10 Incredible Cable Shoulder Exercises for a Massive Shoulder

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Cable shoulder exercises

Photo Credits- Sport photo created by sergeycauselove – www.freepik.com

Cable machine is a great modality to bring variations into your workout program. You can use different angles and positions to train your muscles.

Here in this article, you will find some awesome cable exercises for shoulders that will specifically target every part of your delts, i.e., the front, lateral and rear delts.

Also, in the end, you will find one great shoulder workout that can be done on a cable machine, which you can follow right away. So first, let’s talk about the exercises.

Cable Shoulder Exercises

1. Cable Front Raises

This exercise is one of the best cable exercises for the front part of your shoulder. You can completely isolate your front delts with this exercise.

Main Targeted Muscle- front delts

How to do

1. Hook the pulley at a lower part of a cable machine and attach a straight bar on it.

2. Stand at a shoulder-width stance with your back facing the cable machine. Then, grab each end of the bar and stand straight with your hands straight down at the front.

3. Start the exercise by moving your hands up while keeping your arms straight and pause when your hands are just above your shoulder height.

4. Gradually return to the starting position and then repeat the movement.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

This exercise can also be done with a rope or handles. You just need to keep your elbows slightly bend and bring your arms above the shoulder height.

Cable exercises are meant to isolate the muscle so don’t go too heavy on these exercises. Also, remember to concentrate on each movement you perform during the exercise.

2. One-hand Cable Shoulder Press

This is a perfect exercise to target all muscles of your shoulders. You can specifically focus on each arm separately which is great if you have a muscular imbalance, or if one shoulder is weaker than the other.

Main Targeted Muscle- lateral and front delts

How to do

1. Attach a pulley at about your hip height. Hold the handle and take your hand up and keep it close to your shoulder.

2. Start pushing your hand up by squeezing your shoulders hard. Your abs should be tight and back should be straight.

3. Extend your hand at the top and return slowly to the starting position. Do the same movement with your other hand.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

Studies show that cable shoulder press done with a single hand increases core activation because the oblique and abs work together to stabilize the body during unilateral movement.

3. Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raise

If you want that round look on your shoulders, then this exercise will give you that roundness. This will target your lateral head of your deltoids which is the main muscle responsible for the width of your shoulders.

Main Targeted Muscle- lateral delts

How to do

1. Attach a handle at the lower end of a cable machine. Stand at a shoulder-width stance with your sides facing the cables.

2. Hold the handles and keep your hands in front of the body. This will be your starting position.

3. Now start raising your hands to the sides with a slight bend in the elbow and pause when your hands are parallel to the ground.

4. Return back to the starting position and stretch your shoulders at the end. Do the same movement with the other hand.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

If you are experienced or have good mobility in your shoulders, then you can do this exercise with your hands at the back as shown in the above video. If you are a beginner, then stick with the basic version of lateral raise.

4. Incline Cable Lateral Raises

This exercise is a great variation of the lateral raises. Here, you can target both your side and rear delts together. Remember that you will need a bench for this. So try this exercise if you haven’t already and you will love it!

Main Targeted Muscle- lateral delts

How to do

1. Attach both handles at each end of a cable machine. Place a bench in between the machine and set the bench at about a 60° angle.

2. Grab the right side of the cable with your left hand and the left cable with your right hand.

3. Hold the handles and lay down onto the bench. Keep your hands down together with a slight bend in the elbow. This will be your starting position.

4. Now start raising your hands up to the sides and phase when your arms are parallel to the ground. You elbow should be bend slightly.

5. Bring your hands down to the starting position and repeat the exercise.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

After doing this exercise, your shoulder will look bigger from the sides because your back and side part of your delts will beast up!

5. Incline Cable Shoulder Press

This exercise is another variation of a shoulder press which is done on an incline bench. This exercise allows you to perform the presses without using any momentum. Thus other muscles will be engaged less and you can completely isolate your shoulders.

Main Targeted Muscle- lateral and front delts

How to do

1. Attach both the handles at the bottom of a cable machine and place an incline bench in between. Bench angle should be at about 60°.

2. Grab both the handles from each hand and lay down onto the bench. Your back should be straight.

3. Start pushing your hands up by squeezing your shoulders and reach to the top when both hands are almost together.

4. Pause at the top and then slowly bring your hands back down to the shoulder height.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

Your hands should move straight up and down. Don’t completely extend your elbows at the top as this will engage your traps more into the movement. Remember to breathe out as you press up and breathe in the way down.

6. Cable Rear Delt Rows

This exercise will build your rear delts which makes your shoulder look wider from the sides. It’s very important to train your rear delts as most people have underdeveloped rear delts.

Main Targeted Muscle- rear delts

How to do

1. Sit on a seated cable row machine and keep your legs on the platform. Your knee should be slightly bend.

2. Grab each end of the bar and keep your back straight while holding the bar. You can also use a straight bar but make sure that you are holding it with a supinated grip.

3. With your chest up and shoulders rolled back, start pulling the weights and bring the bar towards your upper abdominal area. Your elbow should go out and should be at about 45° angle.

