6 Cable Rear Delt Exercises To Unlock 3D Pop

Do you want to build sculpted shoulders that give your physique an amazing 3D look? 

Of course you do. I mean, I do too! Look no further than cable rear delts exercises to zero in on those pesky rear delts. 

As a certified personal trainer, I’ll take you through this exploration of 6 dynamic cable rear delt exercises to help you get closer to a more aesthetic look. 

Here’s what’s coming up.
 
Why Use A Cable Machine?
Get On The Rear Delt Hype Train
6 Cable Rear Delt Exercises

Sample Rear Delt Workout
3 FAQs About Rear Delts
Bottom Line

Why Use A Cable Machine? 

Cable machines offer a targeted and fluid approach to movements.
Here’s how using a cable machine can elevate your rear delt training.

  • Isolation. Cables enable better isolation and mind muscle connection of the rear deltoids.
  • Constant Tension. Cable machines provide constant tension through the entire range of motion. Unlike free weights, cables keep the muscles engaged. 
  • Variability. Cable machines offer the ultimate adjustable setting for angle, height, and grip.
  • Safer Range of Motion. Cable rear delt exercises can give you control, help to master form, and reduce risk of shoulder injury compared to free weights. 

Get On The Rear Delt Hype Train

What makes bodybuilders, like reigning Mr. Olympia Classic Physique Champion Chris Bumstead, have such fantastic looking upper bodies? 

The answer is well-defined and capped shoulders. Shoulders can make or break your physique. 

No look is complete without three developed heads of the shoulder and accessory muscles: 

  • Anterior head (front) 
  • Lateral head (side) 
  • Posterior head (rear) 
  • Rotator cuff (multiple muscles) 
  • Traps (upper, middle, and lower) 

Today we’re focusing on the rear delt, the most overlooked shoulder muscle. But this tiny muscle is a big part of the getting the 3D look. 

The rear delt is overlooked because, well, you can’t see it from the front. But quarter turn to the side and you get a glimpse of the back half of your shoulder area. 

If it slopes downward, that means you have little to no rear delt action going on. 

The rear delt helps your shoulder to pop by giving it width from the side and thickness in the right places from the back. 

Developed rear delts bring more attention to your triceps and traps too. So get on the rear delt hype train and start to concisely develop them to look amazing.

Let’s look at cable rear delt exercises to help you build better shoulders. 

Related Article: Dumbbell Shoulder Exercise Basics

6 Cable Rear Delt Exercises

cable rear delt exercises

Cable rear delt exercises are not best recruited thought rowing movements. Although rear delts do help in pulling motions, they target the mid back and lat muscles more.

This study found that the reverse peck deck, a weight lifting machine, has better rear delt recruitment than the seated row or lat pull-down.

Even though we are not using the reverse pec deck in this post, a similar motion is used in these cable rear delt exercises.

To activate your rear delts more during these movements, you can do the following: 

  • Line up your arm position with the diagonal muscle fibers of your rear delts. For most this will be at 45 degrees, but it can vary based on your structure. 
  • Move your elbows behind the body as best you can to activate the rear delt.  
  • Focus on quality, high repetitions and not heavy weight. Heavy weight is amazing for building back muscles, but rear delts require comparatively lighter weight. 
  • Do a warm up set or two with a faster tempo to pump blood into rear delts. Focus on connecting your mind with the muscle. 

Exercise 1: Cable External Rotation 

This is an exercise that targets the external rotators of the shoulder, the muscles responsible for rotating the arm outward. 

This exercise is crucial for shoulder health, stability, and function.
Here are instructions on how to perform the cable external rotation. 

Setup 

  • Set the cable machine to elbow level.
  • Attach a single-grip handle to the cable.
  • Stand with your side facing the cable machine,
    about an arm’s length away.

Grip and Stance

  • Grab the single-grip handle with the hand furthest from the machine,
    using an overhand grip
  • Keep your elbow bent at 90 degrees.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.

Execution  

  • Keep your elbow close to your side throughout the exercise.
  • Exhale and rotate your forearm outward, away from your body.
  • Focus on contracting the muscles responsible for external rotation.
  • Ensure that the movement is controlled, and avoid using momentum.

Range of Motion  

  • Rotate your forearm until it is parallel to the ground or slightly higher.
  • Inhale and bring your forearm back to the starting position.

Sets and Repetitions  

  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each arm with light weight

Cable Crossover For Rear Delt
(2 Variations)

The cable crossover for rear delts is an excellent exercise to isolate and target the rear delts. 

Here’s instructions for both standing and bent-over variations.

Exercise 2:  Standing Cable Crossover
For Rear Delt 

Setup 

  • Set the cable machine at the highest or mid-height setting.
  • Attach a single-grip handle to each cable.
  • Stand in the center of the cable machine, facing away from the machine.

Grip and Stance

  • Grab the right handle with your left hand overhand grip.
  • Grab the left hand with your right hand, so you have crisscrossed the handles.
  • Take a step forward with one foot to create a stable stance.

