Imagine that one has ones arms straight by ones sides, thumbs pointing forwards, palms facing own body and each other. Now imagine bending elbows 90deg as if to do a biceps hammer curl. Now use this as a starting positions for a lateral raise rather then having elbows fully straight.

How does this exercise compare to a standard straight arm lateral raise? Does it hit the rotator cuff more?

  • Which element of the rotator cuff?
    – Beck
    Jun 8 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


It would not have any affect on which muscles get biased. Assuming the angle of your upper arms stay the same, then the moment arm is the same which means the same force is applied to the same area.

One difference would be holding the weight closer to your body will decrease the leverage against your shoulder. This would allow you to lift more weight. The force applied to your shoulder would be the same so it makes no difference. It doesn't magically make your shoulder stronger or anything. It just decreases the leverage against it.

You could use this to your advantage and do a "mechanical dropset" by starting the set at the harder position and moving to the weaker position as the set progresses. So you'd start the lateral raise with your arms as straight out as your comfortable with. Then as you fatigue throughout the set, you start curling the weight to you to decrease the leverage. I'd recommend only doing this on the last set because it's going to really obliterate your shoulders.

  • Doesn't that depend on whether the upper arms remain in the frontal plain so that your forearms are in the sagittal plain with elbow 90 degrees? Since if that is the case, I do not see how your answer holds. Jul 9 at 7:12
  • Your upper arms leaving the frontal plane may alter the muscles used slightly, but from a mechanical perspective, the only thing that will affect the force applied to the shoulders by the dumbbells is the proximity to the shoulders with respect to the one dimensional axis running through the centre of the upper arm.
    – Ethan
    Jul 9 at 13:42
  • @Ethan The case I described makes it so that the dumbbells produce a torque force relative to the shoulder joints with the forearms serving as a lever and the torque raising with degrees of lat raise. That's quite considerable a difference compared to normal lat raises. Jul 10 at 14:44

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