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8 Best Cable Exercises For Upper Body
Written By : Mike
Filed In : exercises | Health

If you are looking for an easy way to train your upper body, cable machines are a good place to start.

Cable machine upper body workouts promote smooth, fluid form, there are generally more than enough machines in a given gym, and it’s easy to create a large variety of exercises on one of these machines. 

Using a cable machine can give you great gains in building stronger, thicker muscles.

By using different attachments, angles, and weights, the cable machine workout can target all the major and smaller muscles of your upper body.

Benefits Of The Upper Body Cable Exercises

Here are the main benefits of using cables for workout 

  • The cable machine offers a smooth, controlled motion.
  • For people who experience discomfort in their joints during the bench press and shoulder press, then cable exercises are a great alternative.
  • Cable exercises are more evenly distributed, and you have a constant load on your muscles throughout the whole range of motion. This is why cable exercises are better than free weights.
  • The cable setup gives your muscles uninterrupted time under tension.

8 Best Upper Body Cable Machine Exercises

1. Standing Cable Chest Press

If you’re looking for straightforward cable machine chest exercises to add to your routine, the cable chest press is a great staple exercise to get you started.

It provides constant tension in helping build massive pecs.

It can increase the range of motion to where your hands meet as compared to the regular bench press.

How To Do Standing Cable Chest Press Properly

  1. Stand in the center of the pulleys and hold the stirrups.
  2. To form a stance, you should step forward a couple of feet in front of the cable machine with one leg in front of the other.
  3. Move the handles forward until your hands meet in the middle.
  4. At the end of the movement, try to squeeze your chest.
  5. Briefly squeeze before slowly returning to the starting position.

2. Cable Crossover

The standing cable crossover exercise helps to develop and define the chest muscles.

It is common in upper-body and chest-focused muscle-building workouts.

How To Do Cable Crossover Properly

  1. In a standing position, grab and holds the handles of overhead pulleys on both sides.
  2. Bend slightly forwards and extend your arms, feeling a good stretch in your chest muscles.
  3. Now bend your arms with your elbows slightly bent and get a good chest contraction.
  4. It is possible to get full Pec contraction by crossing over the center.

3. Cable Shoulder Press

The cable shoulder press is one of the best exercises for building strength and size.

It’s a great exercise to mix in with your shoulder workout, even if you don’t see many people using the cable machine.

How To Do Cable Shoulder Press Properly

  1. Start by standing in between two pulley cable machines with two cables attached to the machine.
  2. Bend down and grab the cables, then bring them to your shoulders to begin.
  3. Keep your back straight, head up, and chest up.
  4. Extend your elbow and push the handles up towards the ceiling to feel the stretch in your shoulders,
  5. Hold for a count at the top, then return to the starting position.
  6. Do the desired number of repetitions.

4. One Arm Cable Lateral Raise

The one-arm cable lateral raise is an isolated shoulder exercise that targets the middle head of the deltoid muscle, which is the rounded muscle at the very top of each shoulder.

You are allowed to use both arms while performing the exercise, but it is often recommended to use just one to add more difficulty to your workout and stimulate more gains.

How To Do Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise

  1. Adjust the handle attachment of a cable pulley machine to the lowest setting and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart next to the machine.
  2. Please take hold of the handle and stand up straight with your arm fully extended and your feet facing forward.
  3. Keep a small bend in your working elbow and raise your arm to shoulder height.
  4. Hold the weight at the top for a second, and then slowly lower it back to the starting position.

5. Lat Pulldown

It is a great cable exercise that is used by fitness trainers to build a bigger back.

This exercise focuses specifically on the back muscles without tiring out the biceps or triceps.

How To Do Lat Pulldown Properly

  1. Sit on the machine seat with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your upper back straight and pull the bar up to the chest.
  3. As you pull down, try to feel your shoulder blades coming together and the back muscles contracting.
  4. Perform this movement using your upper back and don’t use the arms as a lever between the bar and the lats.
  5. Now relax at the bar and stretch your lats as far as possible.

6. Wide Grip Seated Row

The seated row can be done with a narrow grip, but if you’d like to focus on the wider back, you can use a wide grip., you can use a wide.

To do it correctly, be sure the movement is slow and fluid, and not jerking or raising yourself.

How To Do Wide Grip Seated Row Properly

  1. Sit on a seated cable pulley rowing machine with your legs slightly bent and your feet supported against the crossbar.
  2. Hold the bar with your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width The bar should be held with your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  3. Pull the bar towards your lower abdomen as far as possible.
  4. Slowly return the handle to the starting position.

7. Triceps Pushdown

It is the best cable exercise for adding muscle mass to the tricep (upper back side of the arm).

The cable provides consistent resistance throughout the movement, unlike barbell or dumbbell exercises, where the resistance varies during the lift.

How To Do Triceps Pushdown Properly

  1. Position yourself in front of a high-pulley cable with a short straight bar attached to it.
  2. Take a slight bend in your knees and feet.
  3. Hold the short bar with a pronated grip and hold the bar at chest level with your elbows tight against your sides.
  4. With your elbows stationary, extend your arms until they are fully extended.
  5. Pause when the bar is at full arm extension, flex your triceps, and slowly return the bar to the starting position.

8. Cable Curl

The bicep cable curl is a great exercise for isolating your bicep. This action can be performed with a cable machine and is suitable for beginners.

The cable pulley provides a uniform resistance throughout the movement, unlike barbell or dumbbell curls, where the resistance varies during the lift.

How To Do Cable Curl Properly

  1. Attach a straight bar to the low pulley cable.
  2. Take hold of the bar with an underhand grip, with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart.
  3. To execute this curl, you must flex your elbows and bring the bar toward your shoulders.
  4. Slowly bring the weight down to the arm’s extended position.


Doing the upper body workout, using cable machine exercises, will give you a complete workout, and help for improved performance and aesthetics.

For anyone interested to build body strength and gaining muscle, these upper-body cable exercises are highly recommended.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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