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4 Shoulder Cable Workouts

shoulder cable workouts

Well-sculpted shoulders are the cornerstone of a powerful physique! To achieve those shoulder-boulders, you need the right approach to your training regimen along with nutrition.  This is where shoulder cable workouts slide in! Thanks to the versatility of the cable machine, you can target every part of your shoulders, ensuring a balanced and comprehensive development.

In this guide, you’ll get to know about cable shoulder workouts that help you boost your strength and mass, giving you the confidence to rock your favorite gym polos.

Sculpt your delts with resistance band shoulder exercises

Benefits Of Shoulder Cable Workouts

Constant Muscle Tension

Shoulder cable workouts are great because they offer constant tension in your muscles that free weights don’t. This is because cables offer consistent resistance, which is important for muscle growth and building endurance, keeping your muscles activate and engaged throughout.

For instance, when you lower the weight during bicep curls on cables, you feel more resistance as compared to dumbbells. This challenges your muscles, giving you better gains.

Get jacked with this shoulder workout

Multiple Angles

What makes cable shoulder workouts truly amazing is that they’re multipurpose. Whether you’re working front, back or side delts, you can make adjustments to your cable machine to target your muscle group. This is vital for a balance shoulder development as your shoulders need to be worked from every angle to truly gain in mass and size.

Since you can quickly change angles without compromising form or efficiency on cables, these workouts are exceptionally effective for hitting all parts of the shoulders.

Switch to dumbbell workouts with these 3 deltoid exercises

Resistance Levels

What’s more is that you can control the resistance levels when you’re doing cable machine shoulder exercises. Since you can adjust the weights and intensity, you can tailor the resistance level to match your goal.

This means you can lower the resistance for higher reps or drop sets, or increase the resistance for strength building with lower reps. Not only does this help you train for your goals, it also keeps you safe and at bay from injuries.

Ladies, don’t overlook your shoulder exercises. Get those smooth and defined delts with these shoulder workouts for women.

Muscles Targeted

Shoulder cable workouts

Shoulder cable workouts are great for your upper body. They can improve the range of movement of your shoulders and add a bit of oomph to your generic shoulder exercises. Compared to your usual dumbbells, the cables used for shoulder cable workouts are lighter and smaller. You can do similar exercises as you do with dumbbells and row bars but with an added variation.

Also, the levels of difficulty when using cables is more compared to the dumbbells but the risk of injury is less. You can push yourself harder with shoulder cable workouts easily.

Here are some muscles targeted with shoulder cable workouts:

1.Cable External Rotation

Shoulder cable workouts

Cable external rotation is one of the shoulder cable workouts you should incorporate into your exercise routine. It doesn’t build a lot of muscle mass but it’s a surefire way of preventing injury while keeping your shoulders healthy and strong.

Step By Step

  • Make sure the cable pulley is positioned to elbow height and then attach a D handle to it
  • Stand in front of the pulley and hold the handle with your arm far away
  • Make sure your grip is neutral
  • Slightly bend your elbow and keep it locked on your side
  • As you pull the handle inhale and rotate the shoulder externally away from your body
  • Go as far as your body allows but don’t overdo it or you might get injured
  • Hold the stance for a few seconds and then come back to the starting position
  • Repeat 10 to 12 times

2.Cable Upright Row

Shoulder cable workouts

If you are looking for effective shoulder cable workouts, then look no further than the cable upright row. It is an excellent exercise that targets your upper traps and side delts. You can spice things up by either using a rope attachment, straight bar, or cambered bar when doing this exercise.

Step By Step

  • Attach a rope, cambered bar, or a straight bar to a cable stack in the lowest position
  • Hold the bar with both hands palms facing upwards and stand in a neutral position
  • Your arms should be extended in front of you with the weight stack elevated
  • Keep your arms slightly bent and avoid locking them on your sides
  • Slowly pull the bar up inhale and bend your elbows and move your shoulders away from your body
  • Keep your back neutral and core engaged
  • When your elbows reach your shoulders, hold this position for a couple of seconds and then go back to the starting stance
  • Repeat 10 to 12 times 3 sets each

3.Single Cable Front Raise

Shoulder cable workouts

Single arm cable front raise is a type of isolation exercise that targets your medial and anterior deltoids. Perhaps one of the most important shoulder cable workouts, this one requires single arm movement at a time putting less strain on your shoulders and enforcing your body to focus on each arm independently.

Step By Step

  • Adjust the weight on the machine according to your preference
  • Grab onto the attached cable with your left hand
  • Face your body away from the machine and position your arm down with the cable in front of your legs
  • Your palms should be facing inwards toward your thighs
  • This is going to be your starting position
  • Make sure your back is neutral and your core engaged so your torso doesn’t swing back and forth when you do this exercise
  • Slowly and mindfully lift your left arm up with your elbow slightly bent and bring it up until it is perpendicular to the floor
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and exhale
  • As you lower your arm to the starting position slowly inhale
  • Repeat 10 to 12 times with 3 sets

4.Cable Lateral Raises

Shoulder cable workouts

If you want to do arguably one of the best shoulder cable workouts out there, then cable lateral raises are your best bet.

