Cable Rear Delt Raise (Complete How To Guide w/ Video)


How To Do Cable Rear Delt Raise

The Cable Rear Delt Raise is a popular shoulder and upper back exercise. This exercise is typically performed at the end of an upper-body session but can also be utilized as a part of the warm-up to get the shoulders ready to lift.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Cable Rear Delt Raises including important coaching points and a few alternatives.


How To Do Cable Rear Delt Raises


Equipment Needed

  • Cable Machine
  • Single Handle Attachment

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Grab the single handle attachment with the hand away from the machine and bend at the waist until you’re torso is close to perpendicular to the floor.
  • I recommend slightly bending the elbow and keeping your palm facing in. As you execute the movement, the palm will face the floor.
  • Initiate the movement by bringing your arm out to the side and squeezing the shoulder blades.
  • Pause at the top of the movement for about 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.

Coaching Points

This exercise can be done with one arm at a time or, if you have a double tower, both arms at the same time.

In the setup, be sure to bend at the waist enough so that you are perpendicular as much as possible. In this movement, the burn should be felt in the upper back and rear shoulders. If your setup is too vertical, you may feel the burn in the traps or medial delts.

Don’t hitch (bounce) into lockout. If you find yourself using your torso to hitch, go down in weight. The emphasis here is on time under tension and quality movement still matters.

How Many Reps?

Cable Rear Delt Raises are a supplemental upper-body exercise that is typically done toward the end of a workout. 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.


Muscles Worked


  • Rear Delts
  • Mid traps
  • Rotator Cuff muscles

Cable Rear Delt Raise Alternatives


If you don’t have dumbbells or are just looking to change your workout up a bit, here are a few alternatives.

Cable Face Pulls

Grab a rope attachment for the cable machine. Set the height right at about the forehead. Set your stance in an athletic posture and pull the cable to your face, letting the elbows go out. Squeeze the upper back and feel the burn!

Chest Supported A, Y, Ts

For A, Y, Ts, grab a bench and set it at 45 degrees. Lie face down. Use very lightweight here (Some can even just go body weight). Perform 5-10 repetitions of each letter with your arms. Focus on full protraction and retraction of the scapula. This one burns, enjoy!

Band Tears (Band Pull Aparts)

Grab a light band for Band Tears. Stand with your hands at about shoulder-width and protracted grip. Hold the band straight out, parallel to the floor. Pull the band apart utilizing your rear delts, mid traps, and rotator cuff muscles.

Focus on keeping tension on the band and feel the burn in that mid-upper back.


More Info and Links


Looking for some more great exercises to increase your upper body strength? Head over to our exercise library to find step-by-step exercises to help you get stronger. All for free.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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