One Arm Cable Lateral Raise: How To Do, Muscles Worked

The single arm cable lateral raise is a variation of the lateral raise that uses a cable to build the muscles of the shoulders.

Using the cable pulley machine is helpful because it provides constant tension on the target muscle group as you move the weight through the range of motion.

The one-arm cable lateral raise is an isolated shoulder exercise that targets the lateral deltoids. It also helps to increase stability in both the wrists and the core.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of the one arm cable lateral raise, the muscles worked, and how to perform the exercise properly. We will also provide tips to help you get the most out of your shoulder workout.

What is One Arm Cable Lateral Raise

One-arm cable lateral raise is a variation on the traditional lateral raise exercise that uses a cable machine instead of dumbbells. This exercise works the lateral (or “middle”) deltoid muscle in the shoulder.

The cable machine exercises give a steady and consistent amount of resistance throughout the whole range of motion. This can make the exercise more challenging and can lead to better muscle activation compared to free weight exercises.

You can do the exercise with both arms, but it’s usually best to do it with just one arm to make your workout harder and get more gains.

Muscles Worked During One Arm Cable Lateral Raise

The one-arm cable lateral raise primarily targets the deltoid muscles in the shoulder, with a specific emphasis on the Lateral deltoid or “middle” part of the deltoids.

Primary Muscle Worked

  • Lateral Deltoid (Middle Deltoid): This muscle is the main target during the exercise. When you raise the arm to the side, the middle deltoid is responsible for the abduction of the arm.

Secondary Muscles (Stabilizers and Synergists)

  • Anterior Deltoid (Front Deltoid): This part of the deltoid assists with the movement, especially at the beginning of the lift.
  • Trapezius: Especially the upper trap, this muscle helps stabilize the scapula.
  • Supraspinatus: A small muscle of the rotator cuff, the supraspinatus aids in the initial phase of arm abduction.
  • Serratus Anterior: This muscle helps with scapular movement and stability.
  • Infraspinatus and Teres Minor: These rotator cuff muscles help stabilize the shoulder joint during the movement.
  • Core Muscles: the muscles of the core (like the rectus abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae) play a vital role in stabilizing the torso.
One Arm Cable Lateral Raise

Benefits of Single Arm Cable Lateral Raises

  • One arm cable lateral raise strengthening the side delts, that helps to stabilize the shoulders, which can help prevent future injuries.
  • Lateral Raises improve the overall aesthetics and definition of your shoulders. One hallmark of someone who’s in shape is having wide-toned shoulders.
  • A Single arm cable lateral raise can create better mind-muscle connection than raises using two arms.
  • The lateral deltoids play a part in stabilizing the weight when performing bench press or overhead press.
  • One arm cable lateral raises are more evenly distributed, and you have more of a constant load on your shoulder muscles throughout the whole range of motion.
  • Cable machines are a safe and efficient tool to incorporate into your normal workout program.
  • It helps create balanced shoulder development between sides.

How To Do Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise

  1. Attach a single handle to a low pulley on the cable machine.
  2. Stand perpendicular to the machine, feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grab the handle with the hand furthest from the machine, palm facing inward.
  4. With a slight bend in your elbow and keeping your core tight, lift the handle out to your side.
  5. Continue lifting until your arm is parallel or slightly above parallel to the ground.
  6. Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the handle back to the starting position.
  7. Do at least 10–15 reps per set for each arm. Repeat on the other side.
Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise

Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise Form and Tips

  • Focus on keeping your shoulder blades down and back to avoid shrugging your shoulders.
  • Keep your torso still, your back straight, and your elbow slightly bent.
  • Don’t just swing your arms. Keep controlled motion throughout the exercise.
  • Always use weights that you can handle comfortably.
  • Allow the arms to move freely but don’t lock out the elbows.
  • If you want to keep more tension through the side delts, use a slightly slower eccentric than normal.
  • Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it to help maintain proper form and breathing.
  • Incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program.
  • Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.

Reps and Sets

Perform anywhere from 10-15 reps per set and 3-4 set of one arm cable lateral raise.

If you are going below 10 reps, you are probably using too much weight and are relying on muscles other than your shoulders to lift the weight.

Choose a weight you can lift with control using only your shoulders.

Modifications To One Arm Cable Lateral Raise

When performing one arm cable lateral raises, there are a couple of modifications you can make.

One modification you can make when performing one arm cable lateral raises is to turn your wrist and point your thumb down to the ground, as if you are pouring water out of a pitcher, as you lift the weight.

You can also make a second modification when performing one arm cable lateral raises by positioning your arm differently at the start of the exercise. You could start with your arm in front or behind your body.

The leaning lateral raise is the third modification, which helps to prove to isolate the lateral deltoid, letting it move through a more expanded range of motion.

Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise Alternative

1. Lying Dumbbell Lateral Raise

If you are looking for some creative alternate of single arm cable shoulder raise to train your lateral deltoid, then lying dumbbell lateral raise is the best option for you.

The side-lying lateral raise increases strength and stability throughout the entire shoulder. This exercise more specifically targets the lateral deltoid.

2. Dumbbell One Arm Lateral Raise

This dumbbell shoulder exercise is performed with one arm at a time. Dumbbell one-arm lateral raise is an excellent exercise to isolate and build side deltoids.

It is the Simple and best alternate of one arm cable shoulder raise. To build the middle head of the deltoid muscle, make dumbbell one-arm lateral raise a part of your deltoid exercises.

3. Cable Machine Y Raise

Another good single-arm lateral cable raise alternate is exercise is the cable machine Y raise that you can do during your shoulder workout.

The cable Y-raise is an exceptional exercise that targets the entire shoulder and stimulates all fibers of the deltoid anterior, lateral, and posterior. However, it primarily targets the lateral shoulder.

This lateral deltoid exercise combines horizontal shoulder abduction with external shoulder rotation. Strengthening the external shoulder rotators and the internal shoulder rotators.


What do single arm lateral raises work?

The single-arm lateral raise is a shoulder exercise that targets the middle head of the deltoid muscle. It’s a fundamental strength-training move and is a great option to work on your deltoid muscle.

How do you do lateral raises on cable one arm?

One-arm cable lateral raises are performed using a single handle attachment on the low cable pulley system. You will find this in nearly all gyms.

Is one arm lateral raise better?

The one-arm lateral raise is a unilateral exercise, and it is the best option for training the deltoid muscles. The primary benefit of unilateral exercises is their ability to evenly train both sides of the body.

It helps to avoid overuse, overtraining, or compensating with the dominant side, which can help to isolate and correct muscle imbalances, which in turn can help to prevent injury and facilitate rehabilitation.


Cable lateral raises are a great exercise to give a balanced shape to your shoulders and make them look broader.

Leave a Comment