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Cable Y Raise [Exercise Guide]

cable y raise

Are you seeking a new, safe approach to working out your shoulders that will also help you prevent injuries? You may benefit significantly from adding the cable Y raise to your training plan. Check out this article to learn more about the exercise.

What Is A Cable Y Raise?

A cable Y raise is a simple and effective exercise for strengthening shoulder muscles. During the move, an athlete’s arms position reminds of the letter “Y.” This fact became the reason for the movement’s name. There are several alternative movements you might try to load needed muscles more. Read on to know more about the exercise’s technique, benefits, and more.

What Muscles Does Cable Y Raise Work

A cable Y raise primarily targets all three heads of the deltoid muscle. Each of the exercise alternatives loads one of the heads more or less. Take this into account when choosing the exercise variation. Secondarily, the exercise loads the lower trapezius, rhomboids, and the shoulder-stabilizing muscles in the rotator cuff.

The cable Y raise is perfect for strengthening shoulders. Also, the shoulder joint is one of the most movable in the human body. So muscles around it is a good idea for any athlete. 

How To Perform Cable Y Raise

The first thing to do is to position the pulley as low as possible on the cable machine. D-handles are the best for this exercise. Once you have prepared the equipment, you are ready to practice the cable Y raise.

Step 1. Get into the starting position

Grab the handles and take a couple of steps back to create resistance. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and raise the hands to your shoulders level. Your palms should face down towards the ground.

Step 2. Raise the handles

Begin the raising move, keeping your body straight and still. Shoulders should also stay in a fixed position. At the top of the movement, your body will remind you of “Y.” 

Step 3. Go down

Return to the starting position, control the weight on the way down and feel the tension in your muscles. Try not to move your torso and shoulders. Focus on the movement of your arms.

Advantages of Cable Y Raise

Strengthens the shoulders

Cable Y raise is excellent for strengthening the shoulders. Almost nothing beats the cable Y raise when it comes to shoulder isolation. The Y raise angle determines how strong the deltoid muscle activation will be. Increase the angle if you aim for extra tension.

Improves the posture

The movement improves the posture. The move’s trajectory implies bringing the shoulders back and widening the chest. Regular practice helps to correct the round shoulder effect and make your posture perfect.

Suits any fitness-level

The technique is pretty simple and suits any fitness level. Beginners can use it as a stepping-stone to more challenging exercises. Advanced athletes may practice it as a warm-up.

Reduces the injury risk

The movement secondarily targets the muscles around the shoulder blades. Strong rotator cuff muscles equal good stability, which means less risk of potential injury during exercising.

5 Cable Y Raise Alternatives

1. Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly

The dumbbell rear delt fly, also known as rear delt raise, improves back and shoulder strength. The movement primarily loads the posterior deltoids located on the back of the shoulders.

How to do a dumbbell rear delt fly:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab your dumbbells. Lean forward and make sure your upper body is almost perpendicular to the ground
  • Bend your elbows just a little bit. Lift the weights to the sides, making a “fly” movement. Stop when the arms are parallel to the floor
  • Go down to the starting position

2. Face-pulls

Face-pulls are a classic to isolate back deltoids. The rhomboids, which enable you to press your shoulder blades together, the mid scap, rhomboids, and traps are also involved. To get the maximum out of this workout, use two ropes simultaneously.

How to do face-pulls:

  • You can perform this exercise with the help of a band or a cable machine. The technique will be the same
  • Attach two ropes to the cable machine to get more length. Anchor it high, at about a chest level
  • Grab the rope with an overhand grip, pull it to your face, and get your shoulder blades to retract. Keep your elbows higher than your wrists
  • Come back forward, do reps

3. Cable Front Raise

The front deltoid is effectively isolated in this workout. It gives a chance to concentrate on the contraction and puts constant tension on the muscle.

How to do a cable front raise:

  • Set the pulley low, in line with your back calf. You can do the exercise with one or two hands at once
  • Grab the handles. And bring them up. Your fists should be in line with your nose at the movement’s top
  • Go down, control the movement, and feel the muscle’s tension. Keep your shoulders back and maintain a slight bend in your elbows

4. Cable One Arm Lateral Raise 

This movement does a great job isolating and pumping your lateral deltoids. Also, a lateral cable raise offers a wide range of motion and flexibility improvement.

How to do a lateral cable raise:

  • Stand shoulder-width apart, side by side with a cable machine
  • Grab the handle with one hand, holding it behind your body. Such variation stretches the deltoid more
  • Bring the handle up, reaching the line of your shoulder. Maintain a proper posture, and try not to twist back
  • Return to the start
  • Change the arm, and repeat the same process

5. Chest Supported Row

The chest-supported row is a compound exercise that strengthens the mid-to-upper back and posterior delts. The lats and rhomboids are targeted too. When the shoulder reaches hyperextension, the back deltoid becomes dominant.

How to do a chest supported row:

  • Lie down on the inclined bench with your belly, holding dumbbells on both sides
  • Row up by bending your elbows and keeping your back straight. Keep your lats and mid-back in close contact as you raise your arms
  • Keeping your elbows tight to your body and bringing your shoulder blades together is crucial
  • Come back down in a slow, controlled movement


What muscles does Cable Y raise work?

The movement targets all three heads of the deltoid, the lower trapezius, latissimus, and erector spinae. The muscles of the shoulder are pounded from all angles during this exercise.

What is Cable Y Raise good for?

Cable Y rises are a great way to build muscles and improve posture. Additionally, it may aid in developing muscular endurance, which refers to the muscles’ capacity to function for extended periods without being fatigued.

Is Cable Y Raise a good exercise?

The front deltoid is well isolated with this workout. Due to the use of a cable machine, you put constant tension on your muscles. You can truly concentrate on the contraction and range of motion here.


Cable Y raise has the power to load your shoulder muscles, improve your posture, and reduce the injury risk by strengthening the rotator cuff. The exercise technique is simple and available for everyone. One more good news is there are plenty of variations for those who don’t have a cable machine or just want to try something new. We hope our guide helped you better understand all the movement’s aspects and enhance your performance.