You are currently viewing How To Do Egyptian Lateral Raise – Muscles Worked, Benefits And Variations

How To Do Egyptian Lateral Raise – Muscles Worked, Benefits And Variations

The Egyptian lateral rise is a variation of the standard lateral raise that can assist you successfully increase shoulder size and muscle. The Egyptian lateral raise, like its classic counterpart, is a powerful shoulder-building exercise that isolates the deltoids (especially the anterior and medial deltoids) for hypertrophy over low stimulus, high rep sets.

It’s simply a unilateral lateral rise in which you bend at an angle while supporting yourself with your non-working hand.

A dumbbell and some sturdy support to hang onto, such as a door frame, are all you need for the Egyptian lateral raise. The Egyptian cable lateral raise is a good alternative for time under tension training in the gym. Consider adding the Egyptian lateral raise for your next shoulder workout, as it is a terrific option or addition to the classic lateral raise since it provides more support and targeted isolation of the deltoids.

How To Do Egyptian Lateral Raise

Man performing Egyptian Lateral Raise exercise at Gym
  • Get a lightweight dumbbell or a plate to start. This exercise isn’t effective unless you have a full range of motion. Use the proper weight and be humble. Weight ranging from 5 to 20 pounds should be sufficient.
  • Look for a support beam of any kind. The only requirements are that it be solid and that you have adequate space to perform the action without being inhibited.
  • Take a position. With one hand, grab the support beam, while the other holds the weight. Bring your feet up close to the support.
  • Extend your arm holding the support beam all the way out. Maintain a firm core and a straight spine. Lean in just a slight bit. Allow your arm to move in sync with your torso. Make sure your weight-bearing arm isn’t forced into an awkward position. 
  • Raise your weight-bearing arm to shoulder height from the side of your waist.
  • Lower the weight back to the starting position slowly and under control. The trick is to drop it at a slower rate than you raised it. Adduction (moving closer to the body) is a regulated negative phase.
  • Per set, aim for at least 10-20 reps. The weight is generally too heavy if you can’t accomplish more than 10 repetitions on this exercise.
  • Switch sides and continue with the other arm.
  • Depending on your training goals and the remainder of your upper body workout program, do 4-6 sets on each arm.
  • Rest periods are organically integrated into the Egyptian lateral raise, as each arm has a chance to “rest” by hanging on the beam. If you require more rest in between sets, strive to keep your rest to no more than 30 seconds.

Muscles Worked

The deltoids are predominantly worked by the Egyptian lateral raise (anterior, medial, posterior). This is commonly referred to as the shoulders. The anterior deltoid is a muscle located right in front of your shoulders that helps you raise your arm forward.

The medial deltoid, often known as the “lateral deltoid,” is the shoulder’s largest muscle. When we think of shoulder exercises, we often think of this. This muscle’s job is to elevate the arm outwards, or sideways. In other words, it’s in charge of your arm’s abduction and adduction.

The posterior deltoid is the muscle at the back of your shoulder that moves your arm back behind you. However, this workout isn’t just for the delts. The Egyptian lateral raise also works out your triceps and pecs as synergists, depending on your angle and range of motion. 

Isolation is a benefit of both the Egyptian and cable lateral raises. This move provides an excellent opportunity to focus on the deltoids, particularly the medial deltoid. Although overhead shoulder presses are excellent for the anterior deltoid, they often miss the medial and posterior deltoids. Combining a lateral raise with an overhead press on your next upper body workout day is a wonderful approach to target your shoulders.

You may further isolate which deltoids and synergist muscle groups you’re hitting by making a few changes. Researchers discovered that rotating your humerus externally and internally in a lateral raise targets different muscle groups in a clinical investigation among bodybuilders, using electromyographic analysis to measure muscle activation.

The front, medial, and posterior deltoids all shifted differently as the humerus (upper arm bone) was rotated in the lateral rise. It also has an impact on which synergist muscles are included.

The posterior deltoid, triceps brachii, and upper trapezius were shown to be more activated when the humerus was rotated internally. External rotation was observed to promote anterior and medial deltoids activation.

The anterior deltoid and the pectoralis major are primarily activated by frontal lateral raises (not Egyptian lateral raises). The next time you do a lateral raise, practice making these minor tweaks. The outcomes of your shoulder delt regimen improve dramatically when you incorporate these minor, specific improvements.

Benefits Of The Egyptian Lateral Raise

This upper body shoulder workout provides a number of cosmetic and functional advantages. Regardless of your reason, you may reap all of the benefits of this solitary offshoot of the lateral raise with appropriate form and execution.

Egyptian Lateral Raise Helps You Get An Aesthetic Physique

We’ll start with the elephant in the room. The vanity stuff—aesthetic motives for shoulder development. It’s simple: men prefer broad shoulders because they look attractive. But why is that? One of the most important bodybuilding secrets is that larger shoulders make your waist appear slimmer. However, this isn’t only for bodybuilders. Having larger shoulders in a T-shirt, button-down, sweater, or practically any shirt can make you appear stronger and leaner.

It helps you achieve the “V-shape” you want in your upper body, which looks extremely good in clothes. The Egyptian lateral raise produces quick results due to the significant pump that comes from isolating your deltoids. It’s an excellent exercise for covering up lapses while the rest of your ideal physique is being built.

