You can have big pecs, slabs of meat on your back, huge legs and arms and a six-pack, but what really gives that powerful look that turns heads is a pair of king-sized boulder shoulders. Having big shoulders and a thin waist is the ultimate look of a V-shaped torso, a lot of men aspire to achieve.
We already assume you are doing the essential compounds exercises for shoulders, like the overhead barbell and dumbbell press and you might be using the famous Arnold press. And that’s fine, they are great exercises, but they place the biggest emphasis on the front (anterior) and middle (lateral) delts and don’t fully develop the shoulders from all sides, especially the rear (posterior) delts. That’s why, you need to add a few more exercises in your arsenal to fully stimulate the deltoid complex.
Cable exercises are a great choice because they can isolate and hit the muscles from different angles, isolate them and provide a greater time under tension.
Here are four cable exercises that can help you do just that:
1. Rear cable raise
This exercise targets the rear or posterior head of the deltoid muscle. The execution is the following: you position yourelf in a standing position by having the cable columns to your sides. Then, you take the left stirrup with your right hand and vice versa, the right stirrup with your left hand. Keep your spine in a neutral position and your back straight. Bend the knees slightly as you bend over at the hips. While pulling the cables, keep your elbows pointing outward and slightly bend your arms.
2. Lateral cable raise
This exercise is also called the low-pulley shoulder raise. It isolates and targets the lateral or middle head of the deltoid and also involves the forearms. The execution is the following: you position yourself by standing next to the right side of a low pulley row, use your left hand to execute the movement passing your body by you grabbing one handle that’s attached to the low pullet with your palm facing down (pronated grip).
While you rest the left hand in front of your body, your right can be placed on the machine for balance and support. Always keep your back straight and your feet at shoulder-width. Take a deep breath and start the movement with your left hand by pulling across your body until you reach shoulder height, then exhale. Keep the handle at that height for a few seconds to feel the muscle contract, then slowly lower the hand to the starting position and breathe in again.
3. Front cable raise
This exercise targets the front or anterior part of the deltoid muscle. The execution is the following: Attach a straight bar to a low pully, grab it with an overhand grip at shoulder-width. Stand with your back turned to the cable column, stand over the cable between your legs and hold the bar in front of your thighs. Lean forward slightly and bend your knees a bit. Then you start the movement by raising the bar in front of you until it reaches shoulder height. You hold it for a few seconds at the top to feel the muscles contract and you lower it to the starting position.
4. Upright cable row
You execute this exercise by holding a straight bar and start raising your upper arms only (elbows first) until your elbows reach your shoulders. You should keep your upper arms at 90 degrees to your body, while slightly bending your elbows as you raise your arms to the sides. You squeeze at the top and then start slowly lowering the bar.
A well-rounded shoulder workout should have one’s aesthetics as a primary goal, since it creates the illusion of a V-shaped body in combination with a narrow waist and a wide back. You can expect to see great results and optimize your shoulder training with these cable exercises in combination with a good diet and proper recovery.