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Hunter Labrada on Why Cable Lateral Raises Are “One of the Best Ways To Train Medial Delts”


Capped delts are a must in Men’s Open bodybuilding. The silhouette of thick, rounded shoulders topping the V-taper is a staple of many Mr. Olympia winners.

On March 28, 2023, Hunter Labrada took to his YouTube channel to share what he considers one of the best exercises for working the medial delts — the muscle in the shoulder responsible for abducting the arm from the torso (moving it away from the body). Listen to his breakdown about cable lateral raises below:

[Related: Breon Ansley’s Shoulder Training — Heavy Weight Doesn’t Guarantee Hypertrophy]

Hunter Labrada on Shoulder Training

Labrada’s training split changes depending on his targets during his off-season, but cable lateral raises have been a staple in his routine for approximately three years. The rationale for his preference for cables over dumbbells for lateral raises is straightforward.


The pivot point during a lateral raise is the shoulder. Gravity pulls the weight down toward the ground. When holding a dumbbell with the wrist, elbow, and shoulder stacked on top of each other, there is no tension in the bottom position due to that vertical alignment. 

It requires zero effort to maintain your shoulder position.

However, a cable’s force isn’t pulling toward the floor but toward the bottom of the cable rack. In his setup, Labrada has a cuff around his wrist and the cable on a diagonal behind his body. With the cable in this position, there is resistance on the shoulder to maintain the starting position. That resistance increases through the range of motion during each rep.

I prefer using cables…you’re able to get a better resistance profile out of them.

After explaining why he keeps cable lateral raises in his programming, Labrada shared how to get into position to perform it effectively.

[Related: Jay Cutler Displays Dumbbell Bench Press Tips for Chest Hypertrophy]

How to Set Up the Cable Lateral Raise

With the cables set up in their bottom positions, slip your wrist through the first cuff. Perform a full clockwise spin toward the opposing cable. Once there, slip your other hand through the other cuff. Once you step back toward the center, the cables should be crossed behind you.

Step forward to where the top of the movement aligns the arms and the cables (this will depend on the athlete’s height and how far up the cables are on the machine). The reason for lining up the arms and cables at peak contraction is to ensure the movement is aligned with your structure:

That’s putting us in the scapular plane, where the shoulder is most stable and capable of the most output.

Labrada recommended the cue of driving the arms toward the ground. Rather than raising his arms to initiate the movement, Labrada drives his arms down and, “drags his arms through the dirt,” and then thinks about reaching his arms out to the walls.

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Featured image: @hunterlabrada on Instagram

The post Hunter Labrada on Why Cable Lateral Raises Are “One of the Best Ways To Train Medial Delts” appeared first on BarBend.

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