Cable Shoulder Press: A Simple And Effective Compound Exercise

Feature image for cable shoulder press post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on left and a graphic of the exercise on the right.

Cable Shoulder Press is a classic physical exercise to activate your shoulders. Would you really like to get perfect form and grow your Deltoid – Anterior? It would be best if you started using our how-to tutorial to help you commence immediately.

Cable Shoulder Press Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Deltoid – Anterior
  • Secondary Muscles: Deltoid – Lateral, Supraspinatus, Triceps Brachii, Trapezius – Middle, Trapezius – Lower, and Serratus Anterior
  • Equipment: Cable Machine with Two Single D-Handles
  • Mechanics Type: Compound
  • Force: Push
  • Utility: Basic
Graphic image of a fit man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Cable Shoulder Press Instructions

  • Start off with the middle of the band either under your feet or at a low anchor that you can stand over.
  • Bring the band handles up to parallel with you chin with your elbow out to your side.
  • Then press the band up over your head extending your arms straight up.
  • Next, bring your arms back down to the starting position.
  • Continue by repeating the presses for a full set.

Video Tutorial

How to Perform Cable Shoulder Press (Improve Shoulder Health)

Cable Shoulder Press Muscles

Target (Agonist)

  • Deltoid – Anterior


  • Deltoid – Lateral
  • Supraspinatus
  • Triceps Brachii
  • Trapezius – Middle
  • Trapezius – Lower
  • Serratus Anterior

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • Triceps – Long Head


  • Levator Scapulae
  • Trapezius – Upper
  • Wrist Extensors

Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the cable shoulder press exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Cable Shoulder Press

The cable shoulder press is a great exercise for targeting the anterior deltoid muscles. This exercise helps to build strength and size in the shoulder area, while also helping to improve posture. Additionally, the cable shoulder press can help to increase core stability and overall balance. With each press, the anterior deltoid is engaged, helping to strengthen and tone the shoulder muscles. When performed correctly, the cable shoulder press can help to improve shoulder mobility, while also providing a great workout for the upper body.

Tips for Performing Cable Shoulder Press

You’ve come to the right place if you’re motivated to enhance your cable shoulder press execution. Using these suggestions will allow you to take full advantage of this amazing workout. You’ll have the ability to strengthen your shoulders muscles, and reduce your risk of getting hurt. It is time to begin and take a look at how these suggestions will benefit you.

  • Keep your posture correct: Make sure to keep your back straight and core engaged to ensure proper form and get the most out of the exercise. This will help prevent injuries and maximize the benefit of the exercise.
  • Use a comfortable weight: Start with a weight that you can comfortably press with good form. Gradually increase your weight as you get stronger, but don’t push yourself too hard too soon.
  • Focus on the movement: Concentrate on controlling the press throughout the entire exercise. This will engage your muscles properly and maximize the results of the exercise.

Benefits and Tips Video

Cable Shoulder Press Benefits : Exercise Routines & Benefits

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

Staying away from errors might be the difference between a productive training session and a painful injury when executing cable shoulder press. From bad form to not engaging your core, these errors can reduce the productiveness of the exercise and may even raise your risk for injury. But don’t worry, it’s not at all difficult as it might appear. You can perform the exercise safely and effectively by avoiding the mistakes to avoid and by following the proper steps. Thus, it is now your turn to optimize the impact of this exercise and enjoy the benefits of a productive workout.

  • Not Using Proper Form: It is important to maintain proper form while performing cable shoulder presses to ensure that the muscles are engaged and being worked correctly. Otherwise, the exercise may be ineffective or even cause injury.
  • Going Too Heavy: Lifting too heavy of a weight can lead to injury or strain. It is important to start with lighter weights and increase the amount as strength and form improve.
  • Not Taking Breaks: Taking breaks during a workout is important to allow the muscles to rest and recover between sets. If a person does not take breaks, they may become fatigued and not be able to perform the exercise properly.

Variations and Complementary Exercises

There are several variations, complementary, and alternative exercises that can be used to target the same muscles as the cable shoulder press. Whether you are a beginner or experienced athlete, these exercises can help you strengthen your shoulders in different ways.

Graphic image of Dumbbell Arnold Press.

Dumbbell Arnold Press: The Dumbbell Arnold Press is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to the Cable Shoulder Press. This exercise requires the user to hold two dumbbells in each hand and perform a shoulder press by pressing the dumbbells up and out in an arc. This exercise targets the anterior and lateral deltoids as well as the triceps, making it a great choice for those looking to build shoulder strength and size. Additionally, it increases stability and coordination due to the dynamic nature of the exercise.

Graphic image of Dumbbell Cuban Press.

