Chain and Plate Side Delt Lateral Raises

The lateral, a.k.a. side, deltoids are what make your shoulders wider.

You can’t change your bone structure therefore building these muscles is the only practical way to accomplish that increased width

I’ve come up with a variation of the side delt lateral raise that places not one but two distinct angles of tension on the delts at the same time. Normally, when you do dumbbell laterals, you only get tension on the delts because gravity acts directly on the dumbbells, pulling them straight down.


This new exercise also adds tension on the delts laterally (directly out to the sides).

You're not only pulling the weight plate up, you're doing it by pulling directly out the sides with the plate suspended in front of you.

Combined, these two angles of tension make for a far more effective movement for training the side delts.

For this exercise you will need the following equipment: two single cable handles, barbell weight plates, two clips, and a three-foot length of chain or cable (if you use a cable, you must have loops you can hook the handles onto at both ends.

This is why I prefer the chain. You can get a three-foot length of chain for a few bucks at any hardware store - it’s worth it!). Be sure you get a fairly thick quality of chain that is rated to at least several hundred pounds or more.

Hook one handle onto one end of the chain. String the chain through the center hole of the weight plate. Clip the other handle on. This is what it looks like on the floor. I'm using a 25 lb weight plate.

This is a close-up view of it - two handles, and a chain strung through the center hole of a weight plate.

Grasp both handles and get into the regular lateral raise start position (knees slightly bent, hands held down just in front of you, slight arch in your lower back). Make sure the barbell plate is hanging in the center of the chain and that it’s not resting on the ground (you may need to shorten the chain if it is).

Raise the handles directly out to the sides and up, exactly as you would for a regular dumbbell lateral raise. The barbell plate will come up and contact your upper abdomen/lower chest.

Hold the contraction at the top for a moment then lower slowly and repeat. If you want to get an extra squeeze of tension, on the last rep of the set, hold the contraction at the top for as long as possible until you can’t hold it up any longer.

Even though the motion itself is exactly like the dumbbell lateral, the application of tension is very different. You will get more tension for a longer period with this exercise, and it's all concentrated on the lateral delts.

It is TOTALLY worth getting a 3 foot length of chain to bring to the gym to do this exercise. Trust'll blow dumbbell laterals out of the water.


Band and Plate Lateral Raises

If you don't have chains (or even if you do), you can perform the same basic exercise with a training band strung the center hole of the plate. This also gives you the added bonus of direct lateral band resistance as you perform the raise.

This is my recommended source for training bands. (Note: Use Coupon Code "rbtfitstep" to get 10% off your purchase of a band package)


A post shared by Nick Nilsson (@nicknilsson1) on


Learn how to perform Lateral Delt-Focused Dumbbell Shoulder Press here.



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