10 Effective Cable Shoulder Workouts for Bigger Delts

Cable exercises are often safer than free weights and can be more effective when used correctly. In addition, cable exercises aren’t complicated, and using them can bring variety into your workout regime. There are several effective cable shoulder workouts for bigger delts you can choose between to try. 

The ten most effective cable exercises include overhead cable press, cable single-arm lateral raise, cable crossover reverse fly, cable shoulder press, and face pulls. Cable exercises are easy to adapt to and are an excellent way to build bigger delts. 

Effective Cable Shoulder Workouts For Bigger Delts

The 10 effective cable shoulder workouts for bigger delts are:

  • Cable overhead press 
  • Cable single arm lateral raise 
  • Cable crossover reverse fly 
  • Cable shoulder press
  • Face pulls
  • Cable bent-over reverse fly
  • Cable front raise 
  • Cable upright row
  • Cable Cuban press
  • Cable shrug

Cable exercises can be used for both push and pull days and help you focus on different aspects of your delts to create a well-rounded aesthetic.

You can use cable machines in various ways as they are versatile equipment. Before we get started, check out our post on The Perfect Shoulders And Abs Workout For Beginners if you are a beginner at shoulder exercises, as it can help you understand the right way to start.

Also, if you are in a hurry to see the best cable machines we use for workouts, check the products below.

 

1. Cable Overhead Press 🏋️‍♂️

Cable Overhead Press

Image source: The Optimal You

The cable overhead press is a perfect exercise if you want to build bigger delts.

It works on your posterior delts and equally works on your anterior delts at the same time.

This workout conveniently ensures you are working towards a balanced look. 

You begin by placing a straight bar onto the lower cable and setting your weight to the one you are comfortable with while also pushing yourself.

Hold the bar with an overhand grip – i.e., your palms facing towards the floor.  

Overhead Press

Your grip will need to be slightly wider than your shoulder width, and your feet need to be positioned about shoulder-width apart.

Engage your core while focusing on your posture; you must pull your shoulders back and down. 

Once you are in position, pull the cable over your head and backward. Hold this pose for two seconds before lowering the cable to your starting position. 

Your last rep should feel like a push, and you can increase the intensity of this movement by raising your weight or adding more reps.

 

2. Cable Single-Arm Lateral Raise 🙋‍♂️

Single Arm Lateral Raise

Cables are great because they ensure that your muscles are under tension throughout each movement, whereas when using free weights, your muscle tension peaks at the top of the raise and then disappears when you bring your arms back down. 

Single-arm lateral raises will allow you to focus on each side of your body equally to create balance.

You need to attach a single-hand grip to the lower cable to start.

Next, position your body, so your right side is to the machine, and grab the single-handle grip with your left hand.

Finally, you can balance yourself by holding onto the machine with your right hand. 

Single Arm Lateral Raise 2

Image source: Inginio Virtual

Focus on keeping your posture straight, and place your feet roughly a shoulder-width apart. 

While exhaling, lift the single-hand grip until your left arm is straight and in line with your shoulder.

While you inhale, take the cable back down to the starting position.  

Once you have completed your reps on the left side, swap over to your right-hand side, and be sure to complete the same number of reps at the same weight as you did on your left side.

Balance is crucial. 

 

3. Cable Crossover Reverse Fly 🏋️‍♀️

cable crossover fly2

The Cable crossover reverse fly doesn’t place much pressure on your back, and many people find it more comfortable to do than other cable exercises.

You begin by putting a single-hand grip on the top cable and standing in the machine’s middle.

Ensure you choose a weight suitable for your strength level. 

Take the left handle in your right hand and the right handle in your left hand. The cables need to be crossed in front of you.

Comfortably position a shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. See our post How To Build Bigger Traps And Grow Your Shoulders Fast to learn more.

 cable crossover fly

Extend your hands in front while keeping your elbows slightly bent, but your arms must be rigid. 

Keep your core engaged, and open your arms until they form a “T” shape. Ensure that your back is straight throughout this movement, and you pull your shoulders back.

Then, slowly bring your arms to the starting position, and repeat your next rep. 

To increase the difficulty of this movement, you can increase your weights and add more reps to your routine.

Cable machines are useful for various exercises. If you are interested in adding a cable machine to your home gym. Check out our top three recommended products below.