Dumbbell Cuban Press: The Dumbbell Cuban Press is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Cable Shoulder Press. This exercise works the deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, and rear deltoids and helps to improve shoulder stability. It can be performed by holding two dumbbells at shoulder height with palms facing each other, and then while keeping the elbows high and back, rotating the arms outward as if to hug a tree. This exercise is a great way to add variety to shoulder workouts, and can also help to increase shoulder strength and stability.

Graphic image of Dumbbell One Arm Shoulder Press.

Dumbbell One Arm Shoulder Press: The Dumbbell One Arm Shoulder Press is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Cable Shoulder Press. This exercise targets the deltoids, as well as the traps and triceps, giving you an overall shoulder workout. It allows you to focus on each side of your body individually, ensuring that each side is worked equally. This exercise is great for those who want to focus on one side at a time and can be easily modified depending on your fitness level. It can be done with both light and heavy weights, making it an ideal choice for both beginner and advanced gym-goers alike.

Check Out These Top Cable Exercises

Graphic image of Dumbbell Palms In Shoulder Press.

Dumbbell Palms In Shoulder Press: The Dumbbell Shoulder Press is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise for the Cable Shoulder Press. This exercise works the same muscles as the Cable Shoulder Press but with a different range of motion. The dumbbells are held at shoulder height and then pressed upwards, with the palms facing each other. This exercise requires a greater degree of stabilization in the shoulder joint, activating more muscle fibers and thus providing a more complete workout. The Dumbbell Shoulder Press is also a great exercise for developing strength and stability in the shoulders, while also improving balance and coordination.

Graphic image of Dumbbell Push Press.

Dumbbell Push Press: The Dumbbell Push Press is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to the Cable Shoulder Press. This multi-joint exercise focuses on strengthening the shoulders, triceps, and upper back muscles. It also helps to build explosive power by incorporating the legs into the movement. To perform the Dumbbell Push Press, stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells at shoulder-level. Engage the core and bend your knees slightly before explosively pressing the dumbbells up and overhead. Be sure to keep the core tight and your back straight as you press up. Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder-level and repeat for desired repetitions. The Dumbbell Push Press is a great way to build strength and power in the upper body.

Graphic image of Dumbbell W Press.

Dumbbell W Press: The Dumbbell W Press is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Cable Shoulder Press. This exercise requires two dumbbells and involves standing up with the feet shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells at chest height with palms facing inwards. Then, the arms should be extended outwards in a “W” shape, before being brought back to the starting position. This exercise works the same muscles as the Cable Shoulder Press, but with a different range of motion. It provides a good change of pace and challenges the body in different ways.

Opposing Complementary Exercises

In order to maximize the effectiveness of the Cable Shoulder Press, it is important to incorporate exercises that target the opposing muscle groups. This will help to create a balanced workout that works all muscles involved in the exercise and helps to reduce any potential injury or discomfort. Below are a few exercises that will work the opposite muscles as the Cable Shoulder Press.

Graphic image of Narrow Parallel Grip Chin Up.

Narrow Parallel Grip Chin Up: The Narrow Parallel Grip Chin Up is a great complementary exercise to the Cable Shoulder Press as it works the opposing muscle groups. The Narrow Parallel Grip Chin Up primarily targets the back muscles, specifically the latissimus dorsi, as well as the biceps, forearms, and core. This exercise helps to strengthen the back muscles while also improving stability and balance, which is essential for proper shoulder press form. By strengthening the back muscles with the Narrow Parallel Grip Chin Up, it helps to balance out the Cable Shoulder Press and helps to prevent injury while also improving overall performance.

Graphic image of Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown.

Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown: The Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown is a great exercise to pair with the Cable Shoulder Press as it works the opposing muscle group. This exercise targets the lats, which are the large muscles in the back, while the Cable Shoulder Press targets the shoulders. The Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown works the lats by using a narrow grip and pulling down on the bar. This exercise helps to develop strength and stability in the upper back and shoulders. By pairing these two exercises together, you can get a complete upper body workout that helps to develop strength, stability, and balance throughout the body.

Graphic image of Rear Pull Up.

Rear Pull Up: Rear Pull Ups are a great exercise to complement Cable Shoulder Press because they use the opposing muscle group. Rear Pull Ups primarily work the muscles in the back and upper arms, such as the lats, rhomboids, and teres major and minor. This helps to build overall back strength, as well as promote better posture. Additionally, Rear Pull Ups help to increase shoulder stability and mobility. By doing these exercises in combination, you can strengthen both your back and shoulders, as well as balance out any muscular imbalances you may have.


The Cable Shoulder Press is an excellent exercise for getting fit and strengthening your shoulders. It’s simple to do, and you’ll get great results if you focus on form and avoid common mistakes like arching your back or locking your elbows. Now that you have a better understanding of the Cable Shoulder Press, why not take a look at some of our other fitness articles to learn more about different exercises and how to get the most out of your workout? Let’s get fit together!

References: Wikipedia | |

Pin image for cable shoulder press post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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