Rear Delt Cable Exercises for Bigger & Stronger Shoulder

Doing rear delt cable deltoid exercises can help you to improve posture and strengthen the overall deltoid, and ultimately help you avoid the back and shoulder pain that poor posture brings.

The rear delts, are crucial for stable and healthy shoulders. Under-performing rear delts prevent you from gaining strength with overhead pressing and bench pressing. They also play a crucial role in your posture.

Rear Deltoid cable exercises help you to hone in on the small muscles of the rear deltoid by using a full range of motion that will explore the growth of your shoulder muscles.

You both must choose the right rear deltoid exercises and perform them in a way that maximally activates the rear deltoid.

Below you’ll find the best rear cable deltoid exercises for maximum posterior deltoid growth.

First, we understand the anatomy and functions of Deltoid, and then we explore the best posterior cable deltoid exercises benefits along with the best execution technique and Pro-tips, including workout hacks that save time and energy and boost recover

Anatomy & Function of the Deltoid

The deltoid muscle of the shoulder consists of three separate sections or heads.

Shoulder Anatomy
  • Anterior Deltoid: Your front deltoid’s main function is to move your arm up, forward, and to your center. 
  • Lateral Deltoid: Your lateral delt’s main function is shoulder abduction, which is bringing it up to the side.
  • Rear Deltoid: Your posterior deltoid’s main function is moving the arm outward and backward. It is also responsible for the external rotation of the shoulder. The rear delts are involved in many pulling exercises, and it acts as a stabilizer during pressing movements like the overhead press.

How to Strengthen Your Rear Deltoid With Cable Machine

  • Train rear deltoid with back workout: Though your rear delt muscles are technically located in your shoulders, most people like to train them on back day, instead of integrating them into your usual upper-body series. Your rear delts are already getting involved during the back workout day. So, why not add one or two dedicated cable rear delt exercises at the end of your back workout to finish the job?
  • Train Rear Delts Twice per week: You can also double up your rear-delt workouts—not your entire shoulder workouts—over the course of your training split. As long as you work enough rest days in and pay attention not to train back and shoulders on consecutive days.
  • Prioritize Rear Delts On Shoulder Day Among The Three Delt Heads: If your rear deltoids are lagging and weaker, then prioritize your rear-delt single-joint isolation exercise before working the middle and front delts. The delt head that you work first, when your energy levels are highest, is the one that will improve the fastest.
  • Choose A Solid Mass-Builder With Challenging Weights: Need to pick the right weight and rep range. Never go too heavy with single-joint exercises, as they can put undue pressure on a joint. Choosing a weight at which you fail on the 8-10 rep range is a solid muscle-building option.

Benefits of Cable Rear Delt Exercises

The rear delt cable exercises offer an effective way to train the rear deltoid muscle, let’s have a look at some other benefits of posterior delt exercises with a cable machine.

  • Limit Joint Stress: For people who experience discomfort in their joints during the row, fly cable workout are a great alternative. The cable changes the angle of the movement enough to limit the potential stress on the joints.
  • Rear Delt cable exercises are more evenly distributed, and you have more of a constant load on your rear (posterior) muscles throughout the whole range of motion.
  • Improve Posture: The ‘desk job’ posture, is where most people spend most of the day hunched over their computer with poor posture. A rounded back and hunched shoulders is a recipe for long-term hunching and injury. By strengthening the rear delts, your shoulders will tighten up your upper back and help to straighten up your posture.
  • The cable machine rear delt exercises offer almost unmatched versatility because you can change up the load, angle, grip positioning and body positioning easily.
  • The cable setup gives your muscles almost uninterrupted time under tension, and a huge pump — each of which can help optimize muscle growth.
  • Reduce Risk of Shoulder Injury: Working the rear delts will help to strengthen your shoulders and add muscle, therefore lowering the risking of rotator cuff injuries.
  • Improved Looks: Large rear delts help round out the shoulders to create the boulder-shoulder look that many of you are training, all while improving health and performance.

Best Rear Delt Cable Exercises

The best cable rear delt exercises are based on efficiency, safety, and effectiveness.

