Here’s a Side Lateral Raise tutorial cue that can help you perform the exercise better.
Most people try to simply lift the DBs up without actually allowing the lateral head of the deltoids to be the prime movers, either allowing the traps or the anterior delt to do most of the work. That’s not the goal, atleast if we’re trying to grow our lateral head of the deltoid.
Instead, drive the movement by visualizing the deltoid in your head and actively trying to get the insertion (long bone of the upper arm) closer to the origin (acromion of the scapula). That should be your goal when performing lateral raises.
This cue alone helps you isolate the lateral head and can definitely help you perform the side raises better, with a much controlled and qualitative technique.
When it comes to the execution, lift your upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height. Maintain elbows’ height above or equal to wrists. Lower the arms and repeat. some slight leaning forward (~30 degrees) can be of great help too especially if you typically experience discomfort at the shoulder when performing the exercise.
Keep the elbows pointed high while maintaining slight bend (10° to 30° angle) throughout the movement.
At top of movement, elbows (not necessarily dumbbells) should be directly lateral to shoulders since elbows are slightly bent forward. Dumbbells are raised by shoulder abduction, not external rotation.
Also, if elbows drop lower than wrists, front deltoids become primary mover instead of lateral deltoids, so try not to do that and keep the resistance targeted to the 𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘵.
Since these muscles are very small (and it’s damn easy to get injured) I suggest focusing on the qualty & quantity of reps rather than intiensity (% of load) focusing on a 8-20 rep range with proper form.