4 Chest Supported Lateral Raise Methods for Big Shoulders

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Lateral raises are a staple exercise that’s included in many people’s shoulder routines.

To get the most out of the movement it’s important to perform it with proper execution.

Using the chest supported lateral raise is a great way to truly isolate your shoulders without the extra body movement.

Targeted isolation is necessary to really focus most of the tension on the area you’re trying to work on.

If you’re new to these exercises be sure to start with a lightweight and practice getting the technique right to avoid any injuries.

Read on for some tips along with a full lateral raise workout to help you get the most out of your shoulder days!

Chest Supported Lateral Raises: Rear Delt Focused

To target the rear delts we are going to set up a bench at a slight angle.

Use an angle that allows you to get your chest rested firmly on the edge of the bench with your feet touching the ground.

Dangle your arms over the bench with the dumbbells in your hands.

Let the dumbbells hang loose in your hands holding on to the outer neck.

Rotate your wrists inwards so that your thumbs are facing each other.

Keep a slight bend in your elbows, and really focus on making a swinging motion out and upwards with your arms.

Do not go super high in the concentric phase.

Just go far enough up to where you can feel your rear delts fully isolated.

Going further than this may take tension off the rear delts and put it more towards the traps and upper back.

Chest Supported Lateral Raise Concentric Phase
Concentric Phase

Once the rear delts are at peak contraction you’re going to begin the eccentric phase.

Keep the dumbbells nice and controlled in your hands.

Let your rear delts get a nice stretch at the bottom of the movement.

Chest Supported Lateral Raise Eccentric Phase
Eccentric Phase

I prefer to keep my rear delt workouts lightweight with higher reps.

Here are some great rep and set variations you can try out:

  • 5 sets: 25,20,15,10,5
    • Increase the weight as the rep range decreases.
  • 4 sets of 25
    • Keep a lightweight and focus on getting the blood in them.

These are just two of the many variations. Mix it up and do the ones that work best for you.

Once you struggle to get to the top of the rep don’t shy away from adding in some partial reps.

Just avoid adding in any excessive swinging.

These partials will really help burn out your rear delts.

Rear dumbbell lateral raises with chest support are a great way to really isolate your rear delts.

Especially if they’re a lagging muscle group.

They help to remove the extra swinging and momentum that may otherwise occur from doing standing bent over rear delt raises.

Chest Supported Lateral Raises: Trap Focused

If you want to target more of your upper back and traps using the chest supported lateral raise you can do that too!

Once you get into the starting position instead of having your thumbs faced inwards turn your wrists to have the top of your hands facing outwards with the dumbbells.

From here we’re going to perform a similar movement.

But with an increased range of motion.

Trap Focused Chest Lateral Raises Concentric Phase
Concentric phase with a neutral grip

You’re going to go higher with the dumbbells in the concentric phase.

Once you feel your traps fully engaged, hold it there for 2-3 seconds.

Really get the feeling of trap isolation.

This will also make for a juicy pump.

Then in the eccentric phase bring the dumbbells down far enough to get a nice stretch.

Trap Focused Chest Lateral Raises Eccentric Phase
Eccentric phase with a neutral grip

Based on the range of motion and arm positioning keep the weight light.

Shooting for a higher rep range or doing squeezed reps at the top is a good idea.

Here are some examples:

  • 4 sets of 10
    • Squeeze at the top for 5 seconds for each rep.
  • 3 sets of 20
    • Keep them controlled. Add in partial reps if you’re struggling to get to the top of the rep.

Chest Supported Raise: Front & Side Delts

You can do front raises from this position as well.

Personally, I feel myself slipping out of position when trying to perform this variation with chest support at this angle.

If you do wanna try them, like the rear delt variation I prefer to keep my thumbs facing inwards and bring the weights up just enough to feel the front delts fully contracted.

Then begin the eccentric phase.

Chest Supported Front Raise

Similarly, with chest-supported side lateral raises, I noticed that it was difficult to get the right positioning with my chest on the bench to truly maximize the side delt isolation.

Like the front delts, give them a try for yourself to see how they work for you.

Notice how I’m bringing the dumbbells up at a 45-degree angle instead of straight toward the ceiling like the aforementioned variations.

In theory, putting greater isolation on the side deltoids, rather than the rear.

Chest Supported Lateral Raise Side Delt Focused

Furthermore, sticking to another variation for side and front delts may be more beneficial.

Such as standing or seating dumbbell front and lateral raises.

Video Demonstration For Each Variation

Chest-supported lateral raises video demonstration

Full Lateral Raise Workout

Below is a workout to really fire up your delts.

It won’t require anything other than some dumbbells and an adjustable bench.

As someone who naturally has overdeveloped front delts and weaker rear delts.

I learned from the late John Meadows that you should always start the shoulder workout with rears.

So that’s exactly what we’re gonna do!

Full Workout:

  1. Rear Delt Focused Chest Supported Dumbbell Lateral Raise
    • 5×25,20,15,10,5
  2. Standing Side Lateral Raises
    • 4×20,15,10,5
    • Increase the weight as you decrease reps. Avoid engaging your traps by keeping your arms slightly bent and doing a range of motion just high enough to keep your side delts isolated.
  3. Trap Focused Chest Supported Dumbbell Lateral Raise
    • 4×10
    • Keep the weight somewhat heavy on these if you feel comfortable. Maintain control of each rep. 5-second pauses at the top.
  4. Standing Front Delt Lateral Raise
    • 3×20
    • You can either do both arms at the same time or alternating reps.

Now Go Get Boulder Shoulders!

I hope these tips were helpful in your quest for getting well-developed shoulders.

Give these chest lateral raises a try and see how you like each variation.

If you have any suggestions or thoughts, or if you tried the workout feel free to leave me a message!

Stay Wild!

Eric De Cremer
Eric De Cremer

Eric is an NCCA-accredited Certified Personal Trainer and competitively trained powerlifter. Feel free to contact him anytime at edecremer@wildnswole.com!