Cable lateral raise

Cable Lateral Raise: Benefits, Forms & Alternatives

Maximize shoulder gains with cable lateral raises. Learn proper form, benefits, and explore effective alternatives in our comprehensive guide.
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Cable lateral raise is one of the most beneficial exercises for the shoulders. Its popularity has risen due to its ability to work the middle head of the deltoid muscle found at the top of each shoulder. This type of exercise includes using a cable machine and lifting weights, which will provide a buffed-up torso.  

The attempt to achieve well-rounded and toned shoulders is a goal many gym-goers want to achieve. However, people new to the world of fitness and gyms do not know much about shoulder exercises. So, if you are considering whether to include the lateral raises on a cable machine in your workout routine, you need to acknowledge its benefits beforehand.  

There’s a variety of lateral raise alternatives, so learning more about them is crucial for understanding what works for you. If you do not have the right equipment, you can still do lateral raises as long as you know the adequate alternatives. In this blog, we will explore everything related to this popular workout combination to help you determine the benefits and what will function for you.  

What Is a Cable Lateral Raise?

The cable lateral raise has gained popularity because it allows you to work muscles that are generally inactive. It involves working on a machine through which you can easily lift weights and work the deltoid muscles. 

According to studies, it is an exercise that strengthens the subscapularis and infraspinatus - muscles found in the rotator cuff. Through the lateral raise, you have the ability to move your shoulders, resulting in an excellent shape of your muscles.

Moreover, the cable machine enables external and internal movements that make the exercise easier to do.  

In addition, when lateral raise is combined with frontal raise, you can shape your shoulder muscles in a way you desire. Bodybuilders always work towards well-rounded muscles, and the combination of lateral movements is an ideal way to achieve this goal.  

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Keep in mind that this exercise is not only performed on a cable machine. Many lateral raise alternatives will allow you to get the same results and experience similar benefits. The way you perform lateral raises depends on the conditions under which you work out. But one thing is certain - if you know the right modifications, you can do this exercise anywhere.  

Lateral Raise Benefits  

Naturally, you might be thinking about what muscles cable lateral raises work. Whether you are doing lateral raises on a cable machine or the modifications, you will certainly unlock many benefits.

We are talking about a type of exercise that works multiple muscles and allows you to achieve your fitness goals and the body shape you desire. 

  • Work The Middle Deltoid¬†¬†

It is a popular belief that our shoulders are made of big, flashy muscles. Nonetheless, each shoulder is divided into different sections with their own functions. To achieve the shape of shoulders we want, we need to work on each section equally.  

The deltoids include three parts - the anterior, middle, and posterior delt. The middle deltoid works as a stabilizer of the shoulder muscles, and the lateral raises help to work this part that plays a crucial role in the shape of the shoulders. When you lift heavy loads, the middle part of the deltoid prevents your arm from coming out of its socket.   

  • Work The Anterior Deltoid¬†¬†

The anterior delt helps you move your arm forward without hurting yourself. You work on your anterior delt when you reach your arm to grab something that is in front of you. When you combine lateral raises with front raises, you ensure that this part of your shoulder muscles works toward building the desired shape.  

  • Work The Posterior Deltoid¬†

When doing lateral raises, ensure your posterior delt is activated, as its primary function is maintaining proper posture. The rear delts are the most critical parts of your shoulder muscles because they work as stabilizers for your whole upper body. Additionally, they prevent your back from hunching over and keep it stable and straight.  


  • Work The Secondary Muscles¬†¬†

Besides the main three parts of the shoulders, lateral raises can do wonders with secondary muscles that are not frequently active. Namely, a cable lateral raise works on the muscles, such as supraspinatus, subscapularis, traps, and serratus anterior. These are relatively small yet very important for the shoulders' strength and shape.  

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When you look into the lateral raise benefits, you realize how much one exercise can do for your whole upper body. Remember that this type of exercise not only works on the shape of your shoulder muscles but also improves the overall function of your whole body.  

