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Chain & Plate Side Delt Laterals
By Nick Nilsson

Deltoid Exercise The lateral or side deltoids are what make your shoulders wider. You canít change your bone structure therefore building these muscles is the only practical way to accomplish that increased width.

Iíve 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 dumbell laterals, you only get tension on the delts because gravity acts directly on the dumbells, pulling them straight down. This new exercise also adds tension on the delts laterally (directly out to the sides). 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 - itís worth it!). Be sure you get a fairly thick quality of chain that is rated to at least several hundred pounds or more.

Iíve 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 dumbell laterals, you only get tension on the delts because gravity acts directly on the dumbells, pulling them straight down. This new exercise also adds tension on the delts laterally (directly out to the sides). 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 - itís 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.

  • 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 itís 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 dumbell lateral raise. The barbell plate will come up and contact your upper abdomen.

  • 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 canít hold it up any longer.

Even though the motion itself is exactly like the dumbell 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.


Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of BetterU, Inc., an internet-based personal training company. He has been training for more than 14 years and has been a personal trainer for more than 8 years. He is the author of the training eBooks "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of", "Gluteus to the Maximus" and "Specialization Training" (click here now for more information on these books).

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