Execution  

  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows and maintain a straight back.
  • Lift both arms crossed in front of your eyes.
  • Bring your arms down to your sides, focusing on squeezing your rear delts at the bottom of the movement. 
  • Ensure that the movement is controlled, and avoid using momentum.

Sets and Repetitions  

  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions of light to moderate weight.

Exercise 3: Bent-Over Cable Crossover
For Rear Delt 

Setup 

  • Set the cable machine at the lowest setting.
  • Attach a single-grip handle to each cable.

Grip and Stance

  • Grab one handle in the with the opposite hand with an overhand grip.
  • Bend at the hips to bring your torso parallel to the ground.
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees for stability.

Execution  

  • With your arms slightly bent, lift them laterally to the sides.
  • Focus on contracting your rear delts throughout the movement.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and avoid arching your back.

Range of Motion  

  • Lift your arms until they are in line with your shoulders.
  • Lower the handles back down under control.

Sets and Repetitions  

  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions of light to moderate weight.

Cable Single Arm Rear Delt Fly
(2 Variations)

The cable single arm rear delt fly is a unilateral exercise that targets the rear delts. It strengthens each side independently and provides a focused contraction for better rear delt development.

Here’s instructions for both standing and bent-over variations. 

Exercise 4: Standing Cable Single Arm
Rear Delt Fly 

Setup 

  • Set the cable machine at the highest or mid-height setting.
  • Attach a single-grip handle to each cable.
  • Stand with your side facing the cable machine,
    about an arm’s length away.

Grip and Stance

  • Grab the single-grip handle with an overhand grip using the hand that is farthest from the machine.
  • Maintain a slight bend in your elbow.
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.

Execution  

  • Keeping your arm slightly bent, lift it laterally to the side,
    focusing on squeezing the rear delt.
  • Your torso remains still, and the movement
    comes from your shoulder joint.
  • Control back to the starting position.

Sets and Repetitions  

  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each arm with a light weight.

Exercise 5: Bent-Over Cable
Single Arm Rear Delt Fly 

Setup 

  • Set the cable machine at the highest or mid-height setting.
  • Attach a single-grip handle to the cable.

Grip and Stance

  • Grab the single-grip handle with an overhand grip using the hand that is farthest from the machine.
  • Bend at the hips to bring your torso parallel to the ground.
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees for stability.

Execution  

  • With your arm slightly bent, lift it laterally to the side.
  • Focus on contracting your rear delt throughout the movement.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and avoid arching your back.

Range of Motion  

  • Lift your arm until it is parallel to the ground or slightly higher.
  • Lower the handle back down under control.

Sets and Repetitions  

  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each arm with light weight. 

Exercise 6: Cable Face Pull

The is a great exercise that targets the muscles of the upper back, including the rear delts, traps, and the muscles around the upper spine. 

Here are instructions on how to perform the cable face pull. 

Setup 

  • Set the cable machine with the pulley at the highest setting.
  • Attach a rope attachment to the cable..
  • Stand facing the cable machine and grab the rope with an overhand grip, hands about shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a step back to create tension in the cable.

Stance

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
  • Hold the rope with your palms facing down and your elbows bent.

Execution  

  • Pull the rope towards your face at nose level by driving your elbows back as far as they go. 
  • Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together at the end of the movement.
  • Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground during the pull.
  • Ensure that the movement is controlled and that your
    torso remains upright.

Sets and Repetitions   

  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions with light to moderate weight.

Sample Rear Delt Workout

Here’s a sample workout for your next shoulder day. It’s main focus is cable rear delt exercises.

There are other exercises to target the anterior and lateral head too, but it’s mostly about the rear delts. 

Try out this workout, and hope it helps you one step closer to getting that 3D look! 


3 FAQs About Rear Delts

Are Rear Delts Worth It?    

Yes, training rear delts are 100% percent wroth your time and effort. 

Rear delts add width and thickness to your physique from the side and back view. They will sculpt your shoulders and make your back and upper chest to pop. 

Use the sample cable rear delt exercises workout in your next session! 

Why Are Rear Delts So Hard To Grow?   

Rear delts can be hard to grow because too much effort is placed on building the back. That means heavy rows and pull downs of all kinds.

Another reason they can be hard to grow is because lifters focus more on anterior delts with presses, and lateral delts with raises. 

Rear delts are a small muscle that require concentrated effort, and lighter loads with right form.

Keep the elbows back and keep your arms in a diagonal alignment. 

Can You Hit Read Delts Everyday?    

Technically, yes but you really do not need to train rear delts everyday! 

Rear delts are a small muscle, so you can hit them maximally 2 to 3 times. Use progressive overload and rest them at at least a day in between. 

Bottom Line 

Focus on incorporating cable rear delt exercises into your training to get that sculpted look you want. 

You’re probably familiar with the exercises, but remember that’s about the form and doing quality reps with lighter weight. 

These exercises offer a versatile and effective way to make your shoulders stand out. Take your time with it, stay consistent, and you’ll see the 3D results! 

Curious about 15 essential exercises to do everyday? Click here.

AUTHOR

Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!

Leave a Comment