Lateral Raise Palms-Up

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Grasp two dumbbells with a closed grip.
  2. Stand straight with feet in a stable stance and slight bend in the knees.
  3. Extend arms at your sides and rotate your wrists so your palms face upward as your arms raise. Keep a slight bend in your elbows.

Upward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Raise arms out to your sides with palms facing upward, lifting the dumbbells. Lift until your arms reach the level of your shoulders.
  2. Maintain a slight bend in the elbows throughout the entire movement.
  3. Keep the torso and legs motionless throughout the movement.

Downward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, slowly lower the dumbbells by reversing the movement to starting position.
Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric phase and inhale during the eccentric phase.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Middle deltoids
  • Synergists: Supraspinatus, anterior deltoid, biceps brachii
  • Stabilizers: Wrist flexors and other rotator cuff muscles
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Shoulder abduction
  • Equipment: Two dumbbells
  • Lever: 3rd class lever
  • Level: Beginner to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Lateral Raise Palms-Up

    What Is A Dumbbell Palms-Up Lateral Raise?

    A dumbbell lateral raise with palms up is a resistance exercise, which targets the middle deltoid. This exercise is performed with two dumbbells. Similar to the traditional lateral raise, it is performed standing while raising both arms against resistance to the sides of the body. The grip, however, is different in that the wrists are supinated with palms facing upward.

    The concentric portion of the lift is shoulder abduction. The eccentric portion is shoulder adduction as the dumbbells are lowered.

    The purpose of the palms-up lateral raise is to strengthen the middle deltoid while also promoting the hypertrophy (increases in size) of this muscle.

    Why Do A Dumbbell Palms-Up Lateral Raise

    The palms-up lateral raise activates the middle deltoid as the middle deltoid is a primary shoulder abductor. Activating the middle deltoid contributes to the hypertrophy of the shoulder muscles, providing roundness and a fuller appearance. The supinated grip of this exercise, however, gives it a disadvantage for activating the middle deltoid compared to the traditional lateral raise (with palms facing downward).

    Although it is primarily an exercise for aesthetics, lateral raises also serve as an auxiliary exercise that can increase strength involved in other multi-joint exercises.

    Performing this exercise with dumbbells allows the lifter to isolate the contraction of each arm. This may also help determine any weaknesses, if any, as each arm contracts individually.

    Anatomy Of A Dumbbell Palms-Up Lateral Raise

    The deltoid is a thick, multipennate muscle that forms a curtain around the shoulder. It is the primary muscle involved with arm abduction and the middle fibers are a primary shoulder abductor. The supinated grip activates the anterior deltoid fibers to assist with shoulder abduction. When developed, the deltoids give the shoulder their round shape. The origin of the deltoid is located at the insertion of the trapezius, lateral third of the clavicle and the acromion spine of the scapula. Its insertion is located at the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus.

    The supraspinatus is one of the four rotator cuff muscles. It is located on the posterior aspect of the scapula, underneath the trapezius. The supraspinatus assists the middle deltoid fibers with shoulder abduction. Its origin is located at the infraspinous fossa of the scapula. Its insertion is located at the greater tubercle of the humerus.

    The biceps brachii consists of two heads, the long head and the short head. The long head tendon helps stabilize the shoulder joint and its origin is located at the tubercle and lip of the glenoid cavity of the scapula (shoulder blade). The biceps brachii are a primary supinator of the forearm, therefore, the palms-up grip activates the biceps brachii. The long head of the biceps brachii also acts as a stabilizer of the humeral head during shoulder abduction.

    The wrist extensors and rotator cuff muscles play an essential role in stabilizing the wrists, forearms and shoulders during this exercise.

    Variations Of A Dumbbell Palms-Up Lateral Raise

    Lateral raise, cable lateral raise.

    How To Improve Your Dumbbell Palms-Up Lateral Raises

    Performing traditional lateral raises (with palms facing downward) will activate the middle deltoid to a greater extent.

    Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” as the arms approach shoulder level.

    Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.

    It’s important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance). It is also important to allow adequate recovery days in between shoulder training days to allow muscles to repair.

    Common Mistakes When Doing Dumbbell Palms-Up Lateral Raises

    Raising the arms above the level of the shoulder can minimize the activation of the deltoid and place negative stress on the shoulder joint.

    Swinging the torso and/or moving the legs throughout the movement minimize the activation of the working muscles and increase the risk for injury. Do not use body momentum to lift the weight during concentric phases. Do not drop the weight on its way down. The concentric and eccentric phases should be controlled.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Dumbbell Palms-Up Lateral Raises

    If the lifter has a compromised range of motion with the shoulder joint and/or performs this exercise incorrectly, this exercise can increase the risk of injury and/or exacerbate a previous injury. Performing this exercise with a weight too heavy for the lifter can also increase the risk for injury.

    If proper technique and recovery are not adhered to, impingement syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, and glenoid labrum tears may result.

    Lifters with a history of shoulder injury or present state of injury should consult with a physical therapist or orthopedic physician before performing this exercise.