I've stumbled on this exercise in my own experimentation and then searched for and found this video which seems to mirror what I've been doing fairly closely (although I've been seated against a right-angle vertical bench while I've been doing that, in case that makes any difference to the nature of the exercise.

Anyway, I've looked around on exrx.net hoping to find a reference on the exercise, but to no avail, so also wondering if it also trades by a different name at all.


  • The video that you referenced does not mention around-the-world raises at all. It talks about dumbbell lateral raises and machine lateral raises. Is one of those what you meant, or are you talking about exercises where you raise the dumbbells all the way overhead? Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 1:58
  • 1
    I oops, I think the YouTube autoplay did a sneaky switch a roo on the video before I was able to get the link. Anyway, video link is corrected now. Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


The around-the-world raise consists of moving the arms from being fully adducted (by the sides) to being raised fully overhead, while they are externally rotated. Different muscles are used throughout the different phases of this exercise:

  • The movement is primarily started by the supraspinatus, which is responsible for abducting the arms during the very first portion of the range of motion (up to about 15° of movement).
  • The anterior deltoid continues the movement until the arms are horizontal, at which point they have reached the end of the range of motion of the glenohumeral joint. (Yes, anterior, not the lateral deltoid. The anterior deltoid is the primary muscle responsible for abduction when the shoulder is externally rotated, whereas the lateral deltoid is primarily responsible when the shoulder is internally rotated.)
  • In order to continue the movement, the humerus is held in the same position relative to the scapula (by isometric contraction of the deltoid), while the scapula is upwardly rotated by the trapezius and serratus anterior.

Anecdotally, I feel this exercise pretty much only in the anterior deltoid. I wouldn't be surprised if the weight that can be used for this exercise is limited by the anterior deltoid, and that the weight that the deltoid can handle is not sufficient to provide a useful stimulus to the trapezius and serratus anterior.

  • Is external/internal rotation the same thing basically as pronation/supination? Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 9:37
  • And does it have any other names, and is it inaccurate to think that this gives a fairly heavy engagement to the core/ab muscles? Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 9:38
  • No, pronation and supination are rotation of the forearm, whereas shoulder rotation is rotation of the humerus, and can be identified by the direction in which the elbow is pointing. ATW raises have the elbows pointing backwards at the start, whereas lateral raises have them pointing more outwards. Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 10:42
  • Other names: Lu raises are very similar, but use plates instead of dumbbells. Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 11:25
  • And I wouldn't assume it would substantially load the core muscles. Those would only be used to hold your torso in position, and the load they'd need to support would be tiny in this exercise, compared to a squat or deadlift. Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 11:26

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