How To Do The Cable Lat Raise Properly

If you haven’t yet discovered the cable lat raise, you have no idea how much you are missing out on.

This movement is a powerful isolation exercise that is designed to work the middle head of the deltoid muscle which is located at the top of your shoulder.

Studies reveal that this exercise strengthens the subscapularis and infraspinatus muscles in your rotator cuff, which allows internal and external rotation at the shoulder joint.

Required equipment: Cable pulley machine

How to do it properly:

  • Select a weight you would be comfortable lifting with one shoulder.
  • Stand next to the machine with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • To maintain proper posture, push your shoulders back, your chest slightly forward and bend your knees. You can place your other hand on the pulley machine for extra support if you need any.
  • Now, with your outside arm, reach across your body for the stirrup and grab on to it.
  • Bend your elbow slightly to a 10-30-degree angle then raise your arm sideways until it gets to the point where it is level with your shoulder.
  • Make sure you exhale as you lift.
  • Do not rotate your arm as you raise the stirrup. Your focus should be on your target area- the middle deltoid.
  • Once you get to the top position, hold it for 1-5 seconds and then lower the weight back slowly as you inhale. When the cable comes to a complete stop, you will have completed one rep.
  • Do 10-15 reps per set on each arm.

 

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE CABLE LAT RAISE WORK?

DELTOIDS

The cable lat raise focuses mainly on the medial deltoid muscles by targeting the muscle fibers of the middle part of your shoulder.

Although to a very limited extent, this exercise also works the lower and middle traps which are located on your back.

CABLE LAT RAISE BENEFITS

BETTER POSTURE

The cable lat raise relies heavily on good form for its effectiveness.

Part of that good form involves maintaining proper posture as you lift so that you are able to protect your lower back and spine.

INCREASES UPPER BODY STRENGTH

The delts are one of the major muscle groups that contribute to your upper body strength.

By targeting these muscles, the cable lat raise effectively increases your overall upper body strength, which enables you to perform exercises involving upper body motions with more ease.

STABILIZES THE SHOULDER JOINT

This exercise stabilizes your shoulder joint by strengthening the subscapularis and infraspinatus muscles in your rotator cuff.

A more stable shoulder joint means improved internal and external rotation at the joint hence better shoulder mobility.

MORE DEFINED SHOULDERS

The cable lat raise tones your medial deltoids, making your shoulders appear broader and more defined.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE CABLE LAT RAISE

DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE

The dumbbell lateral raise isolates your medial deltoids through their full range of motion.

This isolation happens when you bring both hands up toward your shoulder and slightly twist your wrists as you lift the weights.

How to do it:

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms slightly bent. You should be holding the dumbbells at your sides, slightly off your body. This is your starting position.
  • Then, slowly and with control, raise the dumbbells up to shoulder height. Don’t let your wrists go above the elbows as you are lifting the weight. This could take the load from the side delts and shift it to the front delts.
  • Pause at the top position for a few seconds before slowly lowering the weight to the starting position. At this point, your first rep is complete.
  • Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps each.

Note that you should not lift your arms higher than shoulder height.

It would also be easier if you used light dumbbells so you can focus on working your target muscle.

DEAD-STOP LATERAL RAISE

This exercise reduces momentum hence increasing the tension in your deltoids.

It is more effective when performed with dumbbells rather than the cable pulley machine.

How to do it:

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand then sit on a bench.
  • Extend both arms out to your sides and rest the dumbbells on the bench.
  • Then, raise your arms to shoulder height.
  • Lower each dumbbell in a slow and controlled manner until you put them back on the bench.
  • After each rep, relax your grip on the dumbbells.

CABLE LAT RAISE MISTAKES TO AVOID

SWINGING YOUR UPPER BODY

Only your shoulders should be moving during this exercise. The rest of your upper body should remain still from the beginning to the end.

To achieve this, you can tense the torso so that your muscles do not move as you perform the motions.

USING HEAVY WEIGHTS

This will cause you to engage the wrong muscles, which makes the exercise ineffective. Additionally, using weights that you are not comfortable with will prevent you from focusing fully on your mid-shoulder where the target muscle lies.

USING MOMENTUM

Like most upper body exercises, the cable lat raise doesn’t require you to use momentum in your motions.

Instead, lower the weight slowly and with as much control as you can muster.

LIFTING OUT THE WEIGHT FORWARD

Do not lift the weight forward. Doing so will force you to use the front side of your shoulders instead of the middle part.

FINAL THOUGHTS

When performed with good technique, the cable lat raise makes for a fantastic shoulder isolation movement.

It enables you to effectively isolate the medial head of the deltoid muscle with minimum involvement from other upper body muscles which allows you to focus fully on the deltoids.

It also strengthens your deltoids, to enable you perform overhead, pressing and pulling movements with a bit more ease.

Since it puts a considerable amount of pressure on your shoulders, it is important that you consult your doctor before doing it in case you have a history of shoulder injury or pain.

 

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