Beginners commonly learn an exercise and stick with it like glue. But, as you gain training experience, it’s important to learn several variations of the same exercise for a number of reasons.
1. Another trainer is hogging the equipment that you need and you want a quick substitute.
2. Realize that each variation works the muscle in a slightly different manner and from a somewhat different angle, which encourages more complete overall development. A barbell, dumbbells, machines, cables and the Smith machine each have their own advantages compared to the others, and no two work a given muscle in exactly the same way. Ultimately, by including all those types of equipment in your workouts, over time you’ll work the muscle more completely and be less prone to growing stale.
Let’s take the standing dumbbell lateral raise. You can try any of these variations that still target the middle delts, each one just a little bit different from the others.
1. Seated dumbbell lateral raise
2. One-arm dumbbell lateral raise
3. Standing overhead dumbbell lateral raise
4. Seated/standing lateral raise machine
5. One-arm cable lateral raise (in front of or behind torso)
6. Leaning dumbbell lateral raise