A Good Use For Those Dumb, Handled Stretch Cords
Using bands for accommodating resistance is usually reserved for the big lifts, but they should also be a staple in smart shoulder training. The only problem? Equipment restrictions. Bands are often too thick to complete enough full range of motion reps to get a good training effect.
The secret is to use the ultra-light, handled bands that have become popular in commercial gyms. These bands have much smaller diameters and thickness, allowing you to apply accommodating resistance when used in combination with dumbbells. Holding the handles of the bands together with the handles of dumbbells works with the lateral raise and its variations.
Banded Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Keep the same light band and increase the dumbbell poundage. This allows you to train using strength, size, endurance, and metabolic-stress based rep schemes without sputtering out on range of motion or losing control of shoulder stability.
Be Explosive With Bands
Another advantage bands provide during lateral raises is the ability to train explosively without losing shoulder stability at the top of the movement.
Because the load is lighter at the bottom of the range when your hands are down by your sides, you're able to engage the delts more explosively and have the speed of contraction slowed down by the increased resistance through the bands at the top. This is great for targeting the fast twitch motor units in the shoulders while also providing a novel, pain-free stimulus for shoulder training.
Focus on increasing the contraction speed in the concentric (lifting) part of the movement while slowing down the eccentric (lowering) part of the exercise. Don't let the bands pull you down fast. Resist them.