bench side laterals

In my most recent post I discussed in detail the proper form for executing a basic side lateral raise and outlined 7 common side lateral raise mistakes that anyone looking to maximize their side delt development should avoid.

This exercise is without a doubt the most important movement out there when it comes to building up overall shoulder width and roundness, and proper technique is a must if you really want to get the most out of the lift.

In today’s post I’ll be continuing the topic of effective side delt training by introducing you to an awesome side lateral raise variation (and one of the very best side delt exercises out there) known as the “high incline bench side lateral”. (I don’t believe these actually have an official name and you’ll see them being referred to in a variety of different ways)

This exercise is performed in the exact same way as a regular standing side lateral raise, except that you’ll be leaning your upper body against an incline bench.

Having your body pressed against the bench in a forward leaning position prevents you from using momentum to “swing” the weights back, and this forces you into a stricter movement pattern that maximizes the tension on the shoulders.

So, if you’re having trouble really “feeling it” in your side delts during your regular side lateral raises, or if you just want a new exercise to incorporate into your shoulder routine, these are definitely worth giving a try.

The high incline bench side lateral raise is one of the best side delt exercises out there, and here’s how to perform them with proper technique…


Best Side Delt Exercises: High Incline Bench Side Laterals

(You can either watch the video above for a live demonstration of the proper form or just read the description I’ve given below)

1) Set an adjustable bench at a 60-70 degree angle, as this will place your body into the proper position to specifically maximize the stimulation of the side delts. Going much lower than this will shift more stress onto the posterior head of the shoulder (the rear), while going much higher will shift more stress on the anterior head (the front).

2) Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and then simply perform a standard side lateral raise just as you normally would. In case you missed my previous post, here are the main points you’ll want to keep in mind…

* Stick to moderate weights and focus on executing the movement under strict, deliberate control for a slightly higher rep range of around 8-12.

* Keep your shoulders down and back and depress your scapula to minimize trapezius involvement.

* Maintain a slight 10-30 degree bend in your elbows to take pressure off the joint.

* Focus on raising the weights out to your sides rather than out in front of your body in order to reduce front delt activation.

* Forcefully flex your abs and lock down your ribcage in order to take your spinal erectors out of the equation.

* Raise the weights up to shoulder level but no higher, as going further than parallel to the floor takes tension off the side delts and stimulates the trap instead.

* Always ensure that your hands and elbows are directly in line with eachother as you raise the weights up. If you finish the rep with your hands above your elbows then you’re primarily training the rotator cuff rather than the side delts.

Give the high incline bench side lateral raise a try and see what you think.

This exercise is a great way to really hone in on those hard-to-target side delts and is an especially useful variation for lifters who have trouble nailing down the proper form on standard side lateral raises.

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