Bent-Over Cable Lateral Raise Exercise Guide
Bent-over cable lateral raise looks similar to the standing bent-over dumbbell lateral raise, but it uses cables instead. Unlike dumbbell raises, where the resistance varies during the movement, the cable pulley affords a uniform resistance throughout the motion. As well as targeting your posterior and side deltoids, bent-over cable lateral raise works your trapezius and your rhomboids, which lie between your spine and your shoulder blades. You should feel continuous, steady tension on your rear delts throughout this exercise. It is mostly performed to isolate the rear head of the deltoids, and can be executed with either both arms simultaneously or with one arm at a time.
Other names for this rear deltoid exercise:
- Cable rear lateral raise
- Bent-over cable laterals
- Low-pulleys bent-over rear lateral raise
INITIAL (STARTING POSITION): Stand between the low pulleys, with your feet shoulder width and your knees slightly bent. Cross your arms in front of your body in an X and grab the handles. Your left hand will hold the handle on your right side, and your right hand will hold the handle on your left side. Bent forward at the waist, keeping your back slightly arched, until your upper body is parallel with the floor.
MOVEMENT (ACTION): Slowly raise your arms outward and upward in an arc to shoulder level (as high as you can). Your arms should move directly out to the sides. Pause, then let the weights lower and your hands cross in front of your body.
Bent-Over Cable Lateral Raise Key Points & Tips
In order to perform this rear deltoid exercise safely and effectively, you should keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Keep your back slightly arched (but not rounded) and almost parallel to the floor during the movement.
- Don’t raise your torso; keep it almost parallel to the floor—this keeps the effort on the rear delt much more than with your torso inclined with your chest and head uppermost.
- To target the posterior deltoid, your arms should move directly out to the sides. If your hands are raised in a forward arc in front of your head, the trapezius and lateral deltoid contribute to the exercise.
- One-Arm Bent-Over Cable Lateral Raise. If you don’t have a crossover machine, you can do this one side at a time by assuming the bent-over position sideways to the single pulley station.
Muscles Engaged in Bent-Over Cable Raise
Specifically, this movement works the posterior and middle deltoid (shoulders), the trapezius (upper back and neck), rhomboid (upper back), teres minor (outside of shoulder blade), and infraspinatus (shoulder blade) muscle.
- Main muscles: deltoid (rear), trapezius
- Secondary muscles: deltoid (middle), latissimus dorsi, triceps, teres major and minor, rhomboids
- Antagonists: deltoid (front), pectoral muscles, biceps
You can replace cable rear laterals with dumbbell rear laterals. Anyway, there are plenty of rear deltoid exercises from which you can choose your favorites. Each exercise works the target muscles and supporting muscles slightly differently. Remember, specificity requires that you choose exercises that reflect your needs and goals.
Replacement exercises using dumbbells:
- Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise (standing)
- Seated bent-over dumbbell lateral raise
- Head-supported dumbbell lateral raise
- Incline rear deltoid raise
- Dumbbell lying rear deltoid raise
- Seated bent-arm bent-over dumbbell row
Replacement exercises using cables (low/high pulleys):
- Reverse cable crossover
- One-arm bent-over cable lateral raise (unilateral)
Replacement exercises using machines:
This rear deltoid exercise is similar to the standing two-arm cable lateral raise. The key difference is that you bend forward at the waist at about a 45-degree angle to work the back part of the delt.
The bent-over position is not comfortable. Be sure that your stomach is not too full of food or water when you start this exercise.
We advise you to perform this exercise with one arm at a time. In a single arm variation you can rest the hand nearest the cable (non-working hand) on your knee, thigh or hip in order to stabilize yourself. That way you will reduce some of the unnecessary tension that is placed on your lower back muscles.