Face pulls are an extremely underrated, yet, very effective exercise that really stimulates the posterior deltoids when done correctly.
Stand facing a cable machine of a multi-unit, feet shoulder-width apart. For this movement, you will need to attach to a high pulley position, but not overhead.
Grasp the rope attachment in your arms, and adjust so that when your arms are extended in front of you, the cable is approximately parallel to the ground.
Pull the rope attachments towards your face, ending just outside your ears.
It is important in this exercise that in the fully contracted state, your arms should resemble a front bicep spread. Effectively, you combine external rotation into this movement to really torch the external rotator cuffs and posterior delts.
Perform 10-15 reps done with light resistance. Aim for 2 working sets.
This is an uncommon, yet one of the best cable shoulder exercises as it helps to stimulate all heads of the shoulder muscles.
It is effectively a wide grip upright row/ lateral raise into a shoulder press at the top of the movement.
Stand between two cable stations, attaching movable D-shaped single arm cable grips to the bottom positions.
Grasp the two attachments and hold them to your sides.
Start the lift by engaging your lateral delts- effectively the first half of the movement resembles doing a lateral raise, BUT your elbows still remain low as your upper arm reaches the level of your shoulders.
Next, swing your lower arms forward as if you are about to perform a clean and press. At this point, your arms should be just around your chin height, but to the sides of your head.
Press upwards, all the while the D-shaped attachments to the side of your head (neutral grip).
This exercise helps to reduce the load on the anterior deltoid muscles, which are very prone to overtraining.
Start with 10-12 reps, and 1-2 sets until you master the technique involved.
This exercise is an absolute beast, simply because it targets the two primary heads you should be spending most of your time on, the rear and lateral delts.
Set an incline bench to about a 30-degree angle and select a lightweight on the cable pulley (low attachment), between a crossover machine.
Adjust the seat so that your chest can rest on the bench while your feet are on the ground
Grab the D-attachments in each arm, and lift your arms to about shoulder height while minimizing the bend in your elbows.
Perform 10-12 reps and 2-3 working sets.
Putting Together Cable Shoulder Workouts
It is important to keep in mind that the deltoids, and shoulders as a whole aren’t a large group of muscles.
As such, it is important that you keep the limited volume in mind.
This is especially true when it comes to anterior deltoid work, which as you might have noticed, is fairly limited from the list of exercises we included.
A much more balanced shoulder workout program for developing well-rounded and defined delts focuses heavily on the middle delts, posterior delts, and then front delts- in that order.
This way, none of the three heads are neglected.
Work up to 6 sets for the laterals, 3-4 sets for posterior delts, and 3-4 sets for the anterior.
In practice, many athletes do the opposite- 9-12 for anterior delts and the rest in diminishing fashion.
The rotator cuff muscles only require one working set or so per side, so keep that in mind.
And last, but certainly not least; you do not need to have an exclusively cable-based workout. Barbells and dumbbells (free weights) are still considered the gold standard for building a well-developed body, but adding cables to the mix can definitely help you get the 3-dimensional boulder shoulders you have been looking for all these years!
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