How to Do the Shoulder Fly


The shoulder fly, also called the lateral raise, involves moving your arms away from your body to your sides while holding a dumbbell or kettle bell in each hand. Your deltoids and trapezius muscles primarily move the arms and pull your shoulder blades together, while your rotator cuffs, abdominal muscles, and hip stabilize your body in alignment and in balance. This is one of many exercises that promotes strength, stability, and good posture altogether.

Things You'll Need

  • Two 10-pound dumbbells

Standing Shoulder Fly

  • Stand with your legs about hip-width apart, and hold a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand by your sides.

  • Exhale and lift your arms up by your sides with your hands facing down until they are parallel to the ground. Pull your shoulder blades together gently as you lift, and do not shrug your shoulders. Hold this position for one second.

  • Lower your arms to your sides gradually. Perform three sets of eight to 10 repetitions.

One Arm Shoulder Fly

  • Stand with your right foot in front of you with both feet pointing forward. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand.

  • Exhale and lift your right arm up to your side until it is parallel to the ground. Do not move your body as you lift. Lower the weight back down to your sides.

  • Perform a set of eight to 10 repetitions on each arm, switch your leg position, and perform another set of eight to 10 repetitions on each arm.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stretch your shoulders and upper back after your workout to decrease tension and stiffness that commonly occurs in this exercise. You can do a simple stretch by holding your left arm out to your side with your fingers pointing down to the ground and your arm straight. Tilt your head to your right, and hold the stretch for five to six deep breaths. With each exhale, increase the stretch a little more. This decreases neural stimulation to your muscle and prevents hyper-activity that causes your shoulders from hunching.

Related Searches


  • "NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training"; Michael Clark; 2007
  • "Stretch to Win"; Ann and Chris Frederick; 2006
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