Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise: Benefits, Muscles Worked, How To (& More)

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single arm cable lateral raise

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Building big, broad, powerful shoulders is every go-ers dream, but getting them on your physique requires consistency and dedication!


Whether you want to pack on size to the front deltoids, have barn-door width to the side deltoids or pull strength from the rear deltoids, you need to train them with the correct exercises and constantly progress so they can get bigger and stronger!


We want to help you get there!


This article will focus on how to pack muscle size and strength to your shoulders and go through all the essential information you need to know on how the single arm cable lateral raise can help you get an envious set of deltoids!


What is the single-arm cable lateral raise?

The single-arm cable lateral raise is a muscle-building exercise that targets the deltoids’ side (medial) head. Using a cable machine, you can apply constant tension to the muscle throughout the rep range, causing the muscle to break down and grow back bigger and stronger.

What muscles do lateral raise work?

The single-arm cable lateral raise exercise works the medial head of the delts, giving that “capped” and “wide” look to the physique. Any movement that forces your body to raise your arm out to the side will train the side (and front) delt, so using cables and dumbbells is an excellent way to train them.

How do I do single arm lateral raises?

  • Using the cable machine, select a weight that will allow you to perform ten controlled reps.


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent.


  • Grab the handle and start the rep from the side of your body.


  • Slowly raise your arm to the side, keeping it straight with a slight bend in the elbow until it is parallel to the floor. This phase of the exercise can take up to 2 seconds.


  • Lower your arm back down to the starting position, ensuring it’s under control and over a count of 4 seconds.


  • Repeat the exercise with the other arm.


For further guidance on how to perform the reps please see the two examples below: 

What are the benefits of the single-arm cable lateral raise?

This shoulder exercise has many benefits and is often overlooked in shoulder workouts. Let’s examine the three core benefits of adding this side lateral raise in your shoulder training.


Constant Muscle Tension: The lateral cable raise provides constant tension throughout the movement, which places maximum muscular stress. This breaks down the muscle quicker, forcing the body to rebuild and become bigger and stronger.


Higher Intensity: Using the cable machine enables you to perform supersets and dropsets more quicker, thereby increasing the intensity of the exercise.


One Side At A Time: Using the cable machine, you can brace and focus on the movement, increasing the mind-muscle link.


How to add single arm cable lateral raise to your workouts?

Your current workout should have exercises that work the three heads of the deltoids and so adding the single arm lateral raise should be an easy enough task (assuming you have a cable machine)


Below are 3 examples of a shoulder workout that incorporates the lateral cable raise


single arm cable lateral raise workouts

7 Tips to maximise single arm cable lateral raises

  1. Proper form: Never sacrifice form when training the body with exercises. Ensure that you execute the side lateral from the bottom to the top, holding it at the top of the movement for a count of 3 and then lowering slowly.

  2. Core Flexed: Keep your core engaged and your lower back arched. This ensures that the movement has the correct support as it’s executed.

  3. Elbows bent: Ensure that your elbows are slightly bent throughout the movement, as this will remove the risk of injury from the elbow joint.

  4. Slow and steady: Take 3 seconds to raise the cable and then 4 seconds to lower it – that is one rep.

  5. Feel the deltoid: As you perform the exercise, lift from the side deltoids and feel the muscle work.

  6. Correct weight: The shoulders are delicate muscles, so they don’t need to be super heavy. Keep the rep range to 10 reps and ensure the weight you use enables you to perform 12 strict reps.

  7. Sets and reps: Limit this exercise to 4 sets of 10 reps, and as soon as you get to 10 reps comfortably in all four sets, increase the weight

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Are lateral raises better with cables?

Lateral raises with cables will provide the muscle with continuous tension throughout the positive and negative phases of the movement. This enables the muscle fibres to be broken down quicker and, therefore, the opportunity to recover bigger and stronger.

What do single-arm cable raises work?

The single-arm cable raise works the medial head of the deltoids and is responsible for the shoulders’ broadness and overall physique.

Are single-arm lateral raises good?

Single arms lateral raises are a good choice for training the medial head of the shoulders. They place most of the stress on this muscle, thus training it fully.

Why is the lateral cable raises so hard?

The lateral cable raise is challenging as it allows for continuous tension on the muscle throughout the movement. There will be no easier phases as you perform the exercise so the muscle will get fatigued quicker.

Should lateral raises be heavy or light?

Lateral raises should always be started with warm-ups and light weights. The shoulders are fragile muscles that need to be treated with respect, so pyramiding up with strict form is essential.

Do lateral raises give you bigger shoulders?

Lateral raises are responsible for building the side shoulder muscles, and using both dumbbells and cables provides the deltoids with ample stimulation for growth.

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Recommended Read: >>> What Are The Best Nuts For Weight Gain? <<<

Closing thoughts on Shoulder Training

The single-arm cable lateral raise is an excellent exercise for building your deltoids, especially if you want to look more powerful and broad.


This article should provide all the information you need to understand what this exercise is and why you should add it to your training regime.


As always, we want to hear from you and be part of your journey of muscle and fitness so please do keep in touch with us!


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