Cable Shoulder Press: Muscles Worked, How To Do, Form & Its Benefits

The cable shoulder press is one of the best exercises to target your deltoid muscles. It is one of the few cable exercises that target all the three heads of the deltoid.

You can do a lot of work for any muscle group or work your entire body in a cable station. If you’re not using cables for shoulder work, you’re leaving a lot of potential on the weight room floor.

When done with the right form and technique, cable shoulder presses can help a great deal in increasing the strength of the deltoid, and also help to strengthen tricep and core muscles.

In this article, we will discuss how to do cable shoulder overhead press, muscle worked and its benefits.

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Know More About Shoulder Muscles

In fitness, “shoulder exercises” refers to resistance exercises that target the deltoid muscle.

The shoulder is a “ball-and-socket” joint between the humerus bone of the upper arm and the scapula bone (shoulder blade).

Six main movements that occur at the shoulder are flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, and external rotation.

The deltoid muscle of the shoulder consists of three separate sections or heads.

Shoulder Anatomy

Muscles Worked During Shoulder cable Press

The Primary muscle worked during cable shoulder press works the Anterior deltoid and lateral deltoid.

It also targets the rear deltoid, triceps, traps, upper pectoraliscore.

Benefits of the cable shoulder press

The cable overhead press offers an effective way to train the deltoids, let’s have a look at some other benefits of shoulder press with a cable machine.

  1. Cable are more evenly distributed, and you have more of a constant load on your shoulder muscles throughout the whole range of motion.
  2. The cable shoulder machine press offers almost unmatched versatility because you can change up the load, angle, grip positioning and body positioning easily.
  3. The cable overhead press gives your muscles almost uninterrupted time under tension
  4. Cable machines are a safe and efficient tool to incorporate into your normal workout program.
  5. The cable machine deltoid workout offers a smooth, controlled motion.

What Is Cable Shoulder Press

The Cable shoulder press is a variation of the shoulder or overhead press, and it’s one of the best exercises for building shoulder size and strength.

Even though you might not see many people using the cable machine for shoulder presses, it is a fantastic exercise to mix in your shoulder workout for extra variety.

The angle of the cable overhead press can help recruit new muscle fiber that’s not engaged much with other types of shoulder presses because the force is pulling down behind you.

Cable Shoulder Press,

How To Do Cable Shoulder Press

  1. Start off standing in between a low pulley cable machines with two cables attached to the machine.
  2. Bend down, grab the cables and then bring them to your shoulders as this will be your starting position.
  3. Keeping your back straight, head up and chest up, extend through your elbows and push the handles up towards the ceiling over your head and feel the stretch in your shoulders.
  4. Hold for a count at the top, then return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
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Cable Shoulder Press Variations

Cable shoulder press variations allow you to move through an extensive range of motion, which can help improve flexibility and mobility in the shoulder joint.

1. Kneeling Cable Shoulder Press

This is a great way to ensure you keep strict form while doing the overhead press. By changing your body position, it’s not possible to use any leg drive to press the weight over the head.

Pressing up with such a close grip will focus the stress onto the front delts, pecs, and triceps.

Kneeling Cable Shoulder Press

How To Do Kneeling Cable Shoulder Press

  • Set up stirrup at low point. Grab the stirrups with an overhand grip as you’re kneeling and facing towards the cable machine.
  • Start with your hands in front of you at your upper chest with your elbows bent at 90 degrees tucked in front of you
  • Press until your arms are extended.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

2. One Arm Cable Twisting Overhead Press

The one arm cable shoulder twisting press is a very effective shoulder press variation which works the anterior (front) deltoids. Now, it’s a pretty simple exercise to perform and anyone can do it effectively, which makes it ideal for size and strength gains.

It is brilliant for developing unilateral upper-body strength, as well as improving your balance and the strength and stability of your core.

One Arm Cable Twisting Overhead Press

How To Do One Arm Cable Shoulder Twisting Press

  1. Attach a stirrup (handle) to a low or waist-high pulley. Grasp the stirrup with one hand.
  2. Spread your legs and squat a little, keeping your torso upright. Position the stirrup to the side of your body, with your elbow flexed and tucked in to your side.
  3. Exhale as you straighten your legs, twist your body, and press the stirrup diagonally upward and away from the pulley.
  4. Hold for a count of two. Inhale as you reverse the motion and return your body and the stirrup to the starting position.
  5. Complete the desired number of reps with your right arm. Repeat the exercise with your opposite arm.

3. Alternating Cable Shoulder Press

The alternating cable overhead press can be performed in numerous ways, you could do on arm at a time if you only have one cable tower available. Alternatively, you could do two cables, pressing up with a neutral grip to target the front delts and triceps more. 

The single arm cable shoulder press not only works our delts, but the core is also engaged to keep the body vertically aligned without leaning to one side.

Alternating Cable Shoulder Press

How To Do One Arm Cable Shoulder Twisting Press

  1. Move the cables to the bottom of the tower and select an appropriate weight.
  2. Grasp the cables and hold them at shoulder height, palms facing forward. This will be your starting position.
  3. Keeping your head and chest up, extend through the elbow to press one side directly over the head.
  4. After pausing at the top, return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Proper Form And Tips

It is crucial to perform exercises with good form as that helps in preventing any injuries as well as in getting the maximum benefits out of your workouts. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do a cable shoulder press with proper form.

  • Try to stand as close to the cable machine as possible. Standing too far away can cause the weight to pull you back, placing stress on your lower back and making the exercise more difficult to perform.
  • If you want to emphasize more of the front delts, position your arms in front of your body.
  • To emphasize the lateral head of delt, position your arms out to the sides so that your elbows are pointing laterally away from your body. 
  • Don’t lean back too far, try to keep your chest up and back straight throughout the movement.
  • Exhale during effort, inhale during rest.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements

Alternatives To cable shoulder press

If you’ve gotten bored by cable shoulder press or font have the cable set up, you can try the following cable shoulder press alternative exercises.

1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Dumbbell shoulder press exercises are an excellent variation to barbell shoulder Press. The fact is that the dumbbells allow a full range of motion.

The dumbbell shoulder press is one of the best exercises for building shoulder mass and strength.

The dumbbell press is a very significant exercise to build front and side deltoid muscles. This exercise helps to build muscle mass in the front and side of the deltoids.

2. Pike Push Up

Pike Push-ups aka shoulder push up is a variation of the push-up that increases strength and stability in the shoulders and triceps. 

Performing the exercise in a more upright position will target the shoulders more than the chest.

Pike Push Up

3. Arnold Shoulder Press

Arnold Dumbbell Shoulder Press exercise is an excellent shoulder muscle mass building exercise. Arnold’s press stands out from the crowd when it comes to the best exercise for shoulder muscles with the best range of motion.

It gives a wide range of motion as you lower the dumbbells well down in front, giving that maximum stretch other shoulder exercises lack.


The cable shoulder press is an effective exercise for building size, strength, and functional competence of the shoulders. There are many variations of this exercise, and it’s a variation in itself, so it’s also a good idea to mix things up and benefit from the advantages that each offers.

10 Best Cable Shoulder Exercises To Build Delt Size

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