Preview
Overall Best
XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine with Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks, 19 Adjustments, and Accessory Package XM-7626
Best Alternative
Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine, Dual 160 Lb. Weight Stacks
Best Budget
Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station with LAT Pull, Row Bar, and Multi-Grip Pull-Up Station
Product Name
XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine
Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Cable Machine
Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station
Weight
Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks
Two 160 lb. weight stacks
Max weight of 250 Pounds
Adjustments
19 Settings
20 Settings
17 Settings
Dimensions
86.2 x 36.2 x 8.9 inches
‎42.3 x 62.6 x 83 inches
‎80 x 7 x 7 inches
Accessories
Hand straps, long strap handles, triceps rope, short bar, long bar, leg extension leg curl strap, and ankle strap.
Chinning bar and two weight stacks.
Not Stated
Overall Best
Preview
XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine with Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks, 19 Adjustments, and Accessory Package XM-7626
Product Name
XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine
Weight
Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks
Adjustments
19 Settings
Dimensions
86.2 x 36.2 x 8.9 inches
Accessories
Hand straps, long strap handles, triceps rope, short bar, long bar, leg extension leg curl strap, and ankle strap.
Interested?
Best Alternative
Preview
Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine, Dual 160 Lb. Weight Stacks
Product Name
Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Cable Machine
Weight
Two 160 lb. weight stacks
Adjustments
20 Settings
Dimensions
‎42.3 x 62.6 x 83 inches
Accessories
Chinning bar and two weight stacks.
Interested?
Best Budget
Preview
Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station with LAT Pull, Row Bar, and Multi-Grip Pull-Up Station
Product Name
Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station
Weight
Max weight of 250 Pounds
Adjustments
17 Settings
Dimensions
‎80 x 7 x 7 inches
Accessories
Not Stated
Interested?

 

 

4. Cable Shoulder Press 🦾

Cable chest fly

The cable shoulder press is a similar movement to the overhead press, except that you use a cable machine instead of dumbbells or a bar.

You will need to attach the straight bar to the lowest cable attachment. 

Focus on keeping your posture straight, and stand a shoulder’s width apart with your feet.

Begin by pulling the bar up until it is in front of your shoulders while inhaling and squeezing your glutes.

Pull the bar over your head as you exhale and return your arms to the starting position. 

Throughout the movement, you should keep your core engaged.

Also, see our posts on Collarbone Exercises for a More Defined Beauty Bone and The Best Calisthenics Shoulder Workouts for more tips on working this area of your body.

 

5. Face Pulls 🧘‍♂️

Face Pull

Cable face pulls are a great exercise to improve your posture and work your middle trapezius, posterior deltoids, and rhomboids.

To keep the tension on the correct muscles, you must keep your arms level with your shoulders and your torso upright. 

To do this workout, follow the steps below.

First, you need to attach a two rope attachment onto the top table and bring it to chest height.

Keep your posture straight, and place your feet a hips-width apart. 

Hold onto both handles of the rope with a neutral grip, and you can put one foot in front of the other to stabilize yourself. 

Your hands need to be at head level, and you should lower your elbows.

Pull the rope towards your face, and focus on contracting your rear deltoids.

Return your arms towards the machines.

You should use a heavier weight or increase your reps to make this movement more challenging. 

 

6. Cable Bent-Over Reverse Fly 🧎‍♀️

Cable Bent-Over Reverse Fly

Using cables to do the bent-over reverse fly ensures that your rear deltoids are constantly engaged, and it is better on your back.

You also have a wider range of motion than you do with dumbbells.

Start by standing in the middle of the cable machine and connect the single grip handles to the lower cable.

Cross the cables in front of you by holding the right handle in your left hand and the left handle in your right hand.

Your feet need to be shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.

You need to lean forward from your hips until your body is parallel to the floor, but ensure that your back and posture are straight. 

Throughout the movement, you need to keep your core engaged.

Next, pull your arms into a “T” position and hold for two seconds before lowering your arms to the starting position. 

The weight you set should be heavy enough that your last rep is a push but not so weighty that you cannot do the correct form. 

 

7. Cable Front Raise 💪

Cable pull through exercise

Cable front raises are an effective anterior deltoid exercise that ensures that your deltoids are under tension throughout the entire movement.

