The Full-Body Shoulder Cable Workout

February 3, 2013 | Jim Carpentier

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For sports that require pushing, pulling, and overhead and lateral motions, athletes need strong shoulder muscles. Although dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, kettlebells and bodyweight exercises such as Dips, Push-Ups and Pull-Ups are great tools to build size and strength, a cable machine is another effective approach. (See The Best Exercises to Build Shoulder and Neck Strength.) Try the high intensity full-body cable workout below, incorporating various shoulder strengthening exercises.

Before starting, do a dynamic lower- and upper body warm-up such as lunges and arm circles.

Shoulder Cable Workout

Squats/Press Outs Combo Superset with Squats/Rows

Sets/Reps: 3x10 at 70 to 80% RM

  • Set cable height at chest level.
  • Assume athletic position with back toward machine and hold cable handles with shoulder-width overhand grip near chest level.
  • Squat and rise up while simultaneously pressing out.
  • On the last rep, hold press-out position for 10 to 20 seconds for added intensity.
  • Slowly return to start position.
  • Immediately turn around, face the machine and go into a squat position with an overhand shoulder-width grip and arms extended.
  • Explosively pull toward shoulders, hold one second; squeeze shoulder blades together, then slowly release to start position. Hold 10 to 20 seconds on last rep.
  • Rest 30 seconds, hydrate, and repeat sequence twice more.

Muscles worked: Front and rear deltoids, chest, upper back, biceps, triceps, forearms, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings.

Front Lunges/Overhead Presses Superset with Reverse Lunges/Upright Rows

Sets/Reps: 3x10 at 70 to 80% RM

  • Set cable height at ankle level.
  • With back toward machine, bend down and grab one cable handle at a time and bring to shoulder level.
  • Lunge forward with right leg and simultaneously press handles overhead and down five times (with lunge in between reps).
  • Repeat five times with left leg lunges/overhead presses.
  • Without rest, turn and face machine.
  • Get close to machine, bend knees, grab handles and pull upward in one second toward shoulders with left leg lunging backward.
  • Pause one second at top and lower in three seconds to start. Keep back straight while returning to beginning position.
  • Do five reps then lunge backward with right leg while performing five upright rows.
  • Rest 30 seconds and repeat sequence twice.

Muscles worked: Front, lateral and rear deltoids, triceps, biceps, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings.

Alternating Side Chops

Sets/Reps: 3x10 at 70 to 80% RM

  • Set cable height above head and attach a rope handle.
  • Facing machine, assume athletic stance and bend knees while simultaneously pulling rope to each side toward ankles 10 times. Rest 30 seconds, hydrate and repeat twice.

Muscles worked: Front deltoids, upper and middle back, obliques, lower and upper abdomen, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings.

Topics: SHOULDERS
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
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