The 10 Best Cable Shoulder Workouts & Cable Shoulder Exercises

The 10 Best Cable Shoulder Workouts & Cable Shoulder Exercises

Feb 04, 2024

best cable shoulder exercises ripl fitness

Build Bolder Shoulders With The 10 Best Cable Shoulder Workouts

Want to add size and definition to your shoulders? Look no further than the cable machine. With constant tension provided throughout the movement, cables are one of the most effective ways to blast all three heads of the delt and sculpt standout shoulders.

In this guide, we break down the 10 best cable shoulder exercises to take your training to the next level. Plus an example cable shoulder workout, tips on proper form and rep ranges, and why cables reign supreme for shoulder development. Let's get started!

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Why Cables Are Ideal For Shoulder Training

Before diving into the top exercises, let's look at why cables should be a staple in your shoulder workout routine:

  • Time under tension: Cables provide resistance through the entire range of motion, enabling more time under load compared to free weights. This equates to greater muscle damage and hypertrophy.
  • Safety: You can train to failure without worrying about dropping weights. Cables provide smooth, controlled motion.
  • Versatility: Easily change angles, grips, attachments, and body positioning to constantly hit shoulders from new angles.
  • Muscle isolation: Excellent for honing in on specific heads of the delt. Target front, side and rear delts.
  • Unilateral training: Train one shoulder at a time to identify and correct muscle imbalances.
  • Hypertrophy focus: Lower weight and higher volume compared to compound moves make cables perfect for sculpting rounder delts.

Now that you know the unique benefits of cables, let's get to the exercises!

10 Best Cable Shoulder Exercises

Here are the top cable variations to add size and shape across all heads of your shoulders:

1. Cable Shoulder Press

  • Primary focus: Front delts
  • Secondary movers: Side delts, traps, triceps

This classic pressing movement targets the front delts. Adjust stance to hit all angles.

2. Single-Arm Cable Shoulder Press

  • Primary focus: Front delt, side delt
  • Secondary movers: Traps, triceps, serratus anterior

unilateral move trains stabilizers. Great for identifying and correcting muscle imbalances.

3. Cable Upright Row

  • Primary focus: Front delts, side delts
  • Secondary movers: Traps, biceps

Upright rows train the front and side heads in unison while building upper traps. Use light weight.

4. Cable Lateral Raise

  • Primary focus: Side delts
  • Secondary movers: Front delts, serratus, supraspinatus

A staple for developing side delt size and shape. Keep elbows slightly bent.

5. Cable Rear Delt Fly

  • Primary focus: Rear delts
  • Secondary movers: Rhomboids, traps

Fly motion targets the often-neglected rear delt. Use cables for constant tension.

6. Cable Front Raise

  • Primary focus: Front delts
  • Secondary movers: Side delts, traps, serratus

Fantastic move for capping off the front delts. Can perform single arm or double arm.

7. Cable Y-Raise

  • Primary focus: Front, side and rear delts
  • Secondary movers: Traps, rotator cuff

Full shoulder movement trains all three heads in one fluid motion.

8. Cable Face Pull

  • Primary focus: Rear delts
  • Secondary movers: Traps, rotator cuff

Reverses hunched-over posture by strengthening upper back and rotator cuff.

9. Cable Bent-Over Rear Delt Fly

  • Primary focus: Rear delts
  • Secondary movers: Rhomboids, traps, teres minor

Bent position enhances stretch and peak contraction of rear delts.

10. Cable Shrug

  • Primary focus: Upper traps
  • Secondary movers: Rear delts

Vertical shrugging motion builds thickness through the upper traps.

