Two-For-One Muscle-Building Moves

For those who have 3D Muscle Building in your library already, you may have noticed that the one-arm cable lateral is described as a stretch-position exercise for the medial-delt head. While that’s correct, there is resistance all the way through the range of motion, so you get resistance at the point of contraction as well as at stretch.


Therefore, you could classify one-arm cable laterals as both a stretch and contracted exercise, but it’s actually more of a stretch-position move because of the angle of pull at the bottom: The resistance is generally more targeted at the bottom than it is at the top. Plus, most people tend to roll their shoulder back at the top, which gets the traps involved.

If you don’t have any problems with shoulder development, your full-range 3D medial-delt routine could be something as simple as this:

Midrange: Presses or Dumbbell upright rows, 3 x 9, 7, 5
Stretch/Contracted: One-arm cable laterals, (4X) 4 x 12

If you do find yourself struggling with shoulder development and need even more emphasis, however, you could simply add lateral raises as the last exercise, which is a pure contracted-position movement. 4X training is an excellent choice for an additional boost to your muscle-building arsenal.

For those of you who haven’t seen me mention it before, 4X is when you take a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you do only 10-12 reps. Rest 35 seconds, then do it again. Continue this for four sets, but on the last one you go all out to failure (it will be less than the 10-12 reps if you’ve chosen the right weight):

Midrange: Presses or Dumbbell upright rows, 3 x 9, 7, 5
Stretch/Contracted: One-arm cable laterals, (4X) 4 x 12
Contracted: Lateral raises, (4X) 4×12

Keep in mind that 4X sequences can also be reduced to 3X if you find that four sets is too much volume for you, or if you simply want to go a bit heavier. You can obviously use a bit more weight with 3X since you have one less set, but still shoot for the same approximate rep range to maximize your time under tension.

There are several other “two-for-one” exercises listed in 3D Muscle Building. Some examples of those are cable flyes (stretch and contracted for pecs); shrugs (stretch and contracted for upper traps); machine pullovers (stretch and contracted for lats).

About the Author

Jonathan Lawson has been working in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years; weight training for 21 years, competed in numerous bodybuilding competitions, worked for IRON MAN Magazine for 17 years, co-owns where he has co-published over 15 e-books and writes a daily training blog.  He has appeared on the covers of, and been featured in, dozens of international magazines, books and e-books.