1. Bent over Cable Lateral Raise

If you’re looking for straightforward cable machine rear delt exercises to add to your, workout routine, the bent over cable raise is a great staple exercise to get you started.

It is an excellent exercise to train and isolate the rear deltoid muscle. It provides constant stress on the muscle.

Unlike dumbbell raises where the resistance varies during the lift, the cable pulley affords a uniform resistance throughout the motion.

Bent over Cable Raise

How To Do Bent over Cable Lateral Raise

  1. Grab the handles attached to two low pulleys (left-side handle in right hand, right-side handle in left hand), stand in the middle, then bend forward at the waist with back straight and parallel to the floor.
  2.  Raise your hands upward in an arc to shoulder level, such that the cables cross over.
  3. Lower the handles back down to the start position, your right hand directly in front of the left ankle and your left hand in front of the right ankle.

Tips

  • Pull slowly so that you are in control of the weight at all times.
  • Remember to exhale while you exert.

2. Cable Rear Delt Row

Cable rear delt row is another great exercise for your cable rear delt workout.

If your elbows drop, your latissimus dorsi will get involved and the cable rear delt row will become more of a standard wide-grip cable row.

Since you are targeting your rear deltoid with the cable delt row and not your relatively larger latissimus dorsi, use a lighter weight than you would for the wide-grip cable row.

Cable rear Delt Row

How To Do Cable Rear Delt Row

  1. Sit in front of the cable machine and grasp the long bar with a pronated (overhand) elbow-width grip.
  2. Lean back so that your torso is upright, your back is straight, and your arms and shoulders are extended in front of you.
  3. While keeping the upper arms perpendicular to the torso, pull the bar toward your upper chest, keeping your elbows at shoulder height and your body still.
  4. Slowly return the bar to the starting position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Tips

  • Refrain from using your biceps to do the work. Focus on targeting the rear delts, the arms should only act as hooks.
  • Focus on the form before you go for a heavyweight.

3. Standing Cable Rear Delt Row With Rope

The standing cable rear delt row with rope is a very effective and functional exercise for building muscle and strength in the posterior deltoids.

It primarily targets the rear deltoids. This movement also hits the traps, rhomboids, and biceps. It is usually performed for moderate to high reps, at least 8-12 reps per set, as part of an upper-body or shoulder-focused workout.

And by using cables, you’re keeping tension on the rear delts which is very beneficial for maximizing muscle hypertrophy.

Standing cable rear delt row with rope

How To Do Standing Cable Rear Delt Row With Rope

  1. Attach a double-grip rope to a cable pulley about mid-chest level.
  2. Grasp one end of the rope in each hand and step backward until the rope is pulled taut and your arms and shoulders are stretched forward.
  3. Keep your lower back upright and slide your hips back so that your knees are slightly bent.
  4. Keeping your elbows out to the sides, exhale as you pull the rope towards your shoulders until your elbows travel passed your back.
  5. Slowly return the rope to the starting position.

Tips

  • Retract your shoulder blades to keep your rear delts engaged during the exercise.
  • Pull the rope outward during the positive portion of the rep, so your elbows are flared out, which will really stimulate the rear deltoids.
  • Maintaining the right posture while working out is extremely important.

4. Cable High Row

Half kneeling high cable row rope is a tremendous exercise that effectively works many muscles, including the shoulder, back, wing and trapezius muscles.

Using this exercise gives people with shoulder issues an exercise to get the benefits of rows. In addition, face pull is one of the most effective corrective exercises that help compensate for poor posture and shoulder dysfunction.

Cable High Row

How To Do Cable High Row

  1. Set the cable up at a high point with the rope attachments
  2. Grab the rope with both hands using an overhand grip, then take a step back and get onto knees facing the cable machine
  3. Starting with your arms stretched out and away, pull back through your elbows until your hands are just in front of your shoulders
  4. Slowly return to starting position. Repeat for desired reps.

Tips

  • Don’t lean backwards to pull the weight towards you.
  • Focus on the mind-muscle connection to pull down by using your back muscles.