Start by attaching a rope handle or straight bar to a low pulley machine.

Then stand so that your back is to the machine with the cable in front of you. 

Effectively you are standing between the machine and the cable.

Hold the grip in front of your hips, and bend your knees slightly.

You need to bend your arms and keep your core engaged.

Lift the handle over your head until the handle is parallel to the floor. 

Slowly bring your arms back to the first position, and repeat this movement for the second rep.

Focus on using a weight that pushes your muscles to build more strength but is not too heavy. 

You can make this workout more challenging by raising your weight and adding additional reps. 

 

8. Cable Upright Row 👍

Cable Straight-Bar Upright Row1

Image Source: Muscle and Strength

Cable upright rows are a shoulder-friendly alternative to the upright row with free weights.

Using a rope handle is best on your shoulder, but you can also use a straight bar.

Again, your form is essential to protect your joints and tendons. 

Attach the rope handle or straight bar to the lowest table, and hold onto the attachment slightly wider than shoulder width.

Slowly bring the bar up to a midchest level, and keep this pose for two seconds before returning to the starting position. 

For effective results, use a heavier weight so that your last rep is a push.

To increase the difficulty of this movement, you can increase the reps or use a heavier weight.

If you want to keep improving, continuously increase the weight you use. 

 

9. Cable Cuban Press 😎

Cuban Press

The Cuban cable press is effective and perfect for squeezing an effective exercise into a short workout.

This movement works for all three of your deltoids.

Using cables ensures you keep the tension on your muscles throughout the movement. 

Start by attaching a start, revolving bar to the lowest cable or attach two “D” shaped handles to a dual-low cable machine.

Hold the attachment with an overhand grip, and pull it up to your thighs.

Next, slightly bend your arms and pull the attachment up to your sternum in a vertical row movement. 

Then, you need to rotate your arms externally and away while raising the bar to your forehead and then over your head.

Slowly bring your arms back to the first position by reversing this movement.

cuban press 2

Focus on engaging your core and maintaining a straight posture throughout the movement.

Your weight shouldn’t be so heavy that it compromises your form, but it should be heavy enough that your last rep is a push.

If you can comfortably do more than 12 reps, you should increase your weight. 

To increase the level of this workout, you can increase the total number of reps you do. 

Finally, if you are a woman trying to build these muscles, you should check our post on Back And Shoulder Workouts For Women At Home. It will help you learn to build these muscles the right way.

 

10. Cable Shrug 🕺

Cable Shrug

Image Source: Muscle and Strength

The shrug is one of the most effective deltoid workouts created.

Shrugs mainly target your trapezius muscle and will help you sculpt a more well-rounded upper body and back.

In addition, cable shrugs are an excellent workout to build bigger delt muscles. 

First, you will attach a straight bar to the lowest cable and hold the bar with an overhand grip.

As you exhale, shrug your shoulders upwards. Don’t use your arms to move the bar; only your shoulders should move. 

As you inhale, slowly bring your shoulders back to your starting position.

Your posture must be straight throughout the movement, and your core engaged.

Shrugs may feel incredibly simple, but they are effective.

If you want to make this movement more challenging, you can increase the weight you use and additional reps to your workout. 

 

Tips to Use Cable Machines Effectively 🙂

Tips to Use Cable Machines Effectively

Cable machines are an exceptional addition to any workout regime and ensure that you are correctly building your deltoid muscles.

Focusing on your form is crucial if you want to avoid injuring yourself.  

Regularly incorporating these exercises into your workouts will allow you to see better results faster.

Keep track of what weight you use during each workout and how many reps you complete.

This way, you can see your progress over time and enable you to push yourself when it is necessary. 

If you aim to build bigger delts and gain strength, you can increase your weight for the last set to fatigue your muscles. Also, see our post on Best Shoulder Workouts to Get Bigger Delts for more information.

 

Conclusion 🤗

effective cable exercises

Using a cable machine in your shoulder workouts is effective as they ensure that your muscles are under tension throughout your movements.

Free weights put tension on your muscles up until the top of your rep, and the tension then dissipates as you bring the weight back to your starting point. 

Cable workouts add variety to your workout regime, which is one of the best ways to build bigger delts.

Consistency is the key to achieving your goals, and you must keep working harder to see results.

Regularly increasing your weights and reps will increase your muscle strength.  

Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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