L-Laterals, Yay or Nay

Every time I do lateral raises, my inner elbows act up like clockwork. I can do the bent-arm L version pain free though. I was just wondering if L-lateral raises are a decent substitute, or does that render them kind of useless? Thanks.

They are a decent substitute. Just because your arms are bent that much does not make the exercise less effective.

The only difference between L-laterals and ‘normal’ lateral raises (slight bend in the elbows) is the moment arm. Because the weight is much closer to the delts with bent arms, you’re able to use a lot more weight on the exercise as opposed to the ‘normal’ version where the distance between the weights and your delts is much bigger. As long as you feel the stimulation in the side delt and you overload the exercise from session to session, I’d consider the exercise effective.

Having said that, the small muscles of the forearm are still recruited to help stabilize the weights. Because the distance is much smaller with the l-lateral version, you can do the movement pain free. But the pain might return when you overload the stabilizers by increasing the weight. Therefore, an even better substitute might be to switch to machines for your side delts and give you inner elbows a little break for a couple of weeks.

With isolation machines there’s very little need for stabilization at the elbow joint. At the same time, you could decide to work on fixing your elbow issues by performing targeted remedial exercises at the end of a workout session. For example, if you are training 4x/week, you could do forearm work 2x/week. You could even extend it to non training days and make it 3-4x/week. The forearms recover pretty fast from resistance training so a higher frequency would not be an issue.


Absolutely useless. Just quit altogether…

Man, if I didn’t use alternative ways to work muscles to avoid pain, I probably wouldn’t be lifting at all.

They are a fine substitute - especially if they are keeping you out of pain and working the muscle even if it is to a lesser extent.

Have you ever tried British Laterals