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Lateral Shoulder Raises, Elbow Bend?


When doing lateral raises as i add weight i find i have to bend my elbows more and more. Is this "Cheating"? do you lose benefits from the movement by not have your arms straight out to the sides?

I've seen videos of top bodybuilders doing lat raises with crazy amounts of weight, and they always seem to have close to a 90 degree bend at the elbow.

In order for me to keep my arms straight I would likely have to cutt the weight in half at least and end up doing endless reps.

For some reason this doesn't hold true if i use the cable cross over to do 1 arm lateral raises though. Is that the option i should take, or is it ok do bend at the elbow?


I have the same problem, so I kept doing drop sets today (I think that's the right term), to try and keep my form as good as possible, even though I'm doing less weight for half the reps of each set - although, even with bad form I doubt I would have managed the weight for the full 12.

I absolutely hate the lateral raise, so that's why I'm not going to drop it. Despite how much I want to. :frowning:


Slight elbow bend is advisable, but don't let your form degrade throughout the set.

Watch how Branch does them:



"Cheating" is a matter of perspective. If you mean to do them that way, it might not be cheating. From a mechanical point of view, the more bent your arm is, the "easier" the rep will be since you're altering your leverage.

You don't want your arms locked straight because that'll direct the stress right to the elbow. But if you have them bent near-90 degrees, you've improved your leverage so much that heavier weights are possible, at the expense of direct muscular stress.

I agree that the slight arm bend shown is what the OP should mimic, but not the significant body swing... unless he's the size of Branch and using similar weight dumbbells.


I cackled when the there was a kid doing some very interesting sidebends in the vids.


Thanks for the tips