How To Do a Cable Lateral Raise? 

When performing a lateral raise, you can use both arms. However, often, it is recommended to use only one to intensify your workout routine and increase the stimulation of more gains. If you’re wondering how to do cable lateral raises, you should use the following movements: 

  1. Choose a weight that suits you to lift with only one arm. 
  2. Position your shoulders width apart and stand next to a pulley machine. 
  3. Ensure good posture by pushing your chest forward and slightly bending your knees. You have the option to put your free hand on the machine for enhanced support. 
  4. Bend your elbow slightly and lift your arm until you reach a level with your shoulder. As you lift, do not forget to exhale.  
  5. Do not rotate your arm during raising, and focus on the middle area that you are working on. 
  6. Hold this position for 1-5 seconds, and then start inhaling as you lower your arm. Make sure the cable reaches a complete stop before starting repetitions. 
  7. Do 10-15 repetitions with each arm.  
Cable Lateral Raise

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Lateral Raise Alternatives  

If you do not have a cable machine or do not work out in a gym, there are alternatives that will allow you to achieve the same goal.  

  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise¬†

dumbbell lateral raises

You can only use dumbbells as equipment for doing lateral raises.  

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each arm, holding them straight down at the sides. 
  2. Raise your arms at the sides, reaching shoulder level. 
  3. Take a slight pause while your arms are in the air. 
  4. Keep your arms at the sides with your elbows slightly bent.  
  5. Do the same repetitions 10-15 times. 
  6. Exhale while lifting your arms, and inhale while lowering them.  
  • Band Lateral Raise¬†¬†

band lateral raises If you do not have dumbbells, you can use a resistance band and do the same exercise in a slightly different way.  

  1. Place your fit at the center of the resistance band and hold each end of the band in each of your hands at the sides. 
  2. Keep your elbows slightly bent and ensure your palms face your body.  
  3. Start raising your arms at the sides until they parallel the ground.  
  4. Keep your arms in the air for a few seconds, and then bring them back down.  
  5. Repeat the same movement 10-15 times. 
  • Dumbbell Upright Row¬†¬†

dumbbell upright row Some people do not feel comfortable with lateral raises. Luckily, you can achieve the same results and work on the same muscles with upright rows using dumbbells. 

  1. Use two dumbbells in front of your body with your palms facing inward. 
  2. Your knees should be slightly bent to avoid hurting your back.  
  3. Pull the dumbells upright along the side of your torso. 
  4. When you reach the level of your shoulders, you should ensure that your elbows are higher than your wrists. 
  5. Lower the dumbbells until you reach the level of your thighs.  
  6. Repeat the same movement 10-15 times and ensure you keep the dumbbells close to your torso.  
  • Overhead Press¬†¬†

overhead press A good alternative to cable lateral raises is the overhead press. This exercise ensures that you work your shoulders' middle, anterior, and posterior delts. In other words, you achieve the same goals as with lateral raises. You will need a barbell and iron plates for the overhead press.  

  1. You should place your hands on the barbell shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Your elbows should be right beneath the barbell.  
  3. Your torso needs to be straight up, and you need to keep your chest up. 
  4. Lift the barbell until your elbows are completely straight.  
  5. Be careful not to lock your elbows while straightening your arms in the air. 
  6. Pull the barbell down until you reach shoulder level. 
  7. Use controlled movements, and do not lift the barbell abruptly.  

When using a barbell with iron plates, make sure you get a suitable weight for your body. Too much stress can hurt your shoulders, and you will not be able to perform the exercise properly.  

Ready to Build Those Awesome Shoulders?

Including a cable lateral raise in your workout routine can ensure you get the well-rounded shoulders you have always desired. Still, you can always go for modifications if you do not have access to a cable machine. This exercise can really change the game of shaping your body, so it is absolutely worth trying.  

For more fitness tips and recommendations, please check out our blog page.    

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