4. Pause at the end and then return back to the starting position.

Recommended Reps- 12- 15

The key thing to note here is the elbow positioning. As your elbow goes out, the focus shift towards the upper back and rear delts. A 45° angle is the preferred angle to train the rear delts.

7. Incline Cable Front Raises

Another great variation to the regular front raises. If you don’t want other muscles to get activated and want to completely focus on the front delts then this exercise is for you. After doing this exercise, you will feel an amazing pump and your shoulders will look bigger.

Main Targeted Muscle- front delts

How to do

1. Attach both the handles at the lower end of a cable machine and place an incline bench in between. Fix the bench at about a 90° angle.

2. Grab both the handles from each hand and lay down onto the bench. Your neck and lower back should not bend too much.

3. Start raising both of your hands forward and pause at shoulder height. You should feel the tension on the front delts.

4. Slowly bring your hands down and stretch your shoulders at the bottom.

Recommended Reps- 15-20

You should discontinue the exercise if you feel pain at the joints. Also, warm up properly before doing any shoulder exercises.

8. Rear Delt Cable Flys

This is a great isolation exercise for your rear delts. I have seen many people having a big shoulder from the front view. However, if I see them from the side or behind, then their shoulders look small. This is because most people don’t train their rear delts. They only do presses and front raises.

But you should not skip the rear delts from your shoulder workout because it improves your posture and give your shoulder that that wide look from the side.

Main Targeted Muscle- rear delts

How to do

1. Attach both pulleys at the top part of the cable machine.

2. Grab the right side of the cable with your left hand and the left cable with your right hand.

3. Stand in between the cable machine and then move a few steps back while holding the cables.

4. Raise your hands and keep both hands together and from there, start moving your hands back with a slight bend in the elbow.

5. Pause when both arms are straight and parallel to the ground and squeeze your rear delts harder.

6. Slowly bring your hands back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Recommended Reps- 15-20

You can also do this exercise in a kneeling position. The standing doing version is more athletic and will engage your core more whereas the seated position is good to just isolate your shoulders without using any other muscle. You can do both according to your goals.

9. Single-hand Rear Delt Flys

Another effective exercise for your rear delts! Some people cannot use rear delts during fly exercises due to lack of mind and muscle connection. But this exercise will be a great alternative for you. It will completely isolate your rear delts.

Main Targeted Muscle- rear delts

How to do

1. Attach a pulley at about shoulder height and stand in front of the cable machine with your sides facing the cables.

2. Hold the cables from the other hand and keep your elbow and arms at shoulder height. Your elbow should be slightly bend.

3. Now start moving your arms horizontally and bring them towers the side of the body. Your chest should be up throughout the movement.

4. Pause when your arm is perpendicular to the shoulder. Then return back to the starting position and repeat the exercise.

Recommended Reps- 15-20

Your rear delts are the one that gives width to your shoulders from the side view. It also tends to get weak due to our daily posture and sedentary lifestyle. So always have them in your shoulder workout.

10. Face Pull

This is one of the best exercises not only for your back shoulders but for the entire scapular muscles. If you want healthy shoulders, then you should do this exercise at least twice a week.

Main Targeted Muscle- rear delts

How to do

1. Attach a rope at the upper part of the cable machine. Hold each end of the rope and take a few steps back.

2. Stand at a shoulder width stance or a split stance, whichever is comfortable for you. Then, start pulling the ropes towards your nose.

3. Your elbow should go out and always go back. Think as if you want to hit someone standing behind you with your elbows.

4. Pause and then bring your hands forward and stretch your rear delts at the end.

Recommended Reps- 15- 20

You can do this at the beginning of the workout or at the very end. Make sure to use moderate weight on this, otherwise you can hurt your shoulder joints.

Cable Shoulder Workout

As we already discussed cable exercises for shoulder, now I will give you a sample shoulder workout, which you can start doing right away!

I have already discussed each exercise in detail so you can simply scroll the screen up and understand about the exercise in detail. So without wasting your time, let’s start with the workout!

1. One-hand Cable Shoulder Press- Do 4 sets of 10 reps. Take 1-2 minute rest in between sets.

2. Superset (1)

  • Cable Front Raises- 3×12
  • Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raise- 3×12

Do both of the exercises together without any rest in between and that will be your 1 set in total. Then take 1-2 minute rest and then complete the rest 2 sets.

3. Incline Cable Lateral Raises – Do 3 sets of 12 reps. Take 2-minute rest in between each set.

4. Superset (2)

  • Cable Rear Delt Rows- 3×10
  • Rear Delt Cable Flys- 3×10

Do both the exercises together without any rest in between each set. Take 1-2 minute rest and then continue with the supersets. This will fire up your rear delts.

And that’s it!

Final Words

So this was all about how to use a cable machine to train the entire part of your shoulders. But always remember to add dumbbell and barbell exercises along with cables to give the perfect shape and size to your shoulders. As cable exercises alone are not enough for growth.

If you found this article helpful then please share it with your friends and relatives. Also, try all of these exercises mentioned above and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Roshan S Pillai

Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

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