5. Lying Reverse Fly (Supine Cable Reverse Fly)

The lying reverse fly is the perfect exercise to hit the rear delts. Completing this exercise in a supine position on your back allows you to purely focus on contracting your rear delts in order to pull the cables down to the sides.  

If you have any lower back issues or simply want to reduce the amount of stress placed on the lower back, the lying cable rear delt fly is a great option.

Lying Reverse Fly (Supine Cable Reverse Fly)

How To Do Lying Reverse Fly

  1. Position a flat bench between two high pulleys.
  2. Lie supine (on your back) holding the pulleys’ handles. The handle from the right pulley should be in your left hand, and the handle from the left pulley should be in your right hand. The cables should be crossed and pulled tightly.
  3. Keeping your arms perpendicular to your torso and your elbows slightly bent, exhale as you pull your arms open and out to the sides.
  4. Hold for a count of two. Inhale as you slowly return to starting position. Repeat for desired reps.

Tips

  • When you lie down, make sure that your shoulders are lined up with the pulleys. This will ensure optimal mechanical leverage.
  • Keep the movement slow and deliberate.

6. Cable Machine Y Raise

The cable Y-raise is a fantastic exercise that you can do during your shoulder (deltoid) workout, that activates all fibers of the deltoid: anterior, lateral, and posterior.

This exercise combines horizontal shoulder abduction with external shoulder rotation. Strengthening the external shoulder rotators and the internal shoulder rotators.

Cable Machine Y Raise

How To Do Cable Machine Y Raise

  1. Stand facing between two low cable pulleys, with each hand holding the handle of the cable of the opposite pulley.
  2. To maintain good posture, push your chest forward, and point your shoulders back while slightly bending both knees.
  3. Stand straight up with your arm fully extended and feet facing forward. Maintaining a slight bend in the elbows, raise your arms upwards and outwards, forming the letter ‘Y’ with your whole body.
  4. Hold for a second, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

Tips

  • Maintain a fixed slightly bent elbow position throughout exercise.
  • Keep your torso still, your back straight, and your elbow slightly bent.
  • Don’t just swing your arms. Keep controlled motion throughout the exercise

7. Cable Twisting Standing Row

When doing an arm workout with a cable machine, there are plenty of single-arm rear delt cable exercises you can add to correct potential imbalances.

The Cable Twisting Standing Row exercise involves numerous muscles as it requires you to slightly rotate at the waist. Because this is a unilateral exercise, you will have to engage your core throughout the movement.

Besides being a great back and shoulder exercise, this movement also works your hips, glutes and other lower body muscles.

Cable Twisting Standing Row

How To Do Cable Twisting Standing Row

  1. Attach a single grip handle to an elbow-high cable pulley.
  2. Step back and get into a staggered stance, knees slightly bent. Your arm should be out straight and your waist is rotated towards the cable.
  3. Keeping your elbow close to your body, pull back towards your waist while rotating your waist to the same direction
  4. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, then slowly return to starting position. Repeat desired reps.

 Tips

  • Make sure the rotation is in your waist, not hips. You can place your inactive hand on your other hip for added stability.
  • To make the most of this move, your reps should be slow and controlled.

8. One-Arm Bent-Over Cable Raise

You can do this exercise using one arm at a time, allowing you to alter the range of motion by adjusting the start or finish position. . The single-arm bent-over cable rear delt fly has a similar movement pattern to the standing cable rear delt fly. You should add this exercise to your rear delt cable workout.

This unilateral version makes it possible to raise your hand higher and get a longer stretch at the bottom, thereby generating more work for the posterior deltoid. Stabilize your torso by resting your free hand on the thigh.

One Arm Bent Over Cable Raise

How To Do One-Arm Bent-Over Cable Raise

  1. Lean forward at the hips, place your right hand on your thigh and hold a dumbbell in your left hand with your arm extended straight down.
  2. Raise the weight straight out to the side until your arm is parallel with the floor.
  3. Pause for a moment at the top of the motion before slowly lowering the weight back down to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with the right arm.

