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Master the Prone Incline Rear Delt Cable Raise

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Target Muscle: Rear Deltoid.

By Jimmy Peña MS, CSCS; Photography by Michael Butler; Model: IFBB Pro Dan Hill

THE START

1. Place an incline bench sideways about a foot away from a low pulley.
2. Grasp the D-handle attached to the cable with the hand farthest from the stack and lean your chest against the bench. Your head and neck should clear the top of the bench, and your working arm should be slightly bent and hanging straight down toward the floor.
3. You can either keep your feet on the floor or bend your legs and place both knees on the seat. Either way keep your chest up and abs tight.
4. Wrap your nonworking hand (the one closest to the stack) around the bench for balance.

EXECUTION

1. Keeping your working arm slightly bent, raise the cable out to your side as high as possible.
2. Keep your head neutral and your eyes focused a few feet in front of you as you hold the peak contraction.
3. Slowly lower the cable back to the start but do not let the weight stack touch down at the bottom before beginning your next rep. Try stopping the motion when your hand is directly in front of your face. Do all sets for one arm before turning the bench around and repeating on the opposite side.

IN YOUR ROUTINE

* The prone incline rear delt cable raise is a great way to blast the rear delt because of the constant tension the cable provides. You can schedule it early in your routine to pre-exhaust the delts or put it at the end to flush the muscle.
* This version removes the need for balance, allowing all the focus to be driven to the rear delts. (You may have to move the bench up or back slightly for best path of motion. Make sure the cable isn’t hindered by the bench.)
* Do all your sets and reps with one arm before switching sides.
* Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps on each arm.

BEST ALTERNATIVES

One-Arm Reverse Pec-Deck Flye:

By using one arm on a pec-deck, you can isolate the rear delt with similar success. Wrapping your nonworking arm around the bench to further anchor yourself, you can target the rear delt precisely. You can also go from one arm to the other side more easily as you obviously don’t have to move the bench around. However, whereas during the cable version constant tension on the rear delt is easy to maintain, a common mistake during the reverse pec-deck is to allow the weights to touch down at the start, so keep an inch or so of space between the plates on each new rep.

One-Arm Bent-Over Cable Lateral Raise:

Removing the bench automatically incorporates your core musculature into the equation. The mechanics of the exercise remain the same as you keep your arm slightly bent. Opening and closing the angle of your elbow will immediately involve your triceps and remove the emphasis from your rear delt. Your upper body doesn’t have to be perfectly parallel to the floor, but avoid excessive up and down movement of your torso. As always, resist the urge to crane your neck to watch yourself in the mirror as this practice will prove unsafe for your cervical spine.

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