  • This workout targets your side delts throughout making them stronger.
  • Take two D handles and attach them to the lowest position on the machine
  • Hold the handles with each hand with your palms facing the floor
  • Position yourself in the middle and extend your arms fully in front of you
  • Make sure the weight stack is slightly elevated and one arm should cross over your other arm. This is going to be your starting stance
  • As you raise your arms to the side inhale, keeping your elbows slightly bent and make sure they are positioned higher than your wrists
  • When your shoulders reach shoulder height, hold this position for a few seconds while squeezing your side delt and then go back to the starting stance
  • Repeat 10 to 12 times with 3 sets

5. Cable Face Pulls

Face pulls is an exercise that can be easily done with a cable machine. It is great for developing and engaging your rear deltoids.


  • Select the weights on the cable machine and make sure to set the pulley at the top position
  • Connect the rope to the pulley
  • Hold both ends of the rope with a neutral grip ensuring your thumbs face the ceiling
  • Step away from the machine and keep your arm straight
  • Engage your core, bring your shoulders back and keep your back straight
  • Pull the rope to your face and make sure the rope splits to avoid hitting your face
  • Make sure your elbows are flared and then maintain a neutral grip
  • Hold this position and squeeze your rear deltoids
  • Bring your arms back to the starting position
  • Do 10 to 12 reps

6. Shoulder Cable Kneeling Press

This is one of the best shoulder cable workouts because it is a compound exercise. It works by targeting your side deltoids and makes your muscles work harder if you add more weight.


  • Set the pulley cable at the lowest position and make sure to use a straight bar
  • Select the weight accordingly
  • Get on your knees and hold the bar with an overhand grip
  • Make sure your arms are shoulder-width apart
  • Hold the bar in front of your chest ensuring your elbows are locked on your sides
  • Engage your core, bring your shoulders back and inhale as you lift press the bar overhead
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and then bring the bar back to the starting position
  • Do 10 to 12 reps

Key Takeaway

Building big and strong shoulders require more than bench presses a couple of times a week, you need to add a variety of different upper body exercises to get the results you desire. This is where shoulder cable workouts come into play.

They target almost all areas of your shoulder and provide a much-needed range of movement to your shoulders. The versatility of these workouts is great for when you get bored with the same old upper body exercises with dumbbells and barbell rows.


How do you train your shoulders with cables?

For the most effective shoulder cable workout, design a routine that incorporates exercises that target each of your delts in isolation as well as with compound movements. To train your shoulders with cables, add these exercises into your routine:

  • For Front (Anterior) Delts: Stand a few steps away from the cable and set up a bar attachment. Lift the cable attachment until your arms extend parallel to your body to work your front shoulders (anterior delts).
  • For Side (Lateral) Delts: Stand side-to-side with the cable and grab the attachment with your opposite hand. Lift the cable until your arm aligns with your shoulder to target your lateral delts.
  • For Rear (Posterior) Delts: With the cables at the highest, grab the attachments and pull them in a cross-arm way, squeezing your shoulder blades during the contraction to engage them.
  • For Front, Side & Rear Delts: Whether you’re seated or standing, push the attachment over your head for a cable shoulder press, engaging your side, front and rear delts all at once in this dynamic, compound movement.
Are cable shoulder exercises good?

Yes, cable shoulder exercises are great for getting those shoulder boulders. Not only can you do a variety of movements and exercises with cables, but you can also work all the muscle groups in your delts individually as well simultaneously. With these exercises, you get constant resistance, enabling you to maintain tension in your muscles, which activates and engages your muscles for growth. In addition, you can do isolated workouts such as cable lateral raises, cable front raises and cable rear delts or shoulder pulls. What’s more is that rales are much safer to work with when compared to barbells or dumbbells since they lock you in, reducing the risk of injury and keeping you safe as you get your gains.

What is the number 1 shoulder exercise?

According to several fitness experts, the best and number 1 shoulder exercise is the Standing Overhead Press. Since this is a compound movement, it works your front (anterior), side (lateral) and rear (posterior) delts all at once, along with secondary muscles such as your upper back and triceps. This exercise helps you increase strength and build mass in your shoulders, improving your functional strength. The best part is – you can do this exercise with cables, barbells and dumbbells depending on the equipment you have.

How do you hit front delts on cables?

To work your front or anterior delts on the cables, you’ll be doing Cable Front Raises. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can do this:

  • Stand with your back against the cable
  • Make sure you’ve using an attachment you’re comfortable with such as a bar or rope
  • Grab the pulley with both hands, maintaining shoulder-width gap
  • With a slight bend in your knee, lift the pulley so it’s horizontally parallel to your body
  • Raise the attachment until your arms extend fully to shoulder level
  • Controlling your movements, bring the pulley back down towards your knee then repeat

This exercise works your front delts in isolation.

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