Cable Shoulder Exercise Programming Tips

To maximize growth, incorporate these tips when programming cable shoulder exercises:

  • Rep range: 10-15 reps trains muscular endurance. Lower weight, higher volume focuses on shoulder sculpting.
  • Rest periods: Take 60-90 seconds between sets on isolation moves. Allows muscles to clear lactic acid.
  • Exercise order: Train shoulders near the start of your workout when muscles are fresh.
  • Train to failure: Cables enable safe training to failure, eliciting maximal muscle fiber recruitment.
  • Tempo: Include a peak contraction hold and emphasize the negative portion of each rep.
  • Train frequency: Target shoulders 2-3 times per week to spur new growth.

Body Builder Workout On Cable Machine Body Builder ripl fitness

Example Cable Shoulder Hypertrophy Workout

This 3-day routine combines compound and isolation cable moves to pack size onto all heads of the delts:

Workout A

  • Cable Shoulder Press: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Cable Lateral Raise: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Cable Rear Delt Fly: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Cable Shrug: 3 sets x 15 reps

Workout B

  • Single-Arm Cable Shoulder Press: 3 sets x 12-15 reps (each arm)
  • Cable Upright Row: 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Cable Front Raise: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Cable Face Pull: 3 sets x 15 reps

Workout C

  • Cable Y-Raise: 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Bent-Over Cable Rear Delt Fly: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raise: 3 sets x 12-15 reps (each arm)
  • Cable Shrug: 3 sets x 15 reps

Perform Workout A, Workout B, rest day, Workout C, Workout A, etc. High volume and varied exercises continually hammer muscles from new angles.

cable cross machine at a health club. shoulder cable ripl fitness

Why Are Cables So Effective For Shoulder Growth?

Let's recap why cables should be the focal point of your delt training:

  • Cable resistance is smooth and continuous with no sticking points, enabling greater time under tension in the peak contraction range compared to dumbbells or machines. More time under load equates to greater muscle damage and growth stimulus.
  • The pulley/track system allows you to lift at the optimal plane for each head of the shoulder. Hitting muscles from more angles exposes new fibers and recruitment.
  • You can safely push to failure, achieving full muscle exhaustion. Failure training causes maximal muscle fiber activation and microtearing.
  • Unilateral moves identify imbalances you can't detect with bilateral lifts like barbell presses.
  • Frequent angle changes provide variation that prevents plateau while blasting all shoulder angles.

So next time shoulders roll around, make the cable station your first stop. Follow the workouts here and get ready to take your delts up a notch!

Bodybuilder Doing Heavy Exercise For Shoulders With Cable Muscular ripl fitness

FAQ Section

What is a shoulder workout?

A shoulder workout focuses on exercising the muscles around your shoulder joint, including those in your upper arm and shoulder blade. It's like giving your shoulders a fun challenge to make them stronger and look awesome!

Why choose a cable shoulder workout?

Choosing a cable shoulder workout means using a cable machine to target your shoulder muscles from all angles. Imagine it as a super-tool that helps your shoulders become superhero strong by pulling and pushing against a steady resistance.

What's so special about a cable machine?

A cable machine is like a playground for adults at the gym. It uses cables and pulleys to create resistance, allowing you to move your arms in all directions. It's like having a workout buddy that always pushes you to do your best.

What is the benefit of cable?

The benefit of using cable in workouts is like having a magic rope that keeps tension on your muscles the whole time you're moving. This means your muscles work harder, and you get stronger faster, like leveling up in a game.

How do shoulder muscles get stronger with cables?

When you use cables, your shoulder muscles stay under constant pressure throughout the entire move. It's like they're on a non-stop adventure, climbing and pulling, which makes them stronger and more defined.

What makes a shoulder workout with cables different?

A shoulder workout with cables is different because the cable machine is like a Swiss Army knife – it has a tool for every job. You can adjust it to target every part of your shoulder, making your workout super efficient.

What are the benefits of cable shoulder exercises?

The benefits of cable shoulder exercises include better muscle growth, safer movements, and the ability to correct muscle imbalances. It's like your shoulders are going to a spa, getting stronger and healthier without getting hurt.

Can you compare cable exercises to using dumbbells?