Tips

  • Pull slowly so that you are in control of the weight at all times.
  • Remember to exhale while you exert.

9. Cable Rear Drive

The cable rear drive is an exercise that builds muscle and strength in both the triceps and rear deltoids. Now, this is a very unconventional movement, but that doesn’t diminish its effectiveness. It’s kind of like two exercises in one which targets two different muscles.

When you go heavy with the cable rear-drive, numerous muscles in your legs and core are significantly activated to stabilize your body.

Cable rear drive

How To Do Cable Rear Drive

  1. Attach a rope to a shoulder height cable pulley. Then, stand, so the left side of your body is facing the cable pulley and grab the rope with your right hand.
  2. Now, take one step to the right, so there’s tension in the cable. Then, pull your elbow back and away from the pulley, so it’s facing in the opposite direction.
  3. Now, extend your forearm to the right, so your arm is straight while contracting your Tricep. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
  4. Slowly bring your forearm back and allow your arm to return back to the starting position. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Tips

  • It’s best to use light to moderate weights for this exercise to minimize joint stress and to maintain good form.
  • Keep your body still. Only your arm should move.
  • Keep your upper arm horizontal. If your elbow drops, your latissimus dorsi will get involved.

10. Reverse Cable Crossover

If you’re looking for a way to get more creative with your rear delt cable workout, why not try Reverse Cable Crossover?

Your arms should move directly back (and downward slightly) almost parallel to the floor to target the posterior deltoid.

If the hands are raised through a higher arc to a point above shoulder level, the trapezius, and lateral deltoid make a bigger contribution to the movement.

Reverse Cable Crossover

How To Do Reverse Cable Crossover

  1. Stand in the center of a cable crossover apparatus.
  2. Start with hands crossed in front of you at shoulder height with the left high cable in your right hand and the right in your left hand.
  3. Using your rear delts, pull your elbows out and back as far as possible, then slowly return to the starting position.

Tips

  • The posterior deltoid is best targeted with your torso upright, not leaning too far forward or back.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.

11. Face Pull

Face pull is a cable machine exercise that primarily targets the rear deltoid and to a lesser degree also targets the biceps, triceps, and traps. Use a cable pulley machine to pull the weight straight toward your forehead.

This exercise prevents muscular imbalance and builds overall shoulder strength.

Face Pull

How To Do Face Pull

  1. Grab the ends of the rope attachment using a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and slightly lean back.
  2. Pull the rope toward your face as you spread the ends of the rope, so they end up on the sides of your ears just above your shoulders in the finish position.
  3. Hold this position for as second as you squeeze your shoulder blades together, contracting rear delts.
  4. Then slowly return the rope to the start position and repeat for reps.

Tips

  • Stand straight with feet in a comfortable balanced stance.
  • Think about trying to pinch your shoulder blades as tight as possible when pulling weight toward your face.

12. Incline Bench Cable Rear Delt fly

Finally, if you’re looking for one more effective cable rear delt exercise, try the Incline Bench Cable Rear Delt fly.

It is an upper-body exercise that targets the rear deltoids and the postural muscles of the upper back. This exercise targets such small muscles, that’s why it is usually performed with lightweight for high reps, such as 10-15 reps per set or more.

The incline bench takes away the potential of using momentum and makes the movement more challenging.

Incline Bench Cable Rear Delt fly

How To Do Incline Bench Cable Rear Delt fly

  1. Place an incline bench sideways midway between two cable stations.
  2. Grasp the D-handles attached to the cables with the opposite-side hand and lean your chest against the incline bench (45 degrees).
  3. Keep your feet on the floor for stability, with your chest up and abs tight.
  4. Keeping your arms slightly bent, raise the cables out to your sides as high as possible.
  5. Keep your head neutral and your eyes focused on a few feet in front of you as you hold the peak contraction.
  6. Slowly lower the cables back to the start, but don’t let the weight stack touch down at the bottom before beginning your net rep.

Tips

  • Do not lift backward or forward.
  • Set a bench at about 30-45 degrees inclined.
  • Keep form strict to isolate the rear delts.

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