Egyptian Lateral Raises Isolate The Deltoids

The Egyptian lateral raise can help isolate the deltoids, which can help with shoulder-based compound exercises. If hypertrophy is your goal, which it most certainly is, the Egyptian lateral raise will help you break through plateaus in other exercises.

The overhead shoulder press, push-ups, and bench press will all benefit from isolating and developing the deltoid. If you do Olympic lifting, this shoulder workout will help you improve your overhead squats and barbell clean and press. The Egyptian lateral raise can help athletes in sports including baseball, football, basketball, tennis, golf, hockey, and swimming.

Egyptian Lateral Raises Protect The Joints

The deltoids can assist take some of the strain off your joints, particularly the rotator cuffs. Rotator cuff injuries are common, particularly among weightlifters. With age, the danger increases. Our bodies become less forgiving as we get older.

This emphasizes the need for strength training. One of the most significant advantages of strength training is that it relieves pressure on the bones and joints. Lifting weights is an investment in the structural integrity of your body.

Egyptian Lateral Raise Variations And Alternatives

The Egyptian lateral rise has a few progressions and options. There are various disadvantages to the Egyptian lateral rise. This isn’t the only shoulder exercise you should include in your routine because of the deltoid isolation. This lateral raise variation is just one of several delt exercises you may include in your upper-body workout. The following are some alternatives to the conventional Egyptian lateral raise:

Egyptian Lateral Raise With A Cable

The Egyptian lateral raise with a cable is a must-try workout if you’re at the gym. The cable adds more time under tension, providing for a consistent, regulated negative during the lift’s adduction phase.

To do a cable Egyptian lateral raise, follow these steps:

  • Locate a cable machine that allows you to pull from the ground while holding onto some form of support structure. The majority of single cable machines include a handle or pole to grab onto.
  • Set the weight to a modest level. Keep it between 10 and 20 pounds. This exercise requires a full range of motion, which is best achieved with a lighter weight. Choose a weight with which you can complete at least 10 reps.
  • Take a position. The beginning posture is the same as the dumbbell Egyptian lateral raise. Bring your feet as close as possible to the cable’s starting floor position and hang on to your support. Allow your arm to hang from the support while you lean outward.
  • Grab the handle with the arm not holding the machine.
  • Pull the cable up to shoulder height or near to it with each rep. Slowly lower the cable till your hand touches your sides.
  • On each arm, repeat for 10-20 reps. Do 4-6 sets, depending on your goals and the remainder of your upper body workout plan.
  • The rest interval is already included into the sets, but if you need more time between them, keep it to no more than 30 seconds.

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises

A dumbbell side lateral raise is an excellent alternative to the Egyptian lateral raise. As muscular synergists, this shoulder exercise can be regarded a progression because it engages both the left and right deltoid muscles simultaneously, as well as enhancing core muscle stability and latissimus dorsi strength.

To do a dumbbell side lateral raise, follow these steps:

  • Take two light dumbbells or plates as this is a low-weight, high-rep workout. If you add too much weight, your range of motion will be compromised, resulting in lesser gains. (Some exercises allow you to limit your range of motion, but this isn’t one of them.)
  • Knees should be slightly bent as you stand. Maintain a straight back and a firm core. Slightly lean in. Pull your shoulder blades back and activate your lats.
  • Raise both arms at the same time. Raise the weights all the way to your shoulders. Allow them to slowly return to your sides.
  • Repeat for a total of 10-20 times. Depending on your training goals and the remainder of your upper body workout routine, perform 4-6 sets.

Avoid these common mistakes when doing Egyptian raises

Egyptian raises are a great exercise for building strong shoulders, but many people make mistakes that can prevent them from getting the most out of this exercise. We all want to maximize those gains, right? Here’s what you should watch out for:

Too much weight

It’s tempting to try to lift as much weight as possible, but when it comes to Egyptian raises, it’s more important to focus on form and range of motion. If you’re having to jerk your knees or use momentum to lift the weight, it’s too heavy.

Too much speed

Egyptian raises are an isolation exercise, which means they target a specific muscle group. To get the most out of the exercise, take your time and focus on contracting your delts at the top of each rep. Here’s what you can do: spend a couple of seconds lifting the weight, hold it at the top for a second, and take a full four seconds for the downward part of the rep. Avoid resting at the bottom; keep that tension going.

Staying rather upright

Here’s another slip-up to be aware of – not leaning far enough to the side during your Egyptian lateral raise. So to maximize muscle isolation, make sure to fully extend your support arm and lean to the side while performing the exercise.

So there you have it, some common pitfalls to steer clear of when doing Egyptian raises. Stay mindful of these, and you’ll be well on your way to reaping those rewards.

Take Away

The secret to success when completing isolated strength training exercises is to maintain a laser-like focus. Beginners and seasoned weight lifters alike will benefit from the Egyptian lateral rise. Because the range of motion is key to success with this shoulder exercise, the lateral raise is best done with a light weight.

If you’re doing a proper lateral rise, you should only use your deltoids and nothing else. Naturally, supporting muscles will be used. Throughout each action, you’ll want to brace your core and keep it solid and stable. Your traps will eventually become involved, particularly as you tire, and the stimulus will be felt via your arms.

All of this, however, should be kept to a minimum. Keep as much of your weight in your deltoids as possible.

This way, you’ll be able to focus your efforts where they’re most needed: in the anterior and medial deltoids.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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