How To Do Cable Y Raise and Pro Tips

The cable Y-raise is a fantastic exercise for the whole shoulder that activates all fibers of the deltoid including front, lateral, and rear delt.

It is perfectly suitable for a variety of individuals wishing to induce some level of training stimuli in their shoulder muscles, or physical rehabilitation patients.

This exercise combines horizontal shoulder abduction with external shoulder rotation. It strengthens the external shoulder rotators and the internal shoulder rotators.

Benefits of Cable Y Raise

The Cable Y Raise is an excellent exercise for strengthening the shoulders. Here are some of the key benefits of this exercise:

  • The Cable Y Raise targets all three heads of the deltoids, making it an excellent exercise for overall shoulder development.
  • For people who experience discomfort in their joints during the press, cable Y raise a great alternative.
  • Cable Shoulder workout are more evenly distributed, and you have more of a constant load on your shoulder muscles throughout the entire range of motion.
  • The cable machine Y raise offers almost unmatched versatility because you can change up the load, angle, grip positioning and body positioning easily.
  • Machine Y Raise are a safe and efficient tool to incorporate into your normal workout program.
  • This exercise works the posterior and lateral heads of the deltoid, helping to pull our shoulders back and open up our chest. This helps to improve our posture.

What is Cable Machine Y Raise

The Cable Machine Y Raise is an exercise that targets the upper back, rear deltoids, and traps. It is performed using a cable machine, which provides constant tension throughout the movement.

The exercise involves raising the arms in a “Y” shape with the cables, mimicking the letter “Y” with the body.

Muscles Worked During Cable Y Raise

Cable Machine Y Raise

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

All the three shoulder heads worked during the Cable Y raise, but

How To Do Cable Machine Y Raise

  1. Stand facing between two low cable pulleys, with each hand holding the handle of the cable of the opposite pulley.
  2. To maintain good posture, push your chest forward, and point your shoulders back while slightly bending both knees.
  3. Stand straight up with your arm fully extended and feet facing forward.
  4. Maintaining a slight bend in the elbows, raise your arms upwards and outwards, forming the letter ‘Y’ with your whole body.
  5. Hold for a second, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

Pro-Tips and Foam

  • Maintain a fixed slightly bent elbow position throughout exercise.
  • Keep your torso still, your back straight, and your elbow slightly bent.
  • Don’t just swing your arms. Keep controlled motion throughout the exercise
  • Keep your shoulder blades back and down throughout the movement.
  • Contract your shoulders at the top of the lift, then lower the cables back down with straight arms to complete the rep.
  • As you get stronger, gradually increase the weight.

Variations of Cable Y Raise

These variations of the Cable Y Raise offer options for individuals with specific needs or those seeking variety in their workouts.

1. Seated Cable Y Raises

This variation is good for people who have lower body disabilities or who like to sit. The exercise involves sitting on a bench or low seat to maintain balance while doing it.

2. Single Arm Cable Y Raise

In this unilateral version, only one side of the deltoids is trained at a time. It allows for better focus and mind-body connection, potentially leading to more effective training stimuli.

3. Resistance Band Cable Y Raise

If you don’t have a cable machine or want to change up your routine, a resistance band is a good alternative. The resistance band offers similar benefits to a cable machine, such as constant tension and variable resistance levels.

Cable Y Raise vs Lateral Raise

Cable Y Raise

  1. Targets: Primarily focuses on the rear deltoids, traps, and upper back muscles.
  2. Range of Motion: Involves raising the arms in a “Y” shape, mimicking the letter “Y” with the body.
  3. Benefits: Improves posture, strengthens the upper body, and enhances shoulder stability.

Lateral Raise

  1. Targets: Primarily targets the lateral deltoids, the side muscles of the shoulders.
  2. Range of Motion: Involves raising the arms straight out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor.
  3. Benefits: Develops shoulder width and shape, enhances shoulder stability, and improves overall shoulder aesthetics.

Cable Y Raise Alternative

Before we deep dive into the best Cable Y Raise alternatives. We must remember, a cable Y Raise alternative will be able to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Activate the deltoid muscle groups, which are trained in the Cable Y Raise
  • Isolate the muscle groups during execution
  • Train the deltoid muscle through a longer range of motion

1. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Lateral Raise is one of the best side delt exercises to build side deltoids. To build the lateral head of the deltoid muscle, make lateral raises a regular part of your shoulder workout.

2. Face Pull

Face pull is a cable machine exercise that primarily targets the deltoid and to a lesser degree also targets the biceps, triceps, and traps. Use a cable pulley machine to pull the weight straight toward your forehead.

This exercise prevents muscular imbalance and builds overall shoulder strength.

3. Arnold Shoulder Press

The Arnold dumbbell shoulder press exercise is a great exercise for building shoulder muscles. Arnold’s press stands out from the crowd when it comes to the best exercise with the best range of motion for shoulder muscles.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I do the Cable Y Raise with a resistance band?

Yes, you can perform the Cable Y Raise with a resistance band by anchoring it to a sturdy object and following the same steps as you would with a cable machine.

Is the Cable Y Raise a good exercise for building mass in the shoulders?

While the Cable Y Raise is an effective exercise for building overall shoulder strength, it may not be the best exercise for building mass in the shoulders.

To build mass, consider incorporating heavier weight and lower reps into your workout routine.

How often should I do the Cable Y Raise?

It’s generally recommended to work your shoulders 2-3 times per week, with at least one day of rest in between workouts.


If you’re looking for a time-efficient shoulder exercise that’s also good for your posture and joint health, the cable Y raise would make a valuable addition to your workout library.

It is important to mix up your shoulder workout routine with other shoulder exercises for overall shoulder development.

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