Comparing cable exercises to dumbbells is like comparing a smartphone to a regular phone. Both are great, but the cable machine offers more versatility and constant tension, making your workout smarter and more focused.

Why are cable machine shoulder exercises so good?

Cable machine shoulder exercises are so good because they let you hit your muscles from every angle. Imagine drawing with a super flexible pencil that never leaves the paper; that's what a cable machine does for your shoulder muscles.

How do you perform cable exercises?

To perform cable exercises, stand or sit near a cable machine, choose your weight, and then pull or push the cable using your arms. It's like playing tug-of-war with a very quiet opponent who always gives you just the right amount of challenge.

What types of exercises can you do with a cable machine?

With a cable machine, you can do a variety of exercises like the standing cable shoulder press, cable y-raise, or the single-arm shoulder press. It's like having a gym's worth of equipment all in one machine, ready to make your shoulders super strong.

How do shoulder cable exercises improve your shoulder health?

Shoulder cable exercises improve your shoulder health by strengthening the muscles around your shoulder joint and enhancing stability. It's like building a strong fortress around your shoulder to protect it from invaders!

Remember, whether you're facing the cable machine, pulling the cable towards you, or lifting it overhead, the key is to have fun and imagine your shoulders getting stronger and more powerful with each move.

working out rear delt and back muscles with cable machine ripl fitness

My Experience

How do cable machine exercises make working out fun and effective?

When you step up to a cable machine, it's like unlocking a treasure chest full of exciting workouts. Imagine doing a cable workout that feels like playing a game where you pull and push against a force that's always just right. The cable machine is your personal workout buddy, ready to help you train your shoulders to be strong and mighty.

With exercises like the reverse fly, you can pretend you're a bird spreading its wings wide, working the back of your shoulders. Or, when you do a cable y-raise, imagine lifting your arms to form a giant Y, cheering for your favorite team and working all parts of your shoulder at the same time!

Young woman working with a fitness instructor on a weightlifting machine shoulder cable exercise ripl fitness

And the best part? You don't have to move around a lot. Whether you're standing shoulder-width apart, facing away from the cable machine, or right in front of it, the cable pulley is like a magic wand that lets you target exactly where you want to strengthen. From the front of your shoulder with a bench press to the very back with isolation exercises, every movement is a step towards superhero shoulders.

But what makes cable exercises stand out? It's all about the variety! With just one cable, you can do so many exercises. You can pretend you're an archer pulling the bowstring with a single-arm cable shoulder press or a conductor leading an orchestra with the cable overhead press. Each exercise targets different areas, helping support your shoulder joint for better shoulder health and stability.

cable shoulder exercise workout ripl fitness

Think of the cable machine as the best playground equipment. It's not just about lifting weights; it's about moving your body in ways that make you stronger, more balanced, and ready for any adventure. Whether you're reaching high above your head or pulling something towards your chest, each movement is designed to make your shoulders the best they can be.

So next time you're at the gym, remember: the cable machine is your friend, ready to take you on a fun-filled journey to stronger shoulders. With the best cable machine exercises at your fingertips, you're not just working out; you're embarking on an adventure that makes your shoulders feel invincible!

For More Training Advice + Diet and Lifestyle visit us RIPL Fitness

PS: Make sure you check out the rest of our Shoulders Training Guides:

Supraspinatus Stretch: Your Supraspinatus Muscle & Rotator Cuff

8 Best Compound Shoulder Exercises

Around the World Shoulder Exercises + Workout

5 Frozen Shoulder Exercises For Pain Relief

10 Best trx shoulder exercises | TRX Suspension Training

Shoulder Calisthenics Workout | Bodyweight Shoulder Workout

10 Best Shoulder Dislocation Rehab Exercises

16 Best Cable Shoulder Exercises To Build Muscle & Shape Delts

8 Best Shoulder Bursitis Exercises

Shoulder Impingement Exercises For Shoulder Impingement Syndrome