Two-Arm Cable Lateral Raise


Two-Arm Cable Lateral Raise Exercise Guide

In this article you will learn how to perform cable lateral raises with two arms at a time by standing in the middle of a cable crossover station.

The position and movement are the same as the basic exercise (one-arm cable lateral raise), but you will need to stand between two cables, gripping each with the opposite hand. The cables will cross as you raise the weights.

The cable lateral raise targets the lateral (medial) head of the deltoid muscle. The constant (uniform) tension provided by the cables challenges the shoulders throughout the movement’s entire range-of-motion (ROM). The handle attachments can be held in the neutral (palms facing out) position or in the pronated (palms facing down) position. Keep the elbows flexed slightly to remove pressure on the elbows. This variant is no better than the one-arm exercise, because crossing the cables tends to prevent optimum movement.

Exercise Instructions for Two-Arm Cable Lateral Raise

STARTING (INITIAL) POSITION: Stand straight up in the middle of a cable crossover station and hold a handle in each hand (hold the right-side handle in your left hand, and vice versa). Begin with your arms crossed in front of you. The weight should be slightly off the stack in starting position.

Two-Arm Side Cable Raise

Two-Arm Side Cable Raise

MOVEMENT (ACTION): With elbows fixed raise arms to sides until elbows are at height of shoulders. Return and repeat. Lower in a controlled manner to the starting position. Keep your elbows high throughout the movement. In upper position try to keep hands slightly lower than elbows.

Useful Tips & Tricks

Remember to use adequate weight and maintain constant tension of the cable. The cable must move smoothly, without any sudden pulls. Also, all of the previous comments about the one-arm cable lateral raise also apply to this variant.

Exercise Variations

Research has shown that doing this side deltoid exercise unilaterally (one arm at a time) allows you to use greater force than when doing the same exercise with both arms (bilaterally). This is due to the fact that you use more muscle fibers when you train with one arm at a time.

Muscles Involved in Two-Arm Cable Lateral Raise

  • Main muscles: deltoid (middle), supraspinatus;
  • Secondary muscles: deltoid (front and rear), trapezius and serratus anterior (especially from 90 to 150º), biceps (long head), subscapularis;
  • Antagonists: latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major (lower), teres major and minor, triceps (long head), biceps;

Replacement Exercises

Closing Thoughts

Two-arm cable lateral raise (bilateral lateral raise) is similar to one-arm cable lateral raise. Cable pulleys make it possible to work both arms at the same time, but is not very practical.

We strongly advice you to work one arm at the time so that you can take advantage of unilateral work (increased strength, greater range of motion, and better isolation and contraction).

This lateral (side) deltoid exercise is very similar to the bilateral dumbbell lateral raise, except that you use a machine with a cable. Cables provide the advantage of continuous, steady tension as you raise and lower the weight. This is not what you can achieve with dumbbells.

You may need to use lighter weights than usual for this exercise. If you feel any pain in your neck, this is an indication that the weight you are lifting may be too heavy. Make sure to keep your head in line with your spine